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Beatrix Farrand

Beatrix Farrand
Born Beatrix Cadwalader Jones
(1872-06-19)June 19, 1872
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died February 28, 1959(1959-02-28) (aged 86)
Mount Desert Island, Maine, U.S.
Nationality American
Alma mater Arnold Arboretum, Columbia School of Mines
Occupation Architect
Spouse(s) Max Farrand (1913-1945; his death)
Parent(s) Mary Cadwalader Rawle
Frederic Rhinelander Jones
Projects Dumbarton Oaks, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden
External video
Beatrix Farrand Tribute Film, Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame
Big Ideas for Small Spaces - The Beatrix Farrand Garden at Bellefield, Gardening the Hudson Valley

Beatrix Cadwalader Farrand (née Jones; June 19, 1872 – February 28, 1959) was a landscape gardener and landscape architect in the United States. Her career included commissions to design about 110 gardens for private residences, estates and country homes, public parks, botanic gardens, college campuses, and the White House. Only a few of her major works survive: Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C.,[1] the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden on Mount Desert, Maine, the restored Farm House Garden in Bar Harbor,[2] and elements of the campuses of Princeton, Yale, and Occidental.[3]

Farrand was one of the founding eleven members, and the only woman, of the American Society of Landscape Architects.[4]:31-35 Beatrix Farrand is one of the most accomplished persons, and women, recognized in both the first decades of the landscape architecture profession and the centuries of landscape garden design arts and accomplishments.[5]


  • Early years 1
  • Landscape design career 2
  • College campuses 3
  • Later years and death 4
  • Further reading 5
  • External links 6
  • References 7

Early years

Beatrix Cadwalader Jones was born in New York City on June 19, 1872, into a family among whom she liked to claim were "five generations of gardeners."[3]:10 Her mother was Mary Cadwalader Rawle (1850–1923), whose father was lawyer William Henry Rawle (1823–1889).[6] Her father was Frederic Rhinelander Jones (1846–1918).[7]

She enjoyed long seasons at the family's summer home Reef Point Estate in Mount Desert Island, Maine.[1] She was the niece of Edith Wharton[8] and lifelong friend of Henry James, who called her 'Trix'.[9] At age twenty, she was introduced to one of her primary mentors, the botanist Charles Sprague Sargent, who at Harvard University was both a professor of horticulture at the Bussey Institute and the founding director of the Arnold Arboretum in Boston, Massachusetts.[10][11]

Farrand lived at Sargent's home, Holm Lea in Brookline, Massachusetts in 1893 and studied landscape gardening, for which there was no specialized school at the time, botany, and land planning.[12][13] She wanted to learn drafting to scale, elevation rendering, surveying, and engineering, and so studied at the Columbia School of Mines under the direction of Prof. William Ware.[14] She was influenced in using native plant species from: her many successful Reef Point experiences; studying the contemporary books from the U.S. and abroad advocating the advantages of native palettes; and from visiting the influential British garden authors William Robinson at Gravetye Manor in Sussex, and Gertrude Jekyll at Munstead Wood in Surrey.[1] Jekyll's series of thematic gardening books emphasized the importance and value of natural plantings and were influential in the U.S.[15]

On December 17, 1913 Beatrix married Max Farrand,[12]:35 the accomplished historian at Stanford and Yale universities, and the first director of the Huntington Library.[16]

Landscape design career

Fountain at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C., site of her best known garden design

She began practicing landscape architecture in 1895, working from the upper floor of her mother's brownstone house on East Eleventh Street in New York.[4]:26 Since women were excluded from public projects, her first designs were residential gardens, beginning with some for neighbouring Bar Harbor residents.[4]:57 With the help of her mother and with her aunt Edith Wharton's social connections, she was introduced to prominent people, which led to working on a variety of significant projects. Within three years she was prominent in her field that she was chosen the only woman among the founders of the American Society of Landscape Architects, although she preferred the British term "landscape gardener".[4]:35

Farrand did the initial site and planting planning for the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. in 1899.[12]:54 In 1912, she designed the walled residential garden, Bellefield, for Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Newbold in Hyde Park, New York.[17] In addition to being the earliest extant example of her residential designs, this exquisite walled garden, now restored, is one of the only known pairings of works by two prominent designers of that era—Farrand and the architects McKim, Mead & White — who remodeled the Newbolds' eighteenth-century house.[18] She collaborated with the firm of McKim, Mead & White in the construction of service buildings at Dumbarton Oaks.[19]

For the New York City, and continued as a consultant for thirty years (1913–43).[22]:204–216

