blue garden

the most coveted invitation of the 1913 newport summer season was for the masque of the blue garden, an inaugural soiree for the magnificent garden created for arthur curtiss james and his wife, harriet parsons james. arthur curtiss james made his fortune in copper and the railroads. a private man and one of america’s least-known millionaires, he was happiest sailing his yacht on the sea. when the jameses built their newport mansion, harriet hired frederick law olmsted jr. to design a secret garden in a monochromatic color palette of blue. with its graceful design and signature color scheme, the blue garden became a newport showplace and the site of lavish parties and garden tours. after both jameses died in 1941, maintenance of the blue garden suffered.

the once-glorious blue garden disappeared under a thick covering of invasive trees and vines. hamilton was an important member of newport society, a benefactor of blithewold and the philadelphia and newport flower shows, and a neighbor of the blue garden. enclosed by low walls, trellises, and a columned pergola, the blue garden is classical in layout with a cruciform shape. boxwood, caryopteris, and ‘twist-n-shout’ lacecap hydrangeas provide structure, while beds of mixed perennials, annuals, and bulbs create a long season of bloom. the blue garden is once again a showplace in newport thanks to the creativity and dedication of two amazing women. landscape design in metrowest, holliston, hopkinton, ashland, framingham, boston, southborough, milford, newton, wellesley, westborough, dover, sherborn, millis, medway

the blue garden was planted along a central water feature of blue-tiled pools connected by a water runnel, surrounded by formal planting beds. one of the wealthiest men in the country, the publicity-shy titan was one of america’s least-known millionaires. “contrary to the belief that the garden consisted of only blue flowers, it actually included herbaceous plant material of purple, lavender, gray, and white hues that became a shimmering evocation of sky and water,” she says. “the garden was intended to be a hortus conclusus, or secret garden.” the horticultural triumph called for a festive inaugural party, and invitations to the masque of the blue garden became the most anticipated of the 1913 season.

from that night on, the blue garden became renowned for its beauty and served as a backdrop for numerous social events, from garden club of america meetings to lavish soirees for visiting royalty. after the mansion was devastated by fire and demolished, the property was subdivided into house lots and  sold in the 1970s. “without the original bevy of gardeners to keep the garden continually at its peak condition, the new plantings are influenced by the original plant palette, but with a 21st-century eye to decreased maintenance, water needs, longevity of bloom, and texture,” she says. “it was simply the right thing to do,” she says.

among the many notable gardens created by frederick law olmsted jr., and the olmsted firm, the blue garden, designed for arthur curtiss and harriet parsons the blue garden storer park, 32 washington street, newport, ri 02840 newport county (401) 439-7253 add to trip | view trip. enclosed by low walls, trellises, and a columned pergola, the blue garden is classical in layout with a cruciform shape. a long reflecting pool,, .

over 250 evergreen trees enclose the garden walls to create a secret garden of perennials and annuals. the blue garden is known today as a classic example of the restoration of a historic property brings its monochromatic blue garden in newport, rhode island back to its original splendor. the blue garden, designed by frederick law olmsted, jr., and the olmsted brothers firm for mining magnate arthur curtiss and harriet parsons james on their, .

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