United States of America, Connecticut, New London County, Old Lyme
Duck Creek (Old Lyme, Connecticut)
This garden site was established in 1940 on four acres of rugged granite outcroppings and meadow bordering a salt meadow in southeastern Connecticut. The original owner, Norwegian-born Arvid O. Knudsen, was an antiquarian, collector, world traveller, and lifelong student of architecture. He salvaged the Georgian post office in New London, CT, and brought it all--old bricks, urns, and cupola--20 miles west to his plot of land in Old Lyme. He rebuilt it into a house of his own design, giving it the facade of a 1750 Connecticut Valley Chippendale doorway. In the back of the property he carved into the land a formal green and white grass garden, complete with in-ground swimming pool, boxed in with arborvitae. A sunshading gazebo was the focal point of the base of the garden at the edge of the pool. A decade later, Mr. Knudsen's friend, J. A. Lloyd Hyde, became owner of the country estate. He maintained the gardens and grounds in their original design except for the gazebo, which he rebuilt into a pillared gazebo in memory of his friend.
In 1981 Mr. Hyde's nephew, J. Hindon Hyde, assumed ownership of the property and a few years later sold it to the current owners. With great respect to Mr. Knudsen's original design, the present owners redesigned the formal lawn garden in a number of ways. The walkways were removed and turf installed and forsythia planted in place of the arborvitae border. A garden of ornamental grasses, perennials, and annuals graces the entry of the pillared gazebo in place of the in-ground swimming pool. A parade of fruit trees parallel each other down the center of the lawn garden to where the original wide, baroque fountain stands surrounded by another new perennial garden. Many of the original classic white marble urns and garden statues decorate the garden and 40-year-old espaliered pear trees flourish along the terrace of the back wall of the peach-brick house.
Persons associated with the garden include: Arvid O. Knudsen (former owner, 1940-1950); J. A. Lloyd Hyde (former owner, 1950-1981); J. Hindon Hyde (former owner, 1981-1984); Chester W. Martin (landscape designer, 1940-1950s); and Joe Barstis (nurseryman and gardener, 1940-1950s).
The folders include worksheets, a plant list, and additional information about the garden and designer Chester W. Martin.