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The Blue Garden: Recapturing an Iconic Newport Landscape


This is a compelling story about the decline and rebirth of a 100-year-old garden. Until recently, the Blue Garden, an icon of Gilded Age splendor in Newport, Rhode Island, was known only from hand-tinted slides dating from 1917. Originally designed in collaboration with the garden’s original owner by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr, and the Olmsted firm―founded by his father, the great landscape architect responsible for Central Park, New York City―it has now been brought back to life. Landscape historian Arleyn A. Levee tells a fascinating and carefully researched narrative about the garden’s origins, development, heyday, decay, and ultimate renaissance. 

The Blue Garden skillfully interweaves the garden’s design and social history, and stories of its founders and the Olmsted firm, with historical photos, original drawings and sketches, and images of the restored garden from 2015. This is a timeless and inspiring account of the devoted patrons, skilled artisans, and great designers behind the creation and revival of a masterpiece, made possible by the vision of a devoted patron, and the relevance of historic preservation of gardens in the 21st century.

By: Arleyn A. Levee, Published by Giles, 2019, 212 pages, hardcover.