Dumbarton Oaks site plan

Her most notable work was at the Washington, D.C. for Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss (1922–1940). Her design was inspired by her European ventures, especially from the Italian Renaissance gardens, and consisted of establishing a sophisticated relationship between the architectural and natural environments, with formal terraced gardens stepping down a steep slope and transitioning to a more naturalistic aesthetic approaching the creek.[22]:138–42, 152–58, 196–200

In 1928 her husband accepted the position as the first Director of Myron Hunt. With the latter she worked on projects at Occidental College and the California Institute of Technology (CalTech).[22]:146, 195, 203–04

Farrand commuted cross-country by train for her eastern projects, such as the design and supervision of the Chinese inspired garden at 'The Eyrie' for John D. Rockefeller sought out and funded Farrand to design planting plans for subtle carriage roads at Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island, Maine, near her Reef Point home (c.1930).[22]:208 Their use continues at the Park.

Extant Farrand private gardens in the eastern U.S. are: the Bliss family's Washington, D.C.; the Harkness summer home 'Eolia' in Waterford, Connecticut (1918–1924), now preserved as the Harkness Memorial State Park;[23] and the Rockefellers' estate 'The Eyrie' in Seal Harbor, Maine.[22]:204, 208 She also collaborated with Edith Wharton on landscape and garden design for The Mount, Wharton's home in Lenox, Massachusetts, which is open to visitors from May–October.[24] Henry James introduced her to Theodate Pope Riddle, "one of her most fascinating clients" who owned the estate 'Hill-Stead' (1913), now preserved as the Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington, Connecticut.[22]: 87 In 1942, with Walter Macomber, she designed the gardens at Green Spring, near Alexandria, Virginia.[25]

The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, for California native plants, represents her talent in Santa Barbara, California.[26] In England her evolving major project, 'Dartington Hall', was for heiress Dorothy Payne Elmhirst in Devon (1932–37).[22]:149–52, 216 The Reef Point Collection of her library, drawings and herbarium specimens are archived in the Environmental Design Archives at the College of Environmental Design at the University of California, Berkeley (U.C. Berkeley) campus, except for the Dumbarton Oaks documents located at the library there, and the Arnold Arboretum drawings in their archives, both under the stewardship of Harvard.[22]: 188–89, 198–201, 209

In 2014, Farrand was recognized for her work designing the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden[27][28] at New York Botanical Garden, a winning site of Built by Women New York City,[29] a competition launched by the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation during the fall of 2014 to identify outstanding and diverse sites and spaces designed, engineered and built by women.

College campuses

Farrand's campus designs were based on three concepts: plants that bloomed throughout the academic year, emphasizing architecture as well as hiding flaws, and using upright and climbing plants so that the small spaces between buildings would not seem reduced in scale.[30] Her designs are noted for their practicality, simplicity and ease of maintenance.[3]:13 She was the first consulting landscape architect for Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey (1912–43).[31][32][33]

As new buildings are constructed at Princeton now, architects are often referred to Farrand's papers at U.C. Berkeley. She was the consulting landscape architect at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut for twenty-three years (1923–45), with projects including the Marsh Botanical Garden.[34] She later went on to improve a dozen other campuses including the University of Chicago (1929–43),[35] along with Southern California's Occidental College and the California Institute of Technology.[36] Beatrix Farrand completed design work for the Pennsylvania School of Horticulture for Women (1931–32).[37] Later she was also the landscape consultant to the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University (1946–50).[22]:204–09, 213.

Later years and death

During the last part of her life Farrand devoted herself to creating a landscape study center at Reef Point, Maine. Here she continued developing the extensive garden and preparing the property for a transition to a public study center.[38] She published the Reef Point Gardens Bulletin (1946–55) in which she reported on the progress of the gardens and center.[39]

After a wildfire on the island and facing a lack of funding to complete and ensure the continued operation of a center she made a remarkable decision in 1955 to discontinue the preparations, dismantle the garden, sell the property, and use the proceeds for her last years. John D. Rockefeller purchased all Reef Point's larger plants for his Asticou Azalea Garden in Northeast Harbor, Maine, which continue to flower.[22]:190[40] Approximately 2000 herbarium specimens were given to the University and Jepson Herbaria at the University of California, Berkeley where they serve as a permanent record of her choice of plants and localities.[41][42]

Farrand lived at and spent the last three years of her life at Garland Farm, the home of her friends Lewis and Amy Magdalene Garland, on Mount Desert Island, Maine.[43] It was here that she created her final garden, an intimate space in keeping with the size of the property.[9] At age 86 Beatrix Farrand died at the Mount Desert Island Hospital on February 28, 1959.[22]:190 She was interred alongside her husband at Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York.[44]

