United States of America, Massachusetts, Nantucket County, Nantucket
Innisfree (Nantucket, Massachusetts)
Innisfree is a beach property on a spit of land between marshes and ocean bay that presented the owner, a life-long gardener, with the challenge of creating a garden in sand. The shingled house with large columns supporting the porch roof was designed in 1990 by architect Robert Venturi, but the gardens on the ten and two-third acres property were inspired by Frank Cabot, founder of the Nature Conservancy, and George Schoellkopf. The first steps taken stabilized the planting areas by filling stone lined trenches with potting soil. The featured rectangular garden is a secret, sunken garden, called a ha-ha after the English practice of digging a steep drop-off along one side of a garden to keep out the livestock, here deer and rabbits. The sunken elevation provides protection from the salt spray and drying winds of the oceanside location so more delicate plants can be grown there. Other garden areas feature native plants that are hardier, and an herb garden is protected by a clipped privet hedge.
Kiwi, trumpet and grape vines grow on a pergola that shades a seating area with a table made from a huge millstone. Another large stone feature is an olive grinding stone re-purposed as a fountain, with three giant frog sculptures playing instruments nearby. Other millstones and granite boulders are set throughout Innisfree, as are antique ironwork features. A garden between the house and the ha-ha is filled with colorful summer flowers and bordered by rugosa roses.
Persons associated with the garden include: Robert Venturi (architect, 1990-1991); George Schoellkopf (horticulturist); and Julie Jordin (horticulturist and garden designer, 1996).
The folder includes worksheets, photocopies of articles and other information.
This property is featured in "Above the Surf," by Stephen Orr, published in Veranda, May/June 2011; and in "More than Meets the Eye," by Elvin McDonald, published in Better Homes and Gardens, November 2003