|Garden and Nursery, Colonial Williamsburg|
Colonial Williamsburg was originally conceived of as primarily an architectural restoration, but landscape gardening was an important component of the overall appearance of the historic area. The Foundation hired Arthur A. Shurcliff, a Boston landscape architect who had worked closely with Perry, Shaw, and Hepburn, the architectural firm in charge of the restoration, to design gardens and other outdoor spaces that would complement the restored structures. Shurcliff served as Chief Landscape Architect from 1928 to 1941, and his vision of the colonial garden proved to be enormously influential for decades.
|James Galt House after restoration, 1935|
|Shurcliff based the Custis Tenement garden |
on one of Sauthier’s designs.
These colonial gardens were characterized by “geometric symmetry within an enclosed space.” Walls and hedges delineated the space of the garden, and plantings kept to defined spaces separated by straight walkways. By the mid-18th century, more “naturalistic” gardens were becoming fashionable in England, but these did not appeal to colonists, who had more than enough nature to contend with. To them, “a garden was nature tamed, trimmed, and enclosed within a fence or hedge.”
|Kitchen garden behind Wetherburn’s Tavern|
|Hand-colored lantern slide showing the formal gardens|
of the Governor’s Palace, 1935
M. Kent Brinkley, The Gardens of Colonial Williamsburg (Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 1996)
“The Restoration of Colonial Williamsburg,” special issue of The Architectural Record (December 1935)
Marley R. Brown III and Edward A. Chappell, “Archaeology and Garden Restoration at Colonial Williamsburg,” Journal of Garden History 17, no. 1 (1997): 70-77
Colonial Williamsburg Gardens
F. S. Lincoln, “James Galt House, Exterior From Left,” John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, accessed March 27, 2015, https://rocklib.omeka.net/items/show/320
F. S. Lincoln., “Governor's Palace Garden,” John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, accessed March 27, 2015, https://rocklib.omeka.net/items/show/589