2019 Open Garden Days

Promisek gardeners will be on hand from noon to 4 to answer questions about the Beatrix Farrand-designed garden and the history of the land. For those wishing to sketch, draw or paint, please do!

Sunday, June 23rd
Hours: 12pm – 4pm
Cost: $5.00 per person 

We are proud to be one of Connecticut’s Historic Gardens.
For more information, visit www.cthistoricgardens.org

Beatrix Farrand is considered one of the most important 20th-century American landscape architects. Her work encompasses more than 200 known private gardens, estates, and institutions, in the United States and elsewhere. Beatrix Farrand: A Bibliography of Her Life & Work is a selective bibliography of books, journal articles, and newspaper reports by and about Farrand.

Beatrix Cadwalader Jones was born in 1872 into a family of socially prominent New Yorkers, who maintained a summer home called Reef Point in Bar Harbor, Maine. She had a close relationship with writer Edith Wharton, her paternal aunt. In the early 1890s she received private tutoring in landscape design from Charles Sprague Sargent, director of Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum in what is now the Jamaica Plains neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. After establishing her office in New York City in 1896, she rapidly achieved recognition in her self-styled profession as a landscape gardener. In the 1898 publication Noted Women the World Over, she is described as “an authority on forestry, as well as a skilled landscape architect. She has received satisfactory recognition and due patronage, though she has not long practiced her profession” (p.49). The following year Farrand worked with Frederick Olmsted, Jr., Warren Manning, and others, to found the American Society of Landscape Architects.

By 1900, Jones was noted as an example of the ‘gifts’ women could bring to the practice of landscape architecture, in an article in the The American Architect and Building News; she also contributed a design for a formal garden to the 15th annual exhibition of the Architectural League of New York. In 1913 Jones married Max Farrand, and maintained offices in New Haven, Connecticut; New York City; and Bar Harbor. In 1927, the Farrands relocated to San Marino, California, where Max Farrand served as the director of the Huntington Library. Beatrix Farrand later lived at Reef Point, and moved to Garland Farm on Mt. Desert Island, Maine, in 1955, where she lived until her death in 1959 (http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/ENVI/beatrixfarrand.html#facts).

In 1921 Beatrix Farrand designed a formal garden on this property for Dr. Frederick Peterson, a noted New York neurologist, who entertained family, friends and clients on his country estate, which he called Three Rivers Farm. Farrand, a founding member of the American Society of Landscape Architects, had a major impact on garden design of her era. Of the many designs she executed, the Dumbarton Oaks estate in Washington, D.C. is perhaps the best known, and she also contributed work on college campuses, including Yale University.

By the time the 300-acre tract was acquired in 1978 by Promisek, all traces of the garden’s former glory had been buried under years of overgrowth. In 1992 Roxbury resident and garden historian Pamela Edwards rediscovered the historic value of the walled garden, and a restoration began using the plan found in the Farrand archives at the University of California at Berkeley. In subsequent years through 2008, Kristin Havill served as Garden Conservator, following Farrand’s design as closely as possible while adapting the garden to changing conditions. The garden is currently maintained by volunteers.