United States of America, Connecticut, Fairfield, Fairfield
The Downings' Cutting Garden (Fairfield, Connecticut)
Located on approximately two acres, the Downings' Cutting Garden was installed in 2006. When the owners originally purchased their property in 1999, a small cutting and vegetable garden existed, but it was located in a low lying area that was consistently wet due to a spring that flows beneath the property which caused the plantings to suffer from root rot during the summer. The existing garage was razed and replaced by new garage/guesthouse, designed by Vicente-Burin Architects built in keeping with the Colonial Revival style of the main house. A garden was designed at the back of the new garage and guesthouse, also referred to as the "barn." They also decided to include an adjacent potting shed to service the garden. Anticipating interference from deer, a wooden fence and boxwood hedge was constructed to deter them. The original intent of the garden was to provide the owner with cutting flowers for the home and herbs for cooking. When the owner created the plant list, the main priority was to offer visual interest and also to ensure that cuttings would last the entire growing season.
The owner wanted a relatively low maintenance garden comprised mostly of perennials, but with space for bulbs and annuals. The original design of the garden was created by Wilbur and King and contained mostly perennials and flowering shrubs. In the fall of 2008, Anne Lees and Martha McKeon of Fleur de Lees Garden Design redesigned the garden to provide more structure and organization. A parterre garden using Dwarf Boxwood was created around the antique urn in the center of the garden to serve as the focal point. The outer beds served as a backdrop for the parterre. The outer beds were grounded with balled boxwood to echo the design of the parterre. The redesign brought balance to the garden through symmetry and repetition.
Edward Murphy (former owner, 1933-); John Toth (gardener, 1933); Christopher Kimball (former owners, 1983-1991); Barbara Ryan and Al Fillipone (former owners, 1991-1999); Vicente-Burin (architect of guesthouse/garage/"barn", 2004); Wilbur and King (landscape designer, 2006); Fleur De Lees (garden designers, 2008).
The folder includes garden design plans and photocopies of publications.
Garden has been featured in "At Home Magazine" (Moffly Publications, May/June 2008)
Garden has been featured "In the Garden" by Stacy Bass (Melcher Media, 2012)