Saturday, July 12, 2008

A landscape is the marriage of nature and culture

That was what I learned today at Stan Hywett in workshop 3 of a four part series for restoring your old house. Sponsored by the Cleveland Restoration Society, Stan Hywet Hall and Progress for Preservation, these Saturday morning workshops have been invaluable as well as a lot of fascinating fun as we end up each session by taking an in depth tour of the house and today -- the garden at last!

I took some photos of landscapes within landscapes on Stan Hywett's five acres. Above is the great meadow, viewed from in front of the house. All five acres of the estate grounds were landcaped by Warren Manning. You can find more details about the gardens here.

Here we are looking at the Lagoon, which was created on top of the old stone quarry from which the estate derived its name.

We learned about the differences between rehabilitating and restoring a historic garden. If you want to keep any of the original plantings now grown large, then you are rehabilitating. But to restore a garden to its original state, you have to remove all the overgrown trees and shrubs and re-plant everything according to the original garden plan.

At Stan Hywet, they have a wealth of original drawings as well as photographs stretching back to the years the house and gardens were constructed. Many of the photos were taken, developed and printed in a dark room set up in the house by one of the Seiberling sons. They have become essential primary sources for how anything looked when the Seiberlings resided there.

This the Japanese garden that is languishing while plans are made to either restore or rehabilitate. I really liked the overgrown aspect to it -- it would make a neat outdoor performance space. However, it is not nearly as accessible as the lagoon, which is home to the Ohio Shakespeare Company.

In the stand alone conservatory, a butterfly room has been added. Huge exotic blue butterflies grabbed the eye immediately, but there were many others to be found tucked in here and there among the tripical plantings and the plates full of fruit drenched with gatorade.

To maintain such a house with so many gardens one had to be one rich guy, as was Seiberling, to be able to afford all the servants and workers who certainly put in full days on this job. Here are some garden tools from earlier times.

I arrived home to my tiny urban lot with renewed visions for garden improvements! At least I now know more about landscape styles and influences as I made my garden choices.

1 comment:

ViolaBlack said...

What a beautiful garden. How lucky are the people of Akron to have this mansion to visit whenever they want to. The house and gardens have a way of uplifting the spirit.