Monday, November 12, 2012

The Prize Garden of George E. Barnard, Esq.


 en acres of garden constitute the principal feature of Mr. George E. Barnard's garden at Ipswich, Mass., and to the garden lover there can be no more interesting spot than the grounds which won the H. H. Hunnewell triennial prize, offered for an estate of not less than three acres which should be laid out with the most taste, planted most judiciously, and kept in the best order for three consecutive years.
 A paper***below*** by Mary H. Northend describes in a pleasing way the features of the garden, and the engravings show the general scheme.  American Homes and Garden

***To get a idea of the plants and color hues used click on the gold highlighted hyper-links.***

The brook garden

 TEN acres of garden constitute the principal feature of Mr. George E. Barnard's estate at Ipswich, Mass. Viewed from any portion of the house or veranda, the wonderful color schemes seem a part of an exquisite picture, and, indeed, it was with this idea in mind that the flowers were planted. Time and a great deal of thought have been required to produce this result, but the completed whole is well worth the effort made, and it is rarely that one finds a garden which shows such beautifully blended tints.

 The garden is divided into two parts—the hill garden on the north, and the lower garden at the west of the house. The two gardens are about the same in area.

 A twelve-foot terrace on the northern slope was cut down to natural grade and the sub soil hauled to the lower garden, raising one acre of the latter three feet.

 The higher garden consists chiefly of a herbaceous  border about eight hundred feet long, backed by shrubbery and terminating in two circles twenty-five feet in diameter, forming a wide entrance to the summer house. 
Part of the upper garden and the terrace showing the plan of the border

A general view of the garden

 The herbaceous border is edged twice yearly. Five hundred white pansies were planted the first of April. These were replaced in June by five hundred white petunias, thus keeping an unbroken edging until frost.

 Going farther along the northern slope, and still backed by shrubs, we come to two cone-shaped beds separated by a grass path. One bed is planted with Oenothera Youngii, and the other bed with Delphinium Chinensis, each bed in turn planted with outdoor Chrysanthemums for fall bloom. Coming down the slope and toward the lower garden is a conifer bed seventy feet long by forty feet wide, dotted with King Humbert canna and edged with Pennisetum longistylum.

The silver birches and the lake

 Following the slope of the lawn from the summer house to the house proper and down a flight of ten steps, we enter a lawn extending to the piazza and enclosed by a three-foot terrace wall. The top of this wall is decorated with large pans of Phyllis geranium at intervals of ten feet. Below the wall is a formal border three feet wide, consisting of three rows of bedding plants. The outer row is Centaurea candidissima, the middle row Begonia Erfordi***shell pink***, and the third row standard heliotrope alternating with abutilon. The two circles mentioned were planted in April with annual silene, with myosotis used as an edging. In June the silene was replaced with Bar Harbor Beauty Petunia***shows brilliant translucent carmine***, and the myosotis with Ageratum Stella Gurney. In the spring the circles had for a background Digitalis purpurea alba. These are now replaced by Richard Wallace canna.

 The lower garden consists first of a series of oblong squares running east and west, and flanked on the northern side by the early vegetable garden, and on the southern side by herbaceous borders. The paths, however, connect beyond the squares and rose garden, and commence to curve, serving to form the English garden, rockery, alpine and water garden, and then continue to the borders of the Ipswich River. The space occupied by these gardens was originally covered with water and an apparently endless depth of black mud.

 A flight of rustic steps conducts one to the first square, which is planted principally with perennial vegetables, such as asparagus, sea kale, globe artichokes, rhubarb, etc. The whole square is edged with a double row of white verbenas. The second square is planted with annual vegetables, and is bordered on two sides with yellow gaillardias and on the remaining two sides with Verbena venosa.

 The third square commences with the greenhouse, which is used for raising annuals and bedding plants, followed by a crop of English forcing melons. The remainder of the square is taken up with dwarf fruit trees and bush fruits, flanked on one side with a row of trained espaliers, and on the other side with salvia Zurich, the end being planted with blue asters.

The rockery in the garden

The fourth square is planted entirely with the different Brassicas, following the strawberry crop, and is bordered on the sides with salvia Zurich, pink asters, mixed zinnias, and Celosia plumosa.

 The fifth square commences with a pergola, covered with grapevines. Then follow the different summer vegetables. It is flanked on the different sides with a row of espaliers, herbaceous border, and cosmos.

 The sixth square is planted with strawberries for next year's fruiting, and is enclosed with cosmos, Salvia farinacea, Viscaria and the herbaceous border.

 The herbaceous border on the south side is arranged to match that which flanks the fifth and sixth squares, the gravel path between the two borders being four hundred feet long. One hundred feet of this path is covered with a newly built pergola overgrown with climbing roses.

