BFGA represented at National Seminar in Maine
Preserving Beatrix Farrand's Gardens
The Beatrix Farrand Society and The Garden Conservancy presented a day-long seminar entitled Preserving Beatrix Farrand's Gardens, on Saturday, July 27th at the oceanfront campus at College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, Maine. We at the Beatrix Farrand Garden Association provided support for the event that marked the 10th anniversary of the Beatrix Farrand Society, our valued sister organization.
Organized by garden historian Judith Tankard of the Beatrix Farrand Society, and with over 120 attendees, the program featured a line-up of speakers currently involved in preserving Farrand's key existing gardens including Melanie Anderson Bourbeau of Hill-Stead, Carole Plenty of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden, Gail Griffin of Dumbarton Oaks, Rebecca Trafton and Ann Aldrich of Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy. BFGA's advisor Katherine H. Kerin spoke on the Restorative Process: The Beatrix Farrand Garden at Bellefield sharing her extensive research on Farrand's original plans and showing how other Farrand plans were adapted to fill in missing gaps here in Hyde Park. She also talked about why the organic growth and vibrant "personality" of our organization has been essential to the success of a nearly two decade journey to restore the garden.
Animated conversation was unstoppable during breaks and at the late afternoon reception at Garland Farm, Farrand's last garden where the Beatrix Farrand Society is recreating her library and has images from her herbarium on exhibit. Many connections were forged and deepened among like-minds, and the recognition of a growing national Farrand community was palpable in the group. Plans are under discussion to continue the seminar in the future.
Beatrix Farrand Garden Association Newsletter | Fall 2012
Rick Darke to Lecture on William Robinson's The Wild Garden at the Bellefield
Design Lecture next June 2nd, 2013
The Beatrix Farrand Garden Association and the Landscape and Arboretum Program at Bard present Rick Darke, renowned author, photographer and landscape consultant, who will present his recently expanded edition of William Robinson’s influential book “The Wild Garden” first published in 1870. Darke brings Robinson’s groundbreaking text to a new generation of gardeners and with his award winning color photography, demonstrates how these early ideas about sustainable landscape practices still resonate today. A widely-read English- garden writer, Robinson advocated the use of hardy plants arranged in natural groupings able to thrive for years with little care at a time when labor-intensive, formal arrays of tender plants were all the rage. Robinson’s message continues to speak to modern gardeners seeking ecological and carefree landscapes.
Beatrix Farrand’s long friendship and correspondence with Robinson greatly influenced her signature style of creating naturalistic surroundings for her geometric, formal designs.His innovative horticultural ideas supported her own devotion to the use of native plants. As BFGA embarks next to restore Farrand’s “Wild Garden” here at Bellefield, there could not be a more timely and relevant subject for discussion, and we are honored to have Rick Darke bring his insight and stunning photographic images to the Annual Bellefield Design Lecture next spring.
The lecture will be held on Sunday, June 2, 2013 at 2:00 at the Wallace Visitor Center, Hyde Park, NY.
Nearly 200 attendees gathered to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Beatrix Farrand’s Garden at Bellefield this past June. Partygoers sampled delicious fare from Lola’s Café and Catering raising glasses of champagne in tribute to the garden’s pioneering designer. Deborah Gordon, Event Chair, and husband Michael Gordon, emcee for the evening, led a successful live auction to support the ongoing work of the Beatrix Farrand Garden Association. The auction featured one-of-a-kind items and a series of celebrity auctioneers, including Angela Henry under an elegant garden hat, who auctioned “A Walk in Farrand’s Footsteps.” This collection included a year-long membership to the Beatrix Farrand Society, a special tour of Garland Farm, Farrand’s last garden in Maine and an autographed copy of Judith Tankard’s acclaimed volume, Beatrix Farrand: Private Gardens, Public Landscapes, not to mention a monogrammed linen towel that once belonged to the young Beatrix.
