Marjorie Merriweather Post intended visitors to Hillwood to delight in the treasures found inside as well as outside the Mansion.
From 1955 to 1957, during renovations carried out after Mrs. Post purchased the estate, elements of the existing landscape were incorporated into garden “rooms” that featured a variety of historical styles.
The formal garden is designed to transport you to a small formal garden of the eighteenth century. Standing on the terrace you face the terra-cotta sculpture of Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt.
Fanciful creatures, such as the marble sphinxes, the figures with the head and torso of a woman and the legs of a lion on the balustrade, and the lead cherub riding sea animals in the central pool, lend the garden a sense of whimsy and joy reminiscent of objects in Mrs. Post’s French collection.
The next photo shows the view of the formal garden from Mrs. Post’s bedroom.
As you walk past the statue of Diana you enter the Rose Garden.
In 1956 Mrs. Post hired Perry Wheeler, who had assisted with the design of the White House rose garden, to adapt this garden to her taste. Each bed was planted with a single variety of summer-blooming floribunda rose and the brick paving.
Boxwood was planted to complete the circle started by the pergola.
Mrs. Post chose this site to house her ashes in the base of the pink granite monument crowned with an antique urn of deep purple porphyry. Mrs. Post died at Hillwood. In her final act of philanthropy, she opened her estate as a museum of her timeless collections. This truly is an amazing gift to the public!
The wood and brick pergola, with its climbing roses and white wisteria that bloom in the spring were part of Willard Gebhart’s original design prior to Perry Wheeler’s additions in 1956.
Four of these statues represent the four seasons. The little guy on the bottom right was on a post on the friendship walk leading to the Four Seasons Overlook.
Looking back towards the rose garden from the putting green.
This is looking down towards the Japanese style garden which I’ll post at a later date.
Past the stone lion is the lunar lawn, named for it’s crescent shape.
There are still many wonderful aspects of Mrs. Post’s outdoor property to show but this post is getting long and I’ll stop here with some lovely Peonies that were growing in the cutting garden.
If you ever visit Washington D.C. I highly recommend a visit to Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens. The history and treasures and beauty are worth the trip.
ht: Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens brochure.
Photobucket replaced all my photos with blurred out versions and they are holding my photos hostage until I pay them lots of money. I’m slowly going through all my posts and trying to clean them up and replacing some photos. Such a bother.