Beatrix Farrand & Garland Farm

Beatrix Farrand, in California, with "Cubby," c. 1934.
(image courtesy of Diane Cousins)

Locus Map Mt. Desert Island, Maine and Garland Farm Plan 2002

Garland Farm Background

Garland Farm was the ancestral home of Mr. Lewis Garland, Beatrix Farrand's property manager at "Reef Point," in Bar Harbor, Maine. The original homestead consists of a c.1800 cape with a small ell, a barn, and a workshop/garage. The original property was comprised of about 100 acres of fields and woods running down to the shore. Mrs. Amy Garland (who met and married M. Garland at Reef Point) was Mrs. Farrand's horticulturist and close friend.

In the early 1950's, when Beatrix Farrand decided to end her dream of "Reef Point" becoming a public garden and horticulture and design research center, she decided to dismantle the entire property--house and gardens. Robert Patterson, a local architect and a member of the Reef Point Board of Directors, agreed to manage much of the disassembly of Reef Point, as well as design a new home for Mrs. Farrand at a different location. It was decided that a set of apartments would be annexed to Garland Farm, so that Mr. & Mrs. Garland could look after her in her later years.

Elevations of Addition, Robert Patterson 1955

Mr. Patterson designed an addition modeled on the form and mass of the original Garland house, but with all the rooms on one floor and a more generous use of interior space. A considerable amount of building materials and architectural furnishings and details--such as French Doors, windows, moldings, railings, doors, light fixtures, etc.--were incorporated into the new home, which was attached to the main Garland house by an extended ell. The floor plan consisted of two main sitting room suites with bathrooms, a library, an entry hall, a kitchen, a bedroom, and storage rooms. One of the suites was occupied by Mrs. Farrand's companion, Clementine Walter, and the other by Mrs. Farrand herself. The two suites and the library faced a new terrace garden, with French doors opening out into the space from each room--each onto a landing made by an antique mill stone (from Reef Point),

L to R: Amy Garland, Lewis Garland, Clementine Walter and an unidentified care-giver, at the entrance
to the farrand addition,1959
(image courtesy of Diane Cousins)

Mrs. Farrand brought with her favorite plants, favorite fencing elements, and favorite garden ornaments to build her last garden. There is an "Asian Garden" at the entrance to the Farrand wing, containing a number of favorite plants from the Far East. The Terrace Garden, surrounded by low wooden fences, is divided into rectangular parterres, the most central of which (outside the Library) containing mostly heathers and lavender--two of her favorite plant types. Perennials and annuals form the other beds, with clematis and roses integrated along the fence and up the downspouts of the house. In addition to the contained gardens, a number of specimen plants were arranged around the new house, including rare (and as yet unidentified) Japanese cherry hybrids [thought to be new introductions given by the Arnold Arboretum], a Stewartia, a Metasequoia, and other trees and shrubs uncommon to Maine gardens. A small greenhouse and garden shed was built to grow annuals needed for bed fillers, and to over winter the large non-hardy potted rosemarys and lemon verbenas she liked to have outside in the summer. Many of the original trees and shrubs and a considerable amount of the perennial plants survive.

Mrs. Farrand lived at Garland Farm until her death, in February of 1959. The Garlands continued to live there until Amy Garland, as a widow, was unable to manage alone. The property was sold to Jerome and Helena Goff, in 1970, who made record plans of the gardens at that time, and continued to honor and maintain Mrs. Farrand's garden.

The Eveland family bought the property from the Goff estate in 1993 and occupied it as an extended family, with the elderly mother in the Farrand wing and the daughter and her family in the main house. Virginia Eveland died in October, 2002, expressing hope that Garland Farm and its historic Farrand legacy could be preserved in some way for future generations. The size of the remaining property is approximately 4.9 acres and includes the original 1800 cape, the Farrand ell, a sturdy gambrel-roofed barn, a garage-workshop, and a small greenhouse.