Pam Gartland, Centennial Committee,
Anne Symmes, Executive Director,
Allelu Kurten, Board President
A bidding war ensued over a reproduction tea table designed by Beatrix Farrand for the tennis court at Dumbarton Oaks, her famed garden in Georgetown, and carefully reproduced by furniture makers Munder-Skiles. Another much sought-after auction item was a landscape painting commission by award-winning artist Tarryl Gabel and a highlight of the evening was the presentation of Gabel’s painting of the Garden at Bellefield to Board President, Allelu Kurten as a parting tribute and memento as she moves to her new home in Massachusetts.
In his welcoming remarks, Honorary Chair, Fred Rich spoke passionately about Farrand’s valuable and timeless legacy and the urgent imperative to preserve her few remaining landscapes. He called upon us all to re-double our efforts to continue to make this small but important garden available for generations to come. The strong support generated by the Centennial Celebration affirms that indeed, a broad community of people are still inspired by Farrand and loyal to the cause of preserving her earliest existing private garden at Bellefield
Thank you all for the support!!
If you didn't get a chance to attend the event, but would still like to support the
Beatrix Farrand Garden Association, you may do so here:
PLANT PROFILE Aster Tataricus, Tatarian Aster Tartarian aster is a stately perennial with a flowering height of up to 6 feet, flowering longer than any other garden aster, beginning in late September and early October and continuing into November. The one inch-wide, light lavender flowers are a magnet for local and migrating monarch butterflies. It generally does not require staking and tolerates many soil types. It can form large colonies in a few years, and is easily divided. Provide full sun to part shade. At Bellefield it grows in deep shade and still blooms fully. Hardy to Zone 3, this plant thrives in heat and humidity and adapts readily to soil extremes from wet clay to dry sand. This species needs plenty of room to grow and is quite vigorous requiring frequent division.
Beatrix Farrand Garden Association Newsletter | May 2012
THE CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION of the Beatrix Farrand Garden at Bellefield
The Beatrix Farrand Garden Association celebrated 100 years of the Garden at Bellefield with an evening garden party of cocktails, comestibles, conversation amidst hundreds of peonies in full bloom. Party-goers were entertained by a live auction featuring many one-of-a-kind items, including a private tour of Dumbarton Oaks, Farrand’s masterpiece in Washington, DC with an overnight stay in Georgetown within walking distance of the garden. Other items included a Munder-Skiles reproduction tea table that Farrand designed for Dumbarton Oaks, a private tour by the Beatrix Farrand Society of Garland Farm, Farrand’s last garden on Mount Desert Island, Maine, and heirloom plant cultivars. [See the Press Release]
Photo by Richard Cheek from Judith Tankard's Beatrix Farrand: Private Gardens, Public Landscapes
PLANT PROFILE Iris germanica var. florentina, Florentine Iris or Orris Root
This early-blooming iris is listed on the Farrand planting plans used at Bellefield both in the "white " and the " cream, blush and gray" borders. It has a very faint lavender coloring making it not quite white and it seems to change hue in different light sometimes apprearing almost gray. Native to Italy, orris root was first cultivated in the city of Florence during the middle ages. Its "roots" or rhizomes most commonly in the form of a powder have for centuries been used as a perfume and as a remedy for respitory and liver ailments. This iris prized both for its usefulness and its beauty is not the easiest one to grow. It does not thrive in overly moist sites and especially does not like its rhizomes to be covered with too much soil or debris preferring good air circulation. Despite its tempermental nature, it is well worth growing this old and storied iris in the garden.
FOLK TO FORK: A Garden Party and Concert
To benefit GREEN TEEN, A Community Gardening Program of Cornell Cooperative Extension, Dutchess County and Young People's Gardening Workshops at Bellefield. The teens were on hand welcoming guests and serving up local tastings. Everyone (dogs included) enjoyed music by The Bandana Splits, Benji Cossa, Yellowbirds. Throughout the day, the guests got a chance to get to know these self-possessed and creative young people and learned more about the meaningful work they are doing.
