Table of Contents

Colonial Revival
   – Neoclassical or Picturesque, Romantic garden 1890-1955

These impressive early revival style homes share characteristics the Beaux Arts style with a symmetric façade, balconies, and columns flanking a small portico. They are painted white in the misperception that colonial homes and fences were painted that color.

Fig.45, Colonial Revival home
Fig. 45
Garden plans
In 1928-1937 the gardens of Colonial Williamsburg are reconstructed, providing a model for the renewed interest in formal gardens. However several garden style options are possible for a Colonial Revival home; a revival of the Romantic era, with lawn dotted by trees and shrubs, or the formal schemes of Italian gardens (see Colonial or Dumbarton Oaks).

Flowers, shrubs
The color palette in the garden also turns to white, pastels or colors “from nature”. There is nostalgia for the “old farmstead garden”, with snowdrops, daffodils, spring bulbs, wild wood flowers, ferns, grapes, wisteria, and woodbine or English ivy. Old-fashioned shrubs include box, lilacs, and snowberry. Groundcovers such as vinca or pachysandra are used in shade, where grass will not grow. Hedges of hawthorn, or yew shield the view from the street, and create a backdrop for rhododendron and a bench. Another popular hedge plant is buckthorn. Introduced in the early 1900s by Eloise Butler, this plant has now invaded the forest and river gorges, threatening native species.

Gertrude Jekyll
From 1900 on, the influence of the English gardener, Gertrude Jekyll (and Edwin Luytens) helps define the new Arts and Crafts Style. Using Impressionist color theory, and the palette of J.M.W. Turner’s later landscapes, Jekyll is known for her subtle use of color, and flowers planted in long, thin, color ‘drifts’, rather than blocs or bedding designs. Gertrude creates borders as one would a picture. In long beds, hot colors such as red and deep yellow are used in the center sections, followed by pastels and finally gray at the ends. Small accents of white or a pale contrasting color are added to heighten the effect. Walls and larger plants, with interesting leaf forms, such as yucca, and euphorbia back flowerbeds, while seven-foot high yews back a gold theme border. Trees are not left in long rows with bare trunks but tied to the garden with large shrubs. For best effect, in her own large 7 hectare garden, (tended by 11 gardeners), plants are grouped in seasonal beds to be in bloom from one to three months. A scaled down Gertrude Jekyll inspired garden is the counterpart to the Arts and Crafts home, creating a perfect setting for the house, which is the perfect adornment to the garden (Turner, 1986).
Fig.46, Painting by Monica Epstein of a 1909 planting plan by Gertrude Jekyll
Fig. 46, Painting by Monica Epstein of a 1909 planting plan by Gertrude Jekyll