Private Gardens, Public Landscapes
Monacelli Press, Hardcover, 9781580932271, 240pp.
Publication Date: September 29, 2009
Beatrix Farrand: Private Gardens, Public Landscapes presents the life and work of one of the foremost landscape designers of the early 1900s. Born into a prominent New York family (she was the niece of Edith Wharton), Farrand eschewed the traditional social life of the Gilded Age to pursue her passion for landscape and plants. Many of her clients were members of the highest echelon of society with estates in Newport, the Berkshires, and Maine, but Farrand ultimately became a consultant for university campuses, including Yale and Princeton, and for public gardens, including the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden and the Rose Garden at The New York Botanical Garden. Perhaps her best-known work is the extensive garden at Dumbarton Oaks, originally a private residence and now a research institute of Harvard University.
Deeply influenced by the English landscape designer Gertrude Jekyll, Farrand was known for broad expanses of lawn with deep swaths of borders planted in a subtle palette of foliage and flowers. Her gardens have been photographed at their peak especially for this book, and these lush illustrations are complemented by beautiful watercolor wash renderings of her designs, now preserved at the library of the University of California at Berkeley.
"Well-researched, well-photographed, and beautifully produced volume on the life and career of a real garden artist and hero."
—The New York Botanical Garden
"This well written and deeply researched book . . . will surely remain the standard work on Beatrix Farrand for years to come."
"This book brings to life the gardens of a nascent and grand American landscape style, influenced by European gardens, modified for the nouveaux riches . . . For English majors, this book does double duty as a companion to Aunt Edith [Wharton's] novels."
—The New York Times Sunday Book Review
"[Farrand] gets her due in this lovely coffee-table book filled with her meticulous plans, archival photographs and lovely illustrations."
—The Chicago Tribune
"[An] authoritative biography . . . the writing is well researched [and] refreshingly spare."
"[This book] is thoughtfully presented by a scholar who is both rigorous and intuitive . . . and it’s beautiful."
"You certainly won’t be disappointed with the new book by Judith Tankard. It’s a welcome addition to the genre, written in an easy to read style, and it covers all the important facts and facets in the life of a most fascinating woman."
—Garden Design Online