Kathryn Walker to Narrate New Audio Tour
Broadway actor and film star Kathryn Walker has signed on to narrate the new Audio Tour of the Garden at Bellefield, bringing her elegant and expressive voice to the story of Beatrix Farrand and her Hyde Park garden. Visitor will be able to download the tour as a podcast from our website, or phone in from any cell phone starting in June. The script for the tour has been beautifully written by Nancy Berner and Susan Lowry, authors of Hudson Valley Gardens, a book featuring the Garden at Bellefield. The audio tour has been made possible by seed money from the Orange and Dutchess Garden Club and generous gifts from the Charlotte Cunneen-Hackett Charitable Trust and the James J. McCann Charitable Trust.
Beatrix Farrand Garden Association Newsletter | April 2012
THE CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION
of the Beatrix Farrand Garden at Bellefield
The Beatrix Farrand Garden Association is celebrating 100 years of the Garden at Bellefield with an evening garden party of cocktails, comestibles, conversation amidst hundreds of peonies in full bloom. Partygoers will be entertained by a live auction featuring many one-of-a-kind items, including a private tour of Dumbarton Oaks, Farrand’s masterpiece in Washington, DC with an overnight stay in Georgetown within walking distance of the garden. Other items include a Munder-Skiles reproduction of a tea table that Farrand designed for Dumbarton Oaks, a private tour by the Beatrix Farrand Society of Garland Farm, Farrand’s last garden on Mount Desert Island, Maine, and heirloom plant cultivars.
The Poet's Narcissus, Pheasant's Eye
This late-blooming narcissus is among the plants called for in Farrand's planting plan used to restore the Bellefield garden. Appreciated by the ancient Greeks, actaea may have reached the rest of Europe during the crusades; it subsequently enjoyed a long history of cultivation and hybridization particularly in England, and was introduced to American gardeners by the late eighteenth century. Also known as narcissus poeticus, “The Poet’s Narcissus,” and “Pheasant’s Eye,” Actaea’s large flowers have white overlapping petals and a small, red-rimmed yellow cup with a memorable spicy fragrance. Like other narcissus, actaea is both deer and rodent proof. Photo courtesy of Brent & Becky’s Bulbs, a supplier for the Garden at Bellefiield and an excellent source of this and many other heirloom bulbs https://store.brentandbeckysbulbs.com
In honor of the 100th anniversary of the garden in 2012, we are launching an exciting series of projects. We are developing new educational programs to teach about Beatrix Farrand’s important legacy including an audio tour of the garden and children’s programming. We are also beginning a project to restore the “wild garden” that once surrounded the formal walled enclosure at Bellefield. The existing original drawings of the garden offer no details of the plantings that were used, but recently, we have embarked on a research project to discover what the plan might have encompassed. This research is being undertaken in partnership with the National Park Service and the Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservationand we areworking with them to create a full Cultural Landscape Report of the property that will provide invaluable help as we begin to restore the larger landscape at Bellefield.
Dumbarton Oaks, Research Library & Collections, Washington, DC
A view of the wildgarden at Dumbarton Oaks click to view larger
The intention of so many of Farrand’s designs, both large and small, was to lead the way from built structures through the formal garden and ultimately out into nature.
This is beautifully expressed in her masterwork at Dumbarton Oaks, where formal garden rooms lead from one to another and ultimately into acres of “wilderness” with streams, bridges, meadows and woodland walks. By re-creating the informal plantings and walks beyond the walled garden at Bellefield, we can provide a fuller picture of Farrand’s rich design legacy—a legacy that includes creating and advocating what today we would call “sustainable landscapes.” Her artful use of trees, hardy shrubs and bulbs that require very little maintenance has much to teach us still.
Many of you will be happy to know that an important goal of this project will be to integrate a thoughtful approach to the garden from the Henry A. Wallace Visitor Center, the starting point for so many visitors to the National Park sites, especially ones who may not know about Farrand and her garden right next door at Bellefield.
Your support keeps the garden alive.
Garden Party and Auction Saturday, June 2012