United States of America, Massachusetts, Berkshire County, Williamstown
Ilona's Garden (Williamstown, Massachusetts)
Located on one acre, this property with its enchanting garden of flower borders and majestic trees dates back to the 19th century when the Ide family owned it. Thomas Walsh, the subsequent owner, paid little attention to the upkeep of the grounds, so when the current owners bought it in 1978 they began creating a garden based on classic English gardens. This small, densely planted garden surrounds a charming old carriage barn turned into the central residence. Deep beds along the south, east and north perimeters contain mixed plantings of trees, shrubs, and flowers. Towering trees, borrowed views that look onto acres of neighboring lawns and glimpses of the distant mountains create an expansive sense of the Berkshire landscape.
An urn in the front of the carriage house beckons the visitor to follow the bluestone path and steps that lead from the driveway to a narrow sunken garden. A circular water garden around a central waterfall is visible at the north end of the property. The flanking wide bluestone walkway and seating area are planted with creeping plants. This water area is surrounded by circular borders and a cedar pergola connecting the lily pool to the ornamental kitchen garden. Arches made of local cedar support a mix of vegetables and climbing flowers. Each border has a distinctive identity. An island bed is wrapped around towering old pines, contains a folly, with concrete columns and water dripping into a smaller pool. Foraged pieces of old marble suggest a ruin while the colorful pink and mauve hues and brightly colored flowers growing in clay pots and several broken columns create a sense of whimsy. The focal point of a second island bed is a clematis-covered weathered window frame bearing an inscription from Andrew Marvell's 17th century poem, "The Garden". Looking through this frame captures the landscape beyond and symbolizes the creative act of garden-making, of ordering and framing nature's wildness.
Persons associated with the garden include: Ide Family (former owners, 19th century), Thomas Walsh (former owner, date unknown-1977), Elizabeth Bartels (landscape architect, 1989), Little and Lewis (artists, 2000), Niels Oleson (garden designer, builder, gardener, 2000-present) and Ilona Bell (garden designer and gardener).
The folder includes worksheets, site plans, and additional information.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org