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Innisfree Garden 1983-1999

Landscape designer:
Beck, Walter d. 1954
Former owner:
Beck, Marion d. 1960
Foundation president:
Collins, Lester -1993
Physical description:
3 folders+ 81 35 mm. slides
Mixed archival materials
United States of America, New York, Dutchess County, Millbrook
New York
Innisfree Garden (Millbrook, N.Y.)
Established in 1930, Innisfree was designed and built by Walter Beck, a scholar-teacher-artist who was influenced by ancient Chinese garden art. Innisfree explores a Chinese garden design concept called a "cup garden," which has origins in Chinese paintings dating back a thousand years. The cup garden draws attention to something rare or beautiful. This special object is segregated by establishing an enclosure around it so that it can be enjoyed without distraction. A cup garden may be an enframed meadow, a lotus pool, or a single rock covered with lichens and sedums. At Innisfree the visitor strolls from one three-dimensional picture to another. Streams, waterfalls, terraces, retaining walls, rocks, and plants are used not only to define areas, but also to establish tension or motion. Although the cup garden idea came from China, Innisfree is unequivocally an American garden. The lake is glacial, most of the plant material is native, and the rocks have come from the immediate forest.
Persons associated with the garden include: Walter and Marion Beck (former owners and landscape designer [Walter Beck] 1930-1960) and Lester Collins (landscape architect and president, Innisfree Foundation, 1960-1993).
The folders include worksheets, garden plans, correspondence, and photocopies of correspondence, articles, and brochures about the garden.
Local number:
Access to original images by appointment only. Researcher must submit request for appointment in writing. Certain items may be restricted and not available to researchers. Please direct reference inquiries to the Archives of American Gardens:
Data Source:
Archives of American Gardens

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