 The rose garden consists of one thousand hybrid teas, which are planted in three-foot beds, cut out of grass in scroll form, and extending entirely across the garden at the end of the square. Across the broad path from the rose garden are four formal beds, the first a carpet of dwarf scarlet verbena edged with Sedum carnea, and dotted with abutilon and violet petunias trained as standards. The second bed shows a carpet of alyssum edged with Altemanthera rubra and dotted with crimson geraniums and Coleus Golden Bedder. The third has a carpet of Mesembryanthemum, edged with Sedum carnea, and dotted with pink geraniums and iresine. The fourth shows a carpet of torenia, edged with yellow Alternanthera and dotted with snow-storm petunia and Champaepence discantha.

One of the garden walks
Part of the formal garden

 The remainder of the beds which complete the English garden are first a flanking bed, one hundred feet long, carpeted with blue verbenas, edged with dwarf white petunias, and dotted with Dantura Wrightii. A second bed, thirty feet in extent, is planted with tall yellow and edged with dwarf yellow Antirrhinum and dotted with King Humbert canna.  A third bed, seventy feet in extent, is carpeted with orange gaillardias, edged with orange nemesia, and dotted with blue salpiglossis. A fourth bed, one hundred feet long, shows a carpet of pink Antirrhinum, with edging of pink saponaria, dotted with Richard Wallace canna. A fifth bed, measuring thirty feet, has a carpet and edge of crimson nemesia, dotted with Cleome pungens. The sixth and seventh beds, arranged on each side of the rockery path, are planted alike and consist of a carpet of dwarf white petunias, dotted with Salvia patens and edged with dwarf white Verbena and white saponaria, alternating.

 The rockery was constructed with stones and boulders taken from the estate as the work proceeded. The plantings are arranged in blocks and drifts and average about one hundred plants of a given kind to each block, including a choice array of alpines.

The naturlesque garden

 The water garden is arranged partially inside the rockery. It is sixty feet long, and in shape is like the figure eight, with a rustic bridge across the narrow part. One portion is planted with hardy lilies, and the other part with tender liliesTo the southwest of all, and contiguous to the river, is the thatched summer house.

 The gardens were designed by John S. Critchley, who also directed the execution of the work.

A rustic tea house with thatched roof, overlooking "Riverbend", the George E. Barnard estate at Ipswich, Mass. This type of roof, so common in the Old World, is seldom used here because of its inflammability, but there is little danger of fire in a building so detached, and it is a pleasure to be able to use a material as beautifully appropriate in color and texture as thatch. Country Life in America

 Click HERE for more on "Riverbend". 

George E. Barnard's Estate At Ipswich, Massachusetts.

 The history of the Hunnewell prize is as follows: H. Hollis Hunnewell, a prominent banker of Boston and the owner of a fine estate in one of its suburbs, gave a fund to the Massachusetts Horticultural Society***around 1882***, the income of which was to be used for the encouragement of garden planting and the adornment and beautifying of private estates.

H. H. Hunnewell Triennial Premium Cup

 The prize, which is awarded every third year, is considered very desirable by the owners of fine estates, not so much for any pecuniary value, but from the laudable and justifiable pride in keeping up an estate in the condition which the award requires.

 The H. H. Hunnewell Triennial Premiums are awarded for an estate of not less than three acres, which shall be laid out with the most taste, planted most judiciously and kept in the best order for three consecutive years. The Committee on Gardens visit the various estates entered for the prize twice a year and on the third year make their report. American Hatter 1902

 ***Barnard first entered in the year 1908. Below are the notes from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society  on their successive visits ending with the gardens of "Riverbend" wining the prize three years later in 1910.

1908 -  June 15 the committee visited the extensive estate of George E. Barnard at Ipswich which had been entered for the H. H. Hunnewell Triennial Premium. This estate, comprising about sixty acres, is being transformed from a typical old New England farm into a modern country seat and the committee witnessed the results of the first twelve months' improvements. Long ranges of flower borders edged the lawns around the house and above these on the sloping hillside was planted a great variety of hardy coniferous shrubs and trees, including many of the variegated-leaved forms, hardly less attractive in coloring than the flowers of the garden borders. Foxgloves, larkspurs, sweetwilliams and yellow pansies were the conspicuous elements of the floral display on the occasion of the committee's visit and masses of the golden Syringa were also a notable feature of the garden arrangement.

 In the rear of the house and sloping gradually to the Ipswich River were the areas devoted to the vegetable and fruit gardens, the orchard of dwarf fruit trees, comprising apples, pears, plums, and cherries, and a water garden and rockery; all giving promise of abundant returns. Although many fine old trees adorned the estate Mr. Barnard has planted several thousand pines and spruces on the adjacent hillsides which will prove an attractive feature in his plan of improvement.

 The committee will await the further development of this estate with much interest.

 ***It was noted "The Estate of George E. Barnard of Ipswich was favorably reported for the first year of entry for the H. H. Hunnewell Triennial Premium."

