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Estates in Early America Followed English Landscape Style

The east coast here in the United States is home to early examples of the modern landscape garden style from England’s eighteenth century.

Julie S. Higginbotham wrote an article about the history of the US nursery industry called “Four Centuries of Planting and Progress.”  She presents an excellent chronology, listing the Prince nursery of 1737 as the first commerical nursery, located in Flushing , New York.

She writes, “By 1800, the East was dotted with landscaped estates, including properties on the Hudson River, the Long Island Sound, the shores of Connecticut, and the environs of Philadelphia, Boston, and New York.”

A property near Boston that I have often visited is the Lyman estate in Waltham, about nine miles from the city.  Mr. Lyman’s estate went by the name “The Vale”.

The Vale is one of the finest examples in the United States of a country estate laid out following the principles of eighteenth-century English naturalistic design. For more than 150 years, it was the country home to four generations of Boston’s prominent Lyman family. [below]

The  lawn that sweeps up to the walls of the house is, of course, the predominate symbol of the English garden style called naturalistic, referred to also as modern landscape gardening in the eighteenth century.

Lyman Estate in Waltham, Mass. [Courtesy of the Waltham Tourism Council]
Lyman Estate in Waltham, Mass. [Courtesy of the Waltham Tourism Council]

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