News of Rick Darke on The Wild Garden this June 2nd, restoring Farrand's Wild Garden at Bellefield and the GREEN TEENS
The Garden Gate -- April 2012
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Beatrix Farrand Garden Association Newsletter | May 2013
mock orange -- remnants of the wild garden at Bellefield
at the Beatrix Farrand Garden at Bellefield

Surrounding the formal garden at Bellefield Farrand designed a more naturalistic planting - loose and curving in shape and lush in vegetation. This feature incorporated key existing trees that surrounded the walls and hedges and created a transition from the house through the highly manicured designed space and then finally “back to nature.”  Although a planting plan for the wild portion has never been found, Farrand indicated its location on an overview map for the entire garden.  An historic tree inventory completed in 1995 includes many remnants of its establishment including distinctive flowering trees and old-fashioned shrubs.  Inspired by the importance of Farrand’s pioneering work and a newly completed Cultural Landscape Report, the Beatrix Farrand Garden Associaiton and the National Park Service are collaborating to restore the Wild Garden at Bellefield. While this work will be phased in over a period of several years, the first level of the project will address circulation issues that should enhance visitor interaction with the formal garden, specifically using the wild garden plantings to link the formal garden with the Wallace Center and on to the extensive trail network throughout the Park.  We hope you will come see the progress we have made laying out Farrand's original outlines for the garden.  

Photo by Ingalls Photography from Garden Design, April 2013 

Halesia with dogwood in foreground
Halesia tetraptera or Halesia carolina, Carolina Silverbell
Halesia tetraptera is most commonly a small understory tree with a native range along the eastcoast.  Our Halesia, once incorporated into Farrand’s Wild Garden at Bellefield, is so large and stately that it has has been listed as a New York state champion.   Now considered rare in the wild, this tree is a valuable landscape speciman with early fall color and clusters of small white bell-shaped blossoms in May.  At Bellefield the masses of spent blooms fall down to the lawn beneath and create the appearance of a carpet of late snow. 

Photograph shows out giant silverbell in the background with a dogwood in the foreground.  These trees just outside the southern hedge are remnants of Farrand's original Wild Garden at Bellefield.  

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Green Teens create garden designs at Bellefield
GREEN TEENS  Return to the Garden for a Second Spring 
A new group of young people from GREEN TEEN:  A Community Gardening Program of Cornell Cooperative Extension, Dutchess County are participating in workshops at Bellefiled for the second year.  This series of three workshops examine Farrand's innovative design ideas, her role as a pioneering woman, and her signature plants choices.  The teens, chosen from a number of candidates, work on planting their own vegetable garden and growing the produce to make their famous salsa sold to support the ongoing program.  They also make trips to discover other fields of agriculture even animal husbandry with cheese producers at Sprout Creek Farm.  The three workshops at Bellefield allow the teens to explore possible careers in landscape design and horticulture while becoming immersed in the unfolding beauty of the garden over three months of spring.  

Rick Darke on The Wild Garden
at the 7th Annual Bellefield Design Lecture, June 2nd at 2:00pm

The Beatrix Farrand Garden Association and the Landscape and Arboretum Program at Bard along with the National Park Service and the Franklin D Roosevelt Presidential Library present Rick Darke, renowned author, photographer and landscape consultant, who will present his recently expanded edition of William Robinson’s influential book “The Wild Garden” first published in 1870. Darke brings Robinson’s groundbreaking text to a new generation of gardeners, and with award winning color photography, demonstrates how these early ideas about sustainable landscape practices still resonate today.

A widely-read English garden writer, Robinson advocated the use of hardy plants arranged in natural groupings able to thrive for years with little care at a time when labor-intensive, formal arrays of tender plants were all the rage. Robinson’s message continues to speak to modern gardeners seeking ecological and carefree landscapes. 

Beatrix Farrand’s long friendship and correspondence with Robinson greatly influenced her signature style of creating naturalistic surroundings for her geometric, formal designs and his innovative horticultural ideas supported her own devotion to the use of native and hearty plants. As BFGA embarks on restoring Farrand’s “Wild Garden” here at Bellefield, there could not be a more timely and relevant subject for discussion, and we are honored to have Rick Darke bring his insight and stunning photographic images to the Annual Bellefield Design Lecture next spring. 
Click here to purchase tickets

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