The Garland Farm was purchased by the Beatrix Farrand Society on January 9, 2004.[45] The society's mission is "to foster the art and science of horticulture and landscape design, with emphasis on the life and work of Beatrix Farrand".[46] It plans to revive Reef Point's original educational mission, with the establishment of a reference library and collections, regional trial gardens, and educational programs, as well as to preserve her final garden.[47][48]

Further reading

  • Patrick Chassé (Maine Olmsted Alliance), The Last Garden of Beatrix Farrand
  • Balmori, Diana; et al. (1985). Beatrix Farrand's American Landscapes: Her Gardens and Campuses. Sagaponack, New York: Sagapress.  
  • Brown, Jane (February 1, 1995). Beatrix: The Gardening Life of Beatrix Farrand, 1872-1959. Viking, Penguin Group.  

External links

  • Dumbarton Oaks Official Dumbarton Oaks website
  • Official Garden at Bellefield website
  • Beatrix Farrand: Landscape Architect, Princeton University]
  • American Studies @ University of Virginia "Beatrix Farrand 'Landscape Gardener'"
  • WOMAN LANDSCAPE GARDENER.; Miss Beatrix Jones Has Attained Her Eminence in the Profession by Hard Study and by Travel. New York Times, 1899
  • Finding aid to the Beatrix Farrand Collection at the Environmental Design Archives, University of California, Berkeley
  • The Mount, Edith Wharton's Home


