Landscapes at the Gardner

I’m back- and with lots of updates! In December, I finished the first draft of the George Washington Birthplace CRSA, and we have a webinar planned for tomorrow to review the assessment with the park and regional leads. Since then I also created a draft CRSA for Richmond National Battlefield Park (much faster since the park had completed an earlier version of the process in 2013) and worked on creating Executive Summaries for both parks.


Classic view of Gardner Museum Courtyard

In between the CRSA process I did get to take a quick field trip to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum here in Boston with fellow intern, Ella, and several landscape staff from Boston area parks. We met with JoAnn Robinson, a landscape historian at the museum, who gave us a tour of the museum’s gardens and landscapes. While I had visited the Gardner Museum before, I had never really considered the significance of its gardens and landscapes, so I appreciated the chance to learn more about them and their history.

Our first stop was the iconic interior courtyard, which was filled with palms, ferns, and bright yellow orchids. It brought to mind a Venetian palace and courtyard, with its tall columns, statues, and mosaic tiling. While Isabella Stewart Gardner’s will stipulated that the permanent collection be preserved as is, she specifically excluded the gardens due to potential financial difficulty keeping appearance the same over time. This has given the museum the opportunity to change the plantings in the courtyard, which they do at least eight times a year!

Our next top was through the cloisters surrounding the courtyard and outside to the Monk’s Garden. While most of the plants were not in bloom (January in New England), there were a few white flowers poking out and the thin cover gave us a good idea of the winding paths. I’m excited to come back in the spring or summer to get a better idea of the hidden spaces created by the garden and see what’s in the courtyard.


3 responses to “Landscapes at the Gardner

  1. it was a great trip. Your photos are wonderful. The yellow flowers are orchids and the white ones were hellebores.

  2. The white ones in the Monk’s garden… but the white ones in the courtyard garden were flowering Jade plants- very old ones.and at their base it looks like azaleas.

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