Who We Are
The Beatrix Farrand Garden Association is dedicated to honoring and sharing the environmental and design legacy of Beatrix Farrand. By restoring and preserving her garden at Bellefield and offering educational programs, the association inspires visitors and increases public appreciation of her pioneering work. As the earliest existing example of her private work, the garden at Bellefield is a striking illustration of Farrand’s masterful design, presented in an intimate and accessible setting. As a living testament to Farrand’s influential horticultural legacy – not only as a designer, but as the world’s first female landscape architect – the garden provides an ideal platform to tell this pioneering woman’s story through lectures, tours and educational programs. Bellefield is located on the property of the Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Sites, and the Beatrix Farrand Garden Association maintains a close working relationship with the National Park Service.
Acquired by the Federal government in 1976, Bellefield is an
elegant 18th century house remodeled by famed architects McKim,
Mead and White for Thomas and Sarah Newbold. It now serves as
the headquarters for the National Park Service, which manages
three sites in Hyde Park: the adjacent Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt,
Eleanor Roosevelt, and Vanderbilt Mansion National Hisotric Sites.
Federal budget constraints led to a period of disrepair in
the garden. Then in 1994, the Beatrix Farrand Garden Association,
a nonprofit volunteer organization, was chartered by the National
Park Service to spearhead the revival of this outstanding American
garden. Early support came from the National Park Foundation,
the Garden Conservancy, and the Garden Club of America, which
twice named Bellefield as first runner-up for its prestigious
Founders Fund Award.
The restoration has resulted in a stunning display of perfectly
composed borders - pink; white;blush, cream and grey; and mauve
andpurple - set off by vine-traced walls and clipped hemlock
hedges. Thanks to a recent grant from the Jane W. Nuhn Charitable
Trust, a third andfinal garden gate has been created using Farrand's
own working drawings. This magnificent oak door, replete with
elaborate Arts & Crafts style hardware, was handmade by local
artisans, and is now installed at Bellefield.
The garden is open to visitors every day from dawn until dusk,
and special tours may be arranged. Volunteers meet each week
on Tuesday mornings during the gardening season, and newcomers
are always welcome.
BFGA Board of Directors
Barbara B. Peelor, President
Sarah Peacock, Vice President
Linda Freisitzer, Secretary
Diane Hoe Mucci, Treasurer
Cynthia Polistena-Witman, Assistant Treasurer
Carolyn J. Cole
Board of Advisers
Catherine E. Baer
Katherine H. Kerin
Frederic C. Rich
Judith B. Tankard
BFGA Executive Director
Anne Cleves Symmes
Anne is a garden designer with a special interest in historic landscapes and public gardens. For over twelve years, she has worked with the Beatrix Farrand Garden Association to preserve the garden at Bellefield.
She grew up in Madison, Georgia working at Cedar Lane Farm, a family owned nursery and display garden that specialized in historic and native plants. After completing the landscape design program at the New York Botanical Garden, she pursued her interest in public gardens by working at Bryant Park and the Conservatory Garden in New York City as both a gardener and garden educator.