Sunday, June 04, 2006
Formal Gardens at Eolia
Today I went to Harkness State Park, which includes Eolia, the Harkness mansion and several formal gardens. What a treat!! The weather wasn't really great, it was overcast and sprinkled lightly now and then but this place was beautiful none the less. Edward and Mary Harkness inherited a huge fortune from Edward's father who was a silent partner of John D. Rockefeller in the Standard Oil Corporation. Eolia is a 42 room Italianate mansion over looking Long Island Sound. It was one of their seven homes, and named after the island home of the Greek god of the winds Aeolus. Eolia was also once a working farm that included a prize herd of Guernsey cows, and an orchard and greenhouses. The west (Italian) garden's layout and paths were designed by James Gamble Rogers' firm and between 1918 and 1929 Beatrix Farrand, niece of novelist Edith Wharton, and one of the original founders of the American Society of Landscape Architects, designed new plantings for the Italian garden. She also designed the east (Oriental) garden and the boxwood parterre and the Alpine Rock Garden. The Rock garden was really fabulous!! We toured the mansion and wandered all around the grounds and had a marvelous time despite the gray day. The views were stunning everywhere you turned. I had hoped to paint there today but though it was a better use of time on a gray day to explore, sketch and take photos so that when I go back on a sunny day I have a better idea of what I'd like to paint.
Posted by Jan Blencowe at 5:43 PM