United States of America, New York, Nassau, Old Westbury
Boxwood Farm (Old Westbury, New York)
1955, ca 1968, 2014-2015
The 1922 Georgian Revival house and 29 acre estate (first called Gay Gardens) has gardens designed in different eras by Ellen Biddle Shipman in the 1920's, Umberto Innocenti in the 1930's and 1940's, and most recently by Oehme van Sweden starting in the late 1990's. Shipman designed a sunken grass garden surrounded by a yew hedge off to the side of the house with formal flower beds with yew or beech hedges, and more flower beds on the terraces. She placed a square stone reflecting pool in the center of the sunken garden. In the 1930's Innocenti moved the stairs to the sunken garden and removed Shipman's pool, adding a lozenge-shaped pool beyond the sunken garden with an open sightline from the house. He also designed an oval swimming pool with plantings (later replaced by a rectangular pool). In the 1940's Innocenti & Webel redesigned the front courtyard and surrounded the new tennis court with beech trees. Under the current owners landscape architects Oehme van Sweden designed a large pond with native plants and a recirculating water system that includes a waterfall and stream, added white pebbles to the driveway and pleached the beech around the tennis court.
Boxwood Farm has four acres of lawn interspersed with mature maple and other trees and huge flower beds. Perennial flowers include Russian sage, buddleia, lavender, ligularia, liriope, echinacea, penstemon, rudbeckia, Joe Pye weed and ornamental grasses; shrubs include boxwood, hydrangea, azalea, viburnum and knock-out roses. Ficus trees are planted out each year near an antique wall fountain in a small garden room of the patio, then dug up and kept in the greenhouse over the winter. An adjoining small room has a sundial, stellata magnolia and hydrangea. The lawn to the south of the house is intersected with stone pathways that divide it into diamond and triangular patches. Numerous stone planters are filled with lavender and agapanthus or white lantana in the summer and violas in cooler seasons. There is a raised garden surrounded by a picket fence set on a low dry stone wall that has a wooden grape arbor and boxwood parterres filled with white tulips, dwarf alliums, cardinal flowers, salvia, apple mint and strawberry plants, depending on the season. In a nearby 15 by 21 foot raised garden vegetables and flowers for cutting are grown. Another vegetable and fruit garden was added in the service area, once the site of another house on the original 179 acre estate. Woodland gardens border the driveway and a bridle paths recalls the polo matches held on the property in a previous era.
Persons associated with the garden include Hugh A. Murray and estate of (former owners, 1922-circa 1935); Catherine B. Hickox (former owner, 1935-1970); Charles V. Hickox and estate of (former owners, 1970-circa 1982); Paul Guez (former owner, circa 1982-circa 1989); GOV agencies (former owners, circa 1990-1997); Julian Peabody (1881-1935) of Peabody, Wilson & Brown (architect, 1922); Ellen Biddle Shipman (1869-1950) (landscape architect, 1922); Umberto Innocenti (1895-1968) (landscape architect, 1937- ); Innocenti & Webel (landscape architects, 1946-1970); Charles A. Parr (superintendent, late 1930's-1950's); Bradley Delahanty (architect of pool house, 1947-1950); Oehme, van Sweden & Associates (landscape architects, 1998- ); James Ahern (estate manager, 2008- ).
The folder includes worksheets, landscape architect's drawings and additional images.
This property is featured in The Gardens of Ellen Biddle Shipman by Judith Tankard, Sagapress/Abrams, 1996; Long Island's Prominent North Shore Families: Their Estates & Country Homes Volume I by Raymond E. & Judith A. Spinzia; Planning & Planting the Home Garden by Pauline Murray, Orange Judd Publishing, 1932; Long Island Country Houses and Their Architects 1860-1940 edited by Robert B. MacKay, Anthony Baker and Carol A. Traynor, published by Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities in association with W.W. Norton & Company, 1997; Long Island's Gold Coast by Paul J. Mateyunas, Arcadia Publishing, 2012