Beatrix Farrand is a renowned American landscape architect who was influenced by Gertrude Jekyll. Farrand was born into a wealthy New York family in 1872. Her aunt was the novelist Edith Wharton. Beatrix traveled to England in 1895 and was profoundly affected by Gertrude Jekyll's garden at Munstead. It was Beatrix who disseminated Jekyll's ideas throughout the United States and in 1948 she purchased the majority of Jekyll's plans and drawings which are now housed at the University of California at Berkley.
The Garden As A Private Space
Farrand's own garden designs fused Anglo-American garden traditions. As well as a talent for design and a great knowledge of plants, she had a warm personality and stressed the importance of close collaboration between the designer and the client. She was the only woman among the eleven founders of the American Society of Landscape Architects, however, she always described herself as just a gardener and thought of gardens as personal and private.
Farrand's Most Famous Gardens
Her commissions included the gardens at Yale and Princeton Universities, but her masterpiece is the garden at the Dumbarton Oaks estate in Washington D.C.. There she retained the mature trees and added seasonal color with spring bulbs, evergreens and native shrubs and trees for autumn foliage. Although her work contained formal characteristics, there was a feeling of simplicity, and the dictates of the site and the client were paramount. For this great American designer, gardening was an interactive process.