The property was purchased as a vacant lot by the present owners in 2002 and the house and gardens were designed, built and laid out fifteen years ago in 2004/05. The central design element of the lushly landscaped gardens was to incorporate the natural topography of the land (sloping 21 feet in the rear from bulkhead to main house) through the widespread use of retaining walls, three-tiered terracing and wide limestone walkways and patios, thus creating individual mini gardens and spaces. There are a total of six connecting spaces within the grounds: front facing gardens with a "natural" double hedge green barrier in lieu of wall and gates, south facing music terrace and reflective shade garden, north facing guest patio and shade area, rear facing English butterfly garden terrace, patio pool and entertaining terrace, and Zoysia grass soccer field.
The master landscape design was conceived by Connecticut-based landscape architect Rick Worcester (Worcester + Worcester Landscape Architects), together with extensive collaboration from the owners. It was important to include elements from the past into the new design and as such, the main house was architecturally designed and built around the massive, majestic live oak tree on the south side of the property. The river facing rear gardens were centered and framed around nine enormous sago palms that were original to the old gardens. These sago palms were dug out, lifted and stored during construction of the house, and then transplanted and relaid into three clumped clusters thereafter.
The main house, guest house, and pool structures were designed by Connecticut-based architects Brooks & Orrick Inc. (now Orrick & Co.) in the traditional Cape Cod carriage style inspired by the many years the family has lived in New England. As such it boasts a Vermont slate roof, cedar shingles, mahogany windows and doors, copper gutters and finials, high ceilings, oak floors, and custom wainscoting and cabinetry. Likewise, the gardens are inspired by the owners heritage and years living in London, and reflect their love of trees and shrubs, in particular American maples, Japanese maples, Drakes Chinese elms, multi-stem loquat (Japanese "plum") trees, magnolias, holly trees, Camellia sasanqua, ferns, azaleas, and agapanthus. The gardens attract a variety of butterflies (including migrating monarchs) and birds. The range of birds the owners see frequently include hummingbirds, cardinals, finches, owls, hawks, woodpeckers, heron, and there is even a pair of eagles that nest near by that are seen quite often.
Directions: At the request of the Garden Host, directions to this garden are provided at the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens on March 30, or by calling the Garden Conservancy office toll-free weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST, 1-888-842-2442.
Open Days 2019: March 30
Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Admission to this garden is $10. A discounted day pass ticket for all four gardens open on this date is available for sale at the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- This is a new garden