Surrounding the formal structures of the garden, Farrand designed a more naturalistic planting – loose and curving in shape and lush in vegetation. This feature incorporated key existing trees that surrounded the formal garden, and created a transition from the house through the highly manicured designed space and then finally “back to nature”. Although a planting plan for the wild portion has never been found, Farrand indicated its location on an overview plan for the entire garden. An historic tree inventory completed in 1995 notes many remnants of its establishment including distinctive flowering trees and old-fashioned shrubs.
Inspired by the importance of Farrand’s pioneering work and a newly completed Cultural Landscape Report, BFGA and the National Park Service is embarking on a collaboration to restore this feature at Bellefield. The wild garden project will be phased in over a period of years, first addressing circulation issues that will enhance visitor interaction with the formal garden, specifically using the naturalistic plantings to link the formal garden with the Wallace Center and on to the extensive trail network throughout the Park.
Beatrix Farrand’s original plan for the Garden at Bellefield indicating a surrounding area labeled “Wild Garden”