Happy Mother’s Day!
In honor of Mothers Day, we want to highlight a notable woman of Landscaping right from the Hudson Valley, Beatrix Farrand. As you drive up route 9, you will pass Bellefield Mansion which is a part of the Roosevelt-Vanderbuilt National Historic Sites containing the Beatrix Farrand Garden. Although this garden is small, it is just a sample of the many great works she did during her time.
Beatrix Farrand, born as Beatrix Cadwalader Jones in 1872, learned about plants very young and fell in love with them. She did with it just being a hobby, but began to pursue a career in Landscape Architect field, a field to be known only to men. She began her studies as a young girl and was highly respected for her knowledge and “out of the box” creations. Beatrix worked to make the plan fit the existing landscape and not manipulate the ground to fit the plan, a practice that we value highly when designing landscapes in our own company. She joined the innovative movement of creating combinations of perennials based off of color, texture and bloom time to create mixed borders, a common principal in Landscape Architecture of today. She then became a founding member of the American Society of Landscape Architects.
She was called to design the humble garden of Bellefield (of Hyde Park, NY) by her cousin Senator Thomas Newbold. She designed an enclosed garden creating privacy with heavy interest on the spring and fall. Although the original planting plans have been lost since the garden was left unmaintained from 1970-1993, volunteers put in countless hours of research to identify her style and surrounding historical gardens to recreate what we think she had envisioned for the property.
Despite being known as America’s first female Landscape Architect, she remained extremely humble, always saying she didn’t deserve the recognition and was very unsure of herself in the beginning of her career. She excelled beyond expectations in her career as well as her generosity as she focused on sharing the education for others that she had the opportunity to receive. Although she was never a mother, she was a pioneer in her career and paved the way for many other women and mothers to step into a career field that was once a distant dream and for that we recognize her.
Notable Gardens that she also has known to help design are;
Peggy Rose Garden in the New York Botanical Garden – 1916 (not built until 1988)
Dumbarton Oaks, Washington DC – 1921
Glenmere Mansion, Chester NY – 1911
Princeton University – 1912
This is to just name a few. Farrand was widely used throughout the United States!
A huge thank you to The Beatrix Farrand Garden Association! Without them, this local historical gem would be lost. Through their hard work and dedication, we have the opportunity to enjoy a garden over a century old. Please go and visit yourself to be inspired by a timeless garden rich of life and color throughout the seasons, of course, during the National Park Service’s open hours that is! For more information, please visit https://www.beatrixfarrandgardenhydepark.org