  1. ^ a b c "Beatrix Farrand". Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection. Retrieved September 26, 2015. 
  2. ^ Lamb, Jane (2004). The grand masters of Maine gardening: and some of their disciples. Camden, ME: Down East Books. p. 30.  
  3. ^ a b c Parke, Margaret. "A portrait of Beatrix Farrand", American Horticulturist, April 1985, pp. 10-13.
  4. ^ a b c d McGuire, Diane Kostial; Fern, Lois (1982). Beatrix Jones Farrand (1872-1959) : fifty years of American landscape architecture : [Dumbarton Oaks Colloquium on the History of Landscape Architecture. Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks Trustees for Harvard University.  
  5. ^ Tankard, Judith B. (2009). Beatrix Farrand : private gardens, public landscapes (1st ed.). New York: Monacelli Press.   From Introduction: "Beatrix Farrand (1872-1959) was one of America's most celebrated landscape architects. She was renowned for the private estate gardens she designed for the cream of East Coast society as well as for her work as a landscape consultant at some of the country's most prestigious private universities and colleges... Variously praised as 'the Gertrude Jekyll of America' and 'the doyenne of her profession,' Farrand owed her success to her unerring eye for design, profound knowledge of horticulture, phenomenal energy, and deep commitment to her profession that inspired others to follow in her footsteps."
  6. ^ Keith, Charles Penrose (1883). The provincial councillors of Pennsylvania, who held office between 1733-1776: and those earlier councillors who were some time chief magistrates of the province, and their descendants. W.S. Sharp Printing Company. p. 260. 
  7. ^ Stevens, Eugene R. (1914). Erasmus Stevens and his descendants. revised by Colonel William Plumb Bacon. Tobias A. Wright. p. 45. 
  8. ^ Edith Wharton was the author among other books, of Italian Villas and Their Gardens.
  9. ^ a b Raver, Anne (November 27, 2003). "Nature: Beatrix Farrand's Secret Garden". The New York Times. Retrieved September 27, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Beatrix Farrand". Beatrix Farrand Society. Retrieved September 27, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Arnold Arboretum at Harvard University" (PDF). The Landscape Architect's Guide to Boston. Retrieved September 27, 2015. 
  12. ^ a b c Zaitzevsky, Cynthia (2009). Long Island landscapes and the women who designed them (1st ed.). New York: Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities. p. 34.  
  13. ^ "Flashback Photos: Beatrix Farrand Breaks the (Green) Glass Ceiling". New England Historical Society. Retrieved 27 September 2015. 
  14. ^ Karson, Robin (2007). A genius for place : American landscapes of the country place era. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press. p. 137.  
  15. ^ Tankard, Judith B. "Gertrude Jekyll and the Country House Garden, From the Archives of Country Life". Southern Garden History Society. Retrieved 27 September 2015. 
  16. ^ "Max Farrand". Dumbarton Oaks. Retrieved 27 September 2015. 
  17. ^ O’Connor, Rosemary (2012). "Bellefield Garden’s 100th Anniversary: Beatrix Farrand Garden at Bellefield at Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Museum and Library, Hyde Park, NY A secret garden: Bellefield Garden celebrates 100 years". Hudson Valley Magazine. Retrieved 27 September 2015. 
  18. ^ "Bellefield". National Park Service. Retrieved 27 September 2015. 
  19. ^ "Finding Aid to Lawrence Grant White Architectural Plans and Drawings". Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection. Retrieved September 26, 2015. 
  20. ^ "Dumbarton Oaks". Washington Oddities and other interesting stuff. Retrieved 27 September 2015. 
  21. ^ Lewis, Anna M. (2014). Women of steel and stone : 22 inspirational architects, engineers, and landscape designers (First ed.). Independent Pub Group. pp. 171–172.  
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Brown, Jane (1995). Beatrix : the gardening life of Beatrix Jones Farrand, 1872-1959 (1st ed.). New York, NY: Viking. pp. 102, 108, 216.  
  23. ^ Foreman, John (August 11, 2015). "Big Old Houses: I Died and Went to Heaven". New York Social Diary. 
  24. ^ Green, Jared (March 11, 2013). "Beatrix Farrand Gets a Fresh Look". The Dirt. 
  25. ^ Sherrie L. Chapman (February 2003). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Green Spring" (PDF). Virginia Department of Historic Resources. 
  26. ^ "Landmarked Features". The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. Retrieved 27 September 2015. 
  27. ^ "The Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden". New York Botanical Garden. Retrieved March 8, 2015. 
  28. ^ Correal, Annie (September 23, 2014). "New York Today: The Women Who Built the City". The New York Times. Retrieved March 8, 2015. 
  29. ^ "Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation Hosts Leadership Awards Gala, Kicks off Built By Women Exhibition". Architectural Record. Retrieved March 8, 2015. 
  30. ^ "The Campus Landscapes of Beatrix Farrand". dlandstudio. Retrieved 27 September 2015. 
  31. ^ Bernstein, Mark F. (June 11, 2008). "'"Growing the campus How Princeton preserves its 'lazy beauty. Princeton Authors. Retrieved 27 September 2015. 
  32. ^ "Shaping Princeton’s Landscape". President’s Pages in Princeton Alumni Weekly. Retrieved April 25, 2012. 
  33. ^ LoBiondo, Maria (1998). "Beatrix Farrand: Landscape Architect". Princeton: With One Accord. Retrieved 27 September 2015. 
  34. ^ Schiff, Judith Ann (2001). "Old Yale Secret Gardens". Yale Alumni Magazine. Retrieved 27 September 2015. 
  35. ^ "University of Chicago". The Cultural Landscape Foundation. Retrieved 27 September 2015. 
  36. ^ Scheid, Ann (2011). "Beatrix Farrand in Southern California, 1927−1941" (PDF). Journal of the California Garden & Landscape History Society 14 (2): 1–13. Retrieved 27 September 2015. 
  37. ^ Klein, William M. (1995). Gardens of Philadelphia & the Delaware Valley. Philadelphia: Temple Univ. Press. p. 123.  
  38. ^ Deitz, Paula (2011). Of gardens : selected essays (1st ed. ed.). Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 15-17.  
  39. ^ Raver, Anne (1985). "Beatrix Farrand". Horticulture 63 (2): 32–45. 
  40. ^ Sarnacki, Aislinn (June 16, 2015). "1-minute hike: Asticou Azalea Garden in Northeast Harbor". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 27 September 2015. 
  41. ^ "The Digital Age Brings Beatrix Farrand’s Plants Back to Maine" (PDF). Beatrix Farrand Society. Retrieved 27 September 2015. 
  42. ^ "Herbaria Archives — Correspondence". The University and Jepson Herbaria. Retrieved 27 September 2015. 
  43. ^ "Garland Farm". Beatrix Farrand Society. Retrieved 27 September 2015. 
  44. ^ "Beatrix Cadwalader Jones Farrand". Find A Grave. Retrieved 27 September 2015. 
  45. ^ Brown, Jane Roy (2008). "New Life for Farrand’s Last Garden". Library of American Landscape History. 
  46. ^ "About Us". Beatrix Farrand Society. Retrieved 27 September 2015. 
  47. ^ Dwight, Eleanor (2005). "Perennial comfort: eminent garden designer Beatrix Farrand found refuge at Garland Farm on Maine's Coast". Preservation the Magazine of the Nation Trust for Historic Preservation 57: 38–42. 
  48. ^ "Beatrix Farrand Society". Official website. Retrieved March 11, 2011. 
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