A number of individuals and groups are joined forces in late 2002 to find a sensitive private or institutional owner and an appropriate use for this unique Farrand legacy. The Beatrix Farrand Society was incorporated as a Maine nonprofit, under the leadership of James and Emily Fuchs, as a holding entity that could purchase, own, and steward this historic site. Fundraising for the rescue proceeded frantically through 2003, and Garland Farm was purchased from the Eveland estate on 9 January, 2004. Since that time the Board of Directors of the Beatrix Farrand Society has set a mission of restoring Garland Farm to its Farrand-era design and condition, and instituting a design and horticultural study center there. Gradually, physical repairs have been made and the focus now shifts to restoration of the exterior of the buildings--to bring back the original colors and relationship to the landscape. The structural restoration of Farrand's little greenhouse will be completed in spring of 2006.

A reference library and a design archive will form the core of resources for Garland Farm, and collection of books and documents has begun. A project to recreate Beatrix Farrand's original professional reference library within the overall library collection will begin in 2006. Educational programs have been held at Garland Farm and are being planned as a significant part of the center, geared to both the year-round and the summer communities. The Bar Harbor Garden Club and the Garden Club of Mount Desert are active in the new educational goals there, echoing Mrs. Farrand's support for area garden clubs at Reef Point.

Visiting Garland Farm: Garland Farm is not yet open to the public, but you can visit through the Garden Consevancy which provides information on the Conservancy's OPEN GARDEN DAY on Mt. Desert Island, including Garland Farm and four private gardens, August 6th 2006, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Guided tours of Garland Farm can now be arranged through the new docent program, coordinated by Emily Fuchs. CLICK HERE send us e-mail arranging a visit. Volunteers for docent, library, archive, restoration, and garden help are most welcome.

National Register Listing

Garland Farm has been entered in the National Register of Historic Places according to Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr., Director of the Maine Historic Preservation Commission whose staff prepared the nomination. This designation indicates that the property has been documented, evaluated, and considered worthy of preservation and protection as part of the nationÕs cultural heritage. Of the approximately 80,000 properties in the U.S. currently listed on the National Register, only about 1900--or 2.3%--are designated as significant landscapes. Garland Farm is thus distinguished. While Farrand is nationally known for commissions including Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C., and portions of the Yale and Princeton campuses, there are only a few surviving examples of the more than 50 gardens she designed on Mt. Desert Island. Garland Farm was placed in the National Register of Historic Places as the last, and personally most intimate, garden created by this master landscape architect.

Cultural Landscape Report Project Launched

The contract to produce a Cultural Landscape Report [CLR] for Garland Farm has been awarded to the Pressley Associates landscape architectural firm of Cambridge, Massachusetts, which has a distinguished record in researching and restoring both public and private historic properties. The final selection was made from a strong field of five prestigious Northeastern firms, known for their historic landscape work throughout the United States. Pressley Associates exhibits a familiarity and a respect for the historic landscape of Mt. Desert Island through past CLR work for sections of Acadia National Park.

The CLR Project includes a thorough inventory of existing plantings, features, and structures of Garland Farm, and a search and survey of historical documentation. An analysis of this information will provide an historical perspective of the design of the Farrand-era Garland Farm and its significance in the landscape history of Mt. Desert Island, the State of Maine, and the nation. This intimate garden environment was the last chapter in the long and distinguished landscape architectural career of Beatrix Farrand. The CLR will also focus on restoration priorities and appropriate methods for restoring the gardens and landscape and converting Garland Farm to the educational center that the Beatrix Farrand Society envisions there.

The CLR study will take one year. It will be the basis for the garden restoration, which will begin in 2007. This exciting project has been made possible in large part by funding from the Barnsdale-Dabney-Henry Fund of the Baltimor Community Foundation, to whom we are most grateful.

Bird's eye view of Garland Farm

Drawn by architect Scott Koniecko and associate Greg Patterson, as part of a new series of drawings
made by Mr Koniecko's New York archictural firm. (BFS Archives)

Click send us e-mail describing your reactions to this site, or how you might like to help us. The site and its resources will be expanded over the coming months. Please visit us again for the garden's current status.

Tax-deductible contributions for the restoration and conversion of Garland Farm may be made to
"Beatrix Farrand Society” and mailed to:

Beatrix Farrand Society
PO Box 111
Mt. Desert, ME 04660

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