04 Mar Innisfree Gardens
The Innisfree Garden is located in Millbrook, New York, near Tyrrel Lake. This beautiful 150-acre garden highlights many of the most popular features of a Chinese-style garden and includes several species of local plants associated with the surrounding land and forests. Today, the Innisfree Garden is open to the public for a small admissions fee that supports the nonprofit organization responsible for its care and upkeep.
The Garden’s Establishment
Innisfree Garden was originally established as a private garden owned by Walter and Marion Beck between the years of 1930 and 1960. The couple drew their garden’s inspiration from an eighth-century Tang dynasty Chinese painter, musician, and poet named Wang Wei. In 1960, the Becks opened their garden to the public under director Lester Collins, a well-known landscape architect and the chair of Harvard University’s Landscape Architecture program.
The Garden’s Features
The Innisfree Garden grounds represent the lifetime achievement of Walter and Marion Beck. These beautiful gardens include features heavily influenced by Chinese and Japanese design, which use rocks, water, and plants working together in harmony to create a place of peaceful meditation and inward-focused thought. Innisfree Garden focuses on the use of carefully-crafted smaller gardens that create small vignettes within the larger landscape of the property, coined “cup gardens” by Walter Beck during his initial design process. When Lester Collins took over direction of the garden, he maintained this Asian motif, drawing on several gardening techniques cultivated in both ancient and modern Japan and incorporating both abstract and modern design elements into several of the garden’s vignettes. Over time, more of the Becks’ original grounds have been opened to the public, while the changing landscape is always carefully cultivated to maintain the garden’s visual balance.
If you’d like to learn more about visiting this amazing garden, you can visit the Innisfree Garden website for more information about the garden’s hours of operations, special events, and membership program. We also invite you to check out the other fascinating articles in Santa Rita Landscaping’s blog series, The Most Spectacular Gardens in the World.