United States of America, Rhode Island, Newport County, Newport
Beacon Hill (Newport, Rhode Island)
"There is an austere elegance about a green garden; pink or yellow or red are frivolous except as accents, but the garden that appeals to the romantic, universal soul is the blue garden. That is why the Blue Garden of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Curtiss James was the ultimate goal of so many Newport Pilgrims. A very stately garden it is with the iridescent quality which blue flowers that really are mauve and purple and grayish, rather than true, sharp blue, impart. Its irregular symmetry makes it difficult to describe without a ground plan. At the two far distant ends are colonnades with gray rocks and irregular green plantations beyond, and the lower end is a circle of matchless turf whose boundary is rock and shrubs. The upper part is a circle, too, formed by a rustic lattice of slender split branches over which grow Clematis Jackmanii, mauve Sweet-peas and other charming creepers, backed by Cedars and Pines. In the center are two pools fed by water that trickles from beneath the colonnade."
"A thousand foot rose garden was blasted out of granite rock. A long grass allee originated by the reflecting pool, was planted with 5,000 roses of many varieties. The allee ascended several levels of stone walls and steps and climaxed under a high granite cliff, where a splendid stone and ironwork balustrade and imposing pergola were located. Mr. James died in 1942, all the roses were dug and sold and nature moved in to sow her seeds."
"The Beacon Hill house was left unoccupied and in 1967 finally succumbed to vandalism and fire." The gardens have been restored by subsequent owners.
Persons associated with the property include: Arthur Curtiss James (former owner, 1909-1940); Olmsted Brothers (landscape architects); John Greatorex (superintendent of grounds and landscape gardener); Harriet R. Foote (garden designer and rosarian); Peckham Brothers (contractors for rose garden); Hempstead of Boston (landscape contractors/superintendent); Edward Van Altena (lantern slide maker).
The folder includes correspondence, articles and information sheet compiled by GCA representative.
Garden featured in Levee, Arleyn A. The Blue Garden: Recapturing an Iconic Newport Landscape. Newport: Redwood Library and Athenaeum, 2016
Garden featured in Griswold, Mac and Weller, Eleanor. Golden Age of American Gardens. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1991
Garden featured in Phelps, Harriet Jackson. Newport in Flower. Newport, RI: Preservation Society of Newport County, 1979, page 101-112