365 Things to Do in Memphis #128: Visit Germantown’s Secret Garden

Posted by Holly Whitfield | May 7th 2012 2183 22

Grab your camera and go exploring at Oaklawn Gardens, Germantown's secret garden / history museum / most impressive front yard.

Oaklawn Garden, Memphis, Tenn.

Oaklawn Garden walks a strange line between history museum, public park and front yard. The garden sits on property that’s been owned by the Cloyes family since 1854. Currently, the garden is maintained by 83 year-old Harry Cloyes and his wife Becky. He was born in the house that sits on the property and has spent his life gardening and collecting and preserving historical artifacts.

Oaklawn Garden, Germantown, Tenn.

Over the years, Mr. Cloyes has amassed an impressive collection of local artifacts – a train caboose, farming implements, birdbaths, lawn ornaments, signage, street lights and a sad little metal shack that was the first Germantown jail. All of the artifacts live outside in a lush garden of azaleas and irises and honeysuckle.

Oaklawn Garden, Germantown, Tenn.

Oaklawn Garden is free and open to the public every day from dawn until dusk. Donations are appreciated, but not required. Be sure to say hi to Mr. and Mrs. Cloyes if they're outside – they're very nice and can give you tons of local history.

Go There:

Oaklawn Gardens

7831 Old Poplar Pike
Germantown, TN 38138

Author: Holly Whitfield

I write about what’s going on with Memphis music, food, arts, events, sports, people, and culture. Memphians love Elvis and barbeque with a passion that must be seen to be believed, but there is so much more to this place.

Show Comments


  1. Sven says:

    I always enjoyed visiting with Harry and Becky Cloyes, and pass Oaklawn Gardens almost every day. Harry would always share tips for planting azaleas and trees, and his advice has worked great for me. Sadly, Harry passed away in 2011. FOr more about Mr. Cloyes, see http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2011/sep/17/harry-cloyes-collected-history/

Leave a Comment