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2021-05-18 00:00:00 Avenue Magazine How an Historic New England Garden Came Back to Life

How an Historic New England Garden Came Back to Life

A couple’s 30-year journey reviving one of America’s most beautiful green spaces
THE RAKE’S PROGRESS Along the West Terrace sickly plants were torn out, borders dug, and numerous shrubs and perennials planted including ‘Félicité et Perpétue’ roses and Clematis viticella ‘Betty Corning
Photo © Clint Clemens 2021, courtesy of Damiani

In 1991 Nola Anderson and Jim Mullen took a leap of faith and purchased The Chimneys, a Georgian Colonial Revival estate on 28 acres of North Shore seaside property in Manchester, Massachusetts, landscaped by the Olmsted Brothers (sons of the legendary Frederick Law Olmsted Sr., creator of Central Park) between 1902 and 1914.

In their courting days, the couple marveled at this grand house as they fantasized about their future together and restoring the estate’s historic Italianate gardens, neglected for 40 years.

“We would make it beautiful,” Anderson writes in this account of her journey from naive plant lover to expert horticulturalist. Immersion: Living and Learning in an Olmsted Garden is the richly told story of her successes and failures, and the community of gardeners who fostered her growth.

PATHS OF GLORY The Water Terrace, a 2,800-square-foot water garden with five pools and a fountain, was completely rebuilt, with the Olmsted-designed pools replicated exactly
Photo © Clint Clemens 2021, courtesy of Damiani

Immersion: Living and Learning in an Olmsted Garden by Nola Anderson, with photographs by Clint Clemens (Damiani) is available now.

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