Blithewold's Site History
The Enclosed The Bosquet The Wellhead The North Garden
In developing the site history and considering how Blithewold relates to other historic properties of the era, a number of themes have emerged.
Blithewold has a rich legacy, which has evolved over time. While features from the past 120 years are most evident, the underlying layers from more than 400 years of continuous land use can still be traced on the land. New owners have shaped the property to meet their own needs, just as fires and hurricanes have created dramatic transformations. New gardens were created, plantings have matured and new programs have been developed to serve its changing mission from private to public enjoyment.
Unlike many estates of the period, where earth was moved and forests were planted to shape Nature to the tastes of its owners, landscape gardener (who sometimes referred to himself as a landscape architect) John DeWolf and Bessie Van Wickle McKee subtly transformed the natural topography and vernacular landscape structure at Blithewold that date to Colonial times. Some landscape features, such as the Enclosed Garden, appear to have been in place since the mid-19th century, before it was purchased by the Van Wickles. Bessie’s vision of creating “an estate in which new beauties are constantly revealed, and the perfect accord between architecture and grounds is ever apparent” remains in evidence today.
Monday, February 16
- Friday, February 20
February Vacation Camp Sequoia
Monday, April 20
- Friday, April 24
April Vacation Camp
Friday, May 08
Dahlia Days with Rick Peckham's Greenhouse, Little Compton, RI
Learn something new — on fertilization
(Jan 23, '15)
When we get busy I’m apt to forget my quest to learn something new every day. But during the winter we have the time and plenty of opportunities in the way of classes, lectures, symposiums, trade and garden shows to make a habit of it again. And it’s a treat whether I’m learning something totally […]
What to do when it’s January-ish
(Jan 16, '15)
So far, to me, this winter has not seemed as winter-ish as winter usually is. Of course, I’m knocking wood as I say that. Although I love the way a good layer of snow blankets the landscape (and insulates our plants), I’m grateful to not have to shovel or trudge over and through giant banks […]
(Jan 09, '15)
A lot of people ask us what we do here in the winter. –A particularly legitimate question when the weather outside is as unpleasant as it has been this week as temperatures plunged and the wind whipped. We always answer, “a lot.” And luckily for Gail, Betsy, and me, most of it is inside-work. Holidays behind […]