United States of America, Wisconsin, Walworth County, Lake Geneva
Flowerside Inn (Lake Geneva, Wisconsin)
Built in 1898 on the shores of Lake Geneva as a summer home for a New York City family, Flowerside Inn once employed up to 15 gardeners to maintain its extensive formal landscaping. The current owners purchased the property in 1976, and, after restoring the house, turned to the gardens, which had suffered from years of neglect. All that remained were the stately maples that shaded the home from the summer sun, while a weed-ridden lawn marched to the lakeside door and broken black asphalt greeted the drive door. With the help of a nationally renowned landscaping firm and the personal knowledge of the owner, who is active in the Lake Geneva Garden Club, the entire grounds have been landscaped with native species and more modern hybrids bred to withstand harsh winter winds and searing summer sun. The lake to the south is now fully exposed with a shoreline of flag iris, roses and daylilies combined with hosta and astilbe where the tree shade blocks the sun. A pier house, dragged one winter onto the shore, is now an attractive shoreside gazebo. The kitchen bay window looks out on a rose garden and birdbath.
The drive entrance on the north side of the home has been curved to lead gently to the front door and paved with bricks reflecting the brown tones of the landscaping. The edges have been planted with hawthornes, hosta, daylilies, coneflowers, hydrangeas, roses, liatris, daisies, peonies, azaleas, sedum, and other perennials, supplemented with annuals left over from the planting of window boxes that line the second story windows and the front entrance. An antique English garden wagon sits on the drive loaded with pots of annual flowers. There is variety in both color and green plant material throughout the growing season. A rambling perennial bed provides cut flowers, and the recently added "deer garden" provides a protected environment in which the owner can grow roses and lilies together with bellflowers, coreopsis, zinnias, sunflower, and vegetables without the fear of the deer. She built a "tennis court" which has a 10.5 foot black-clad chain link fence (too high for the deer to jump), and covered the fence with annual and perennial vines. Fencing continues underground for 18 inches, so even the little wild folk are denied the garden greens for their salad. Recent acquisitions include a 1900s gazing ball, marble statues of the four seasons, and a bench beneath an arbor.
Persons and firms associated with the garden include: Simeon B. Chapin (former owner, ca. 1896); William Trinke (former owner, ca. 1952); Benjamin H. Marshall (architect, 1896 and 1906); James Nagle (architect, 1999); and The Brickman Group (landscape designers, 1993-1997).
The folder includes a worksheet, garden plans, plant lists, and a photocopy of an article about the garden.
Garden has been featured in Dennis Rodkin, "A Garden Grows . . . And Grows," Chicago Tribune Magazine, March 31, 1996, pp. 34-36