On this day in 1890, the Athens Daily Banner ran this retort to those in Atlanta who claimed they had the best gentleman gardener in Georgia:
ATHENS BEATS ATLANTA.
And Mr. E.K. Lumpkin Leads the State with Fine Vegetables.
The Atlanta papers have been crowing quite considerably lately about an Atlanta garden that has contrary to the laws of great nature, brought forth in midwinter luxuriant turnip, lettuce and onions.
Athens, however, has shown up far ahead of the Gate City in this line, and Mr. E.K. Lumpkin walks off with the palm and championship of the State. From his private garden he has sent yesterday to the BANNER office an immense waiter fraught with fine vegetables of a most superior quality and almost endless variety. The waiter contained cabbage, carrots, parsnips, salsify, turnips, kale, endive, fresh Irish potatoes, celery, onions, leeks and beets, all of which are fresh from the soil, and which has attained a most luxurant [sic] maturity. Such vegetables are rarely seen even in early summer when nature is at her best.
Mr. Lumpkin, besides being one of Georgia's ablest and most gifted lawyers is among the most successful gardeners and is thoroughly posted on all phases of this pursuit. Moreover, there is not a more genial gentleman to be found than Mr. Lumpkin.
Athens Daily Banner, p. 8, col. 4.
Edwin King Lumpkin and his wife, Mary Bryan Thomas Lumpkin were both avid gardeners. The weather was unseasonably warm in Georgia in January, 1890, which likely explains the luck gardeners in both cities had that month.
The following January, Mrs. Lumpkin would start the nation's first Ladies' Garden Club, meeting at her home on Prince Avenue, where Mr. Lumpkin's vegetables "of a most superior quality and almost endless variety" were grown.
- Athens Weekly Banner, Jan. 1890 - Dec. 1890 on Microfilm in the Heritage collection.
- Athens Daily Banner, 26 January 1890, in the Athens Historic Newspaper Archive collection of the Digital Library of Georgia.
- Oconee Hill Cemetery, Athens, Georgia, Volume I by Charlotte Thomas Marshall in the Heritage and general collections.
- Historic Houses of Athens by Charlotte Thomas Marshall in the Heritage and general collections.
- Ladies' Garden Club, Athens, Georgia, Organized 1891: America's First Garden Club prepared by Mrs. Madison G. Nicholson in the Heritage collection.
- Atlanta in 1890: The Gate City by the Atlanta Historical Society in the Heritage collection.
- Gardening for the South, or How to Grow Vegetables and Fruits by William N. White in the Heritage collection.
- Herbs, Fruits, and Vegetables for Georgia by James A. Fizzell in the general collection.
- The Winter Garden: Planning and Planting for the Southeast by H. Peter Loewer in the general collection.
- The New Organic Grower's Four-Season Harvest: How to Harvest Fresh Organic Vegetables From Your Home Garden All Year Long by Eliot Coleman in the general collection.
- The Harvest Gardener: Growing for Maximum Yield, Prime Flavor, and Garden-Fresh Storage by Susan McClure in the general collection.
- The Cook's Garden: Growing and Using the Best-Tasting Vegetable Varieties by Shepherd Ogden in the general collection.
- Homegrown Vegetables, Fruits, and Herbs: A Bountiful, Healthful Garden for Lean Times by James W. Wilson in the general collection.