United States of America, Connecticut, Hartford County, Farmington
The Holden Garden at Fox Hall (Farmington, Connecticut)
The Holden Garden at Fox Hall has three acres of formal gardens designed and installed by the current owners that surround an Early Republic brick house built circa 1803 as a wedding present for General George Solomon Cowles, while the remaining two acres are grassy fields with a circa 1750 post and beam barn relocated from Salem, Massachusetts by a previous owner. The gardens feature 1700 English boxwoods planted in knot gardens and hedges which surround distinct garden beds of peonies, roses, impatiens or euonymus, as well as clipped hedges surrounding the lawn and trees. Some of these shrubs were moved to Connecticut from Virginia, some came from another family home in Connecticut, and some have been propagated from cuttings by the owners. The colors pink and white predominate in the selection of flowering trees, shrubs and annuals. A custom designed white picket fence was installed along the front of the property, which is entered through an antique Georgian/Federal pediment supported by columns, originally installed in Newport, Rhode Island.
The gardens were designed to be visually interesting during the entire year, including the snowy winter months. The evergreen boxwood knots and hedges, along with a circa 1880 European fountain and benches, a juniper topiary garden and a pinetum with several different species provide the winter bones.
The General George Cowles house was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. The previous owner, James McA. Thomson gave the two-acre field portion of the property to the Farmington Land Trust so that it would remain in private hands and not be subdivided. Historic New England also oversees the property, controlling renovations to the house and prohibiting commercial uses; however the current owner have creative control of their gardens.
Persons associated with the garden include General George Cowles and members of the Cowles family (former owners, 1803-1907); Theodate Pope Riddle (former owner, circa 1902-?); Mrs. Marjorie L. Sage (former owner, circa 1940-1963); James McA. Thomson (former owner, 1963-circa 1992).
Image caption at the Connecticut Historical Society incorrectly identifies the house as having been built by General George Cowles as a wedding gift to his daughter. The home was built by the parents of General Cowles as a wedding gift to him.
The folder includes worksheets and write-ups of the property's history.
This property is featured in "Farmington, Connecticut: the Village of Beautiful Homes." published by the Farmington Historical Society; "The Architectural Treasures of Early America - Homes of New York and Connecticut." [exact title unkown]; "The Golden Treasure of Early American Houses." by Richard Pratt published by Hawthorn Books, inc., 1967; "Great Houses of New England." by Roderic H. Blackburn published by Rizzoli, 2008; "Country Life" magazine published in March 1973 (English edition); "Colonial Home" magazine published in April 1992