United States of America, District of Columbia, Washington
Les Ormes (Washington, D.C.)
Les Ormes (The Elms) was the home of George and Marguerite Skirvin Tyson and Mrs. Tyson's sister, the well-known Washington hostess and political figure Perle Skirvin Mesta. Perry Wheeler created the landscape design for the property, which was situated in the hilly Spring Valley section of the city, and gave it a French flavor in keeping with the style of the house and the taste of its owners. Taking advantage of the natural slope of the site, Wheeler designed a series of terraces which incorporated existing flowering trees amidst flagstone surfaces and gravel walkways. Seating areas were placed throughout, while spring bulbs--Thalia daffodils, tulips, and grape hyacinths--provided abundant color. At one end of the house the terraces descended to a fountain pool and summer house punctuated with large holly standards. The property was sold in the early 1960s to then Vice-President Lyndon Baines Johnson and Ladybird Johnson. The Tyson-Mesta menage moved to an apartment for which Perry Wheeler did one design, for a terrace roof, included in the Archives of American Gardens as series DC120.
Persons associated with the garden include Perry H. Wheeler (landscape architect, 1955-1956); Perle Skirvin Mesta (former owner, ca. 1955-1961); and George and Marguerite Skirvin Tyson (former owners, ca. 1955-1961); and Lyndon Baines and Ladybird Johnson (former owners, ca. 1961-1963).
The folders include worksheets, magazine and newspaper clippings, plans (drawings), and other information.
Garden has been featured in Betty Beale, "Handsome Mesta-Tyson Home to Have Housewarming Today," The Sunday Star (February 5, 1956)
Garden has been featured in Mary V. R. Thayer, "Guests at Tregaron Take Peek at Russian Treasures," The Washington Post and Times Herald ( May 6, 1956), F5