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Aranjuez 1930-1994

Former owner:
Douglas, Walter O
Douglas, Margaret Bell
Peabody, Richard
Van Altena, Edward
Los Dos Puertos
Physical description:
1 folder+ 23 35 mm. slides. + 1 glass lantern + 13 - 2 3/4" x 2 3/4" slides, col. 3 x 5in
Mixed archival materials
United States of America, Arizona, Maricopa County, Phoenix
Aranjuez (Phoenix, Ariz.)
There are 13 large format (2 3/4" square) slides. A duplicate 35-mm slide was made for each large format slide. The large format slides are stored with the Garden Club of America, glass lantern slides.
"Aranjuez Garden, inspired by the "Aranjuez" Garden of the summer palace in Spain, was created by Mrs. Walter O. Douglas for her home in Phoenix. Mrs. Douglas, Canadian by birth, well travelled and married to an Arizona copper baron and President of the botanical gardens. Anticipating a move of residence from Mexico to Phoenix, the Douglases bought the property north of the city in the desert but with access to water, and began to plant citrus, date palms and jacaranda trees."
"Although plans were ordered from Bertram Goodhue, architect of the 1913 World's Fair in San Diego, Mrs. Douglas, herself, designed and built extensions to the original ranch house, adding a bell tower overlooking a patio with an octagonal fountain. Using the Spanish gardens as a model, she designed a reflective pool to mirror Camelback Mountain and be viewed from the living room window. At the side of the home was the formal garden, four parterres with low private hedges with a kumquat or other dwarf citrus in the center. Where the parterres met was another octagonal tiled fountain with overflow running off in each direction through small bricked trenches along the sides of the garden paths. A double row of carob trees led to the west, adding shade and elegance. For the pool area hand painted Don Quixote tiles illustrating the Cervantes tale were brought back from Spain. A three-tiered shell fountain graced the back wall. There was a cactus garden to the north of the patio."
"During the late 1950's and 1960's, many of the 160 acres were sold for development. In the late 1960's Charlotte Heuser, a local designer with taste and Southwestern flair, carved the remaining acreage around the main house and Aranjuez garden into small condominium lots and erected some twenty residences in keeping with the original building and landscaping. The reflective pool was filled in, yet the cyprus trees lining each side still provide a formal entrance for "Los Dos Puertos" as the area is now called (because of the two great wrought iron gates brought by Mrs. Douglas from Mexico). When the pool area was expanded most of the formal garden disappeared but the Quixote tiles and shell fountain were left."
Persons associated with the property include: Walter O. Douglas (former owner in 1930 to 1960's); Edward Van Altena (colorist); Margaret Bell Douglas (former owner in 1930 to 1960's); Mr. and Mrs. Richard Peabody (former owner from 1969 to 1992).
Mrs. Douglas received the GCA Achievement Medal, was past president of American Horticultural Society, served on Counsel of New York Botanical Garden and was named to Arizona Hall of Fame in 1991.
Archives of American Gardens encourages the use of its archival materials for non-commercial, educational and personal use under the fair use provision of U.S. copyright law. Use or copyright restrictions may exist. It is incumbent upon the researcher to ascertain copyright status and assume responsibility for usage. All requests for duplication and use must be submitted in writing and approved by Archives of American Gardens.
The folder includes garden plans, garden description, pamphlet, articles, worksheet done by GCA researcher Nancy Swanson and correspondence.
Garden has been featured in Arizona Republic, Sun Living, September 21, 1969
Garden has been featured in The Garden Club of America. The Garden Locater of the Garden Club of America. 1953
Garden has been featured in Arizona Republic, Obituary, October 12, 1963
Garden owner has been featured in the pamphlet from Arizona Hall of Fame Museum at the Carnegie Library
Repository Loc.:
Smithsonian Gardens, PO Box 37012, Capital Gallery, Suite 3300, MRC 506, Washington, DC 20013-7012
Local number:
Data Source:
Archives of American Gardens

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