1909 - July 8 the committee again visited the notable estate of George E. Barnard at Ipswich, now in its second year of entry for the H. H. Hunnewell Triennial Premium.

 Several changes in the arrangement of the grounds about the house have been made since the visit of last season showing Mr. Barnard's careful study of the problem attending the complete development of his estate. The long lines of flower borders with their background of green foliage formed a pleasing picture and the extraordinary neatness of the entire place drew forth many complimentary expressions of approval. The flower, vegetable, and fruit gardens, and the exceptionally well-arranged rockery and water garden were all inspected with interest by the members of the committee.

 Mr. Barnard is much interested in the development and horticultural adornment of his estate and the result thus far shows intelligent supervision and excellent taste, supplemented by the careful work of the head gardener, John S. Critchley.

 On August 24 a second visit was made for the purpose of inspecting the vegetable gardens which were found in most satisfactory condition.

  ***Again it was noted  "The estate of George E. Barnard at Ipswich was reported favorably for the second year of the H. H. Hunnewell Triennial Premium."

1910 - August 19 the committee again had the pleasure of visiting "Riverbend," the interesting estate of Mr. George E. Barnard at Ipswich.The display of herbaceous flowering plants exceeded anything the members of the committee had seen the present season and produced a brilliant color effect. Amongst the masses of flowering plants were numerous specimens rarely met with in our gardens and the ramble along the grassy paths of the flower beds was interesting and instructive.


 The rose garden of unique scroll-work design, the water and rock gardens, and the vegetable gardens were all inspected and the whole estate was one that the committee has no hesitancy in holding up as a model worthy of the Society's approval.

 In addition to the floricultural features the plantations of coniferous trees in great variety were noteworthy. Among these were many of the golden variegated forms, planted in masses, which give a touch of brightness to the landscape after the season of flowers is passed.


 This is the third and final year of entry of this estate for the Hunnewell Triennial Premium which the committee awards to it. The personal interest of Mr. Barnard in the general supervision of his place and the fine taste shown in its development have been very pleasing to the members of the committee, who also recognize that the successful accomplishment of the ideas of the owner of such an estate depends in large measure upon the ability of the person employed to carry out his plans.

 The committee feels that a great deal of credit is due to the superintendent of the estate, Mr. John S. Critchley, for his part in the work, which has required a high degree of horticultural skill and knowledge.

H. H. Hunnewell Triennial Premium - For an estate of not less than three acres which shall be laid out with the most taste, planted most judiciously, and kept in the best order for three consecutive years:

First, George E. Barnard, Ipswich     .... $160.00

***The following year the Society visited twice - The first visit of the season was made on June 1 to the estate of George E. Barnard at Ipswich, Massachusetts, to inspect his gardens of spring-flowering plants. Although the season had been very unfavorable thus far on account of the unusual lack of rain during the past two months, the numerous gardens on the estate proved well worth a visit.

 The most noticeable change made in the grounds since the committee's inspection of the previous year is the extension of the rock garden. This has been carried up on the adjoining hillside and a structure erected composed of large rocks making it the most conspicuous feature of the estate.

 A miniature rocky ravine, thickly bordered with Osmunda ferns, through which flows a stream of water from the height above, adds much to the effect and when the present plantings of hardy perennial shrubs and herbaceous flowering plants cover the rocky mass it will be a model rock garden.

 On the upper slope of the hill forming a suitable background for the rockery is a row of spruces and the lower slopes are filled in with a collection of rhododendrons and azaleas now in fine flower. Although lacking as yet the finish which will be added when the rocky bank is covered with flowers and foliage the whole scheme is effective and promises to make this estate a notable one on the North Shore.

 To the head gardener. John S. Critchley credit is due for the skill and taste displayed in bringing to a completion this notable undertaking. Conspicuous among the masses of flowering plants in the various gardens were Lychnis riscaria, Hesperus matronalis, in white and purple. Kerria japonica, Deutzia Lemoinei, Azalea mollis, yellow alyssum. columbines, in blue, white, and yellow, irises, lupins, geraniums, pansies and zinnias.

 On September 7 the committee again visited the gardens of George E. Barnard at Ipswich and found them brilliant with the flowering of the early autumn. The velvety lawns bordered with masses of flowering plants showed the refreshing influence of the recent rains and the various vegetable and fruit sections were in their usual fine condition.

 The rock garden was very well covered for the first year and the water garden was an attractive feature of the estate. The double row of fruit trees grown en espalier along one of the main paths showed a high degree of skill in producing the results obtained and the condition of the entire estate, which has become a notable one in this region, reflected credit both upon the owner for his horticultural enthusiasm and upon the head gardener John S. Critchley for his professional ability in carrying out the work.

Click HERE to see the remnants of the gardens from "Riverbend".

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