The Beatrix Farrand Society (http://www.beatrixfarrandsociety.org) held it’s first ever seminar last Saturday, July 27. I was among the attendees from 15 states who gathered in Bar Harbor, Maine to enjoy Preserving Beatrix Farrand Gardens, a day devoted to discussion of Farrand’s private gardens. The seminar, organized by Judith Tankard, landscape historian and Society member, with sponsorship from The Garden Conservancy (https://www.gardenconservancy.org) was held to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Society with the 2003 purchase of Garland Farm, Farrand’s final home in Bar Harbor.
The panelists were:
(Listed in order of presentation)
Judith Tankard – Opening Remarks
Paula Deitz – 1980 Farrand Seminar at Dumbarton Oaks
Bill Noble – Garden Succession in Garden Conservancy
Elizabeth Mills – Restoring the Farm House
Katherine H. Kerin – Bellefield Restoration
Melanie Anderson Bourbeau – Restoring Hill-Stead’s Sunken Garden
Carole Plenty – Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden
Gail Griffin – Dumbarton Oaks in the 21st Century
Ann Aldrich & Rebecca Trafton – Restoring Dumbarton Oaks Park
An intangible but very real benefit of attending such a seminar is not just the exposure to the information presented. It is to sit in a room, collect together for lunch, and gather together on the Terrace Garden at Garland Farm with scholars, hobbyists, gardeners and fans of Beatrix Farrand and share the collective knowledge and enthusiasm for the work of a woman who hugely influenced the course of American Landscape design in it’s nascent years in the early 20th century. Not quite a lovefest, but more than a seminar, last weekend in Bar Harbor reflected the high level of admiration and devotion of Farrand cognoscenti. Farrand was highly respected and sought after professionally in her day, and she continues to inspire loyalty among garden historians and enthusiasts who have gone to great lengths to preserve, restore and chronicle her work.
The last event of an eventful day was a reception at Garland Farm. On a perfect midsummer evening we gathered to admire the newly restored Terrace Garden, a labor of love accomplished by Master Gardeners over a period of years (2007 -2013), view the Herbarium on display in the barn, pass through the beloved green door which Farrand brought with her from Reef Point, and walk among the rooms where Farrand walked. The talk was of gardens: how to preserve them, how to document them, how to restore them, how to do them. I believe Mrs. Farrand would be pleased.