Immersion: Living and Learning in an Olmsted Garden
A magnificent celebration of a great American garden, restored to its Italianate glory and lovingly documented in new photographs
When Nola Anderson and her husband purchased The Chimneys in 1991, the estate’s Olmsted gardens had been neglected for more than 40 years—and she had never gardened a day in her life. The restoration and renewal of these historic seaside gardens became Anderson’s three-decade, hands-on personal passion. InImmersionshe recounts her inspirational journey from a naive amateur and garden owner to a Botanical Latin–slinging garden creator. Her personal story is filled with loving anecdotes, instructional experiences and serendipitous tips, all sumptuously illustrated with images by celebrated photographer Clint Clemens.
Between 1902 and 1914 Boston financier Gardiner Martin Lane and his wife, Emma, collaborated with Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. to create an Italianate garden. From the ocean bluff a series of garden terraces flow sequentially in an architectural response to the sloping topography. The topmost Water Terrace includes a rose-covered pergola, a beach-view shelter and a stunning water feature inspired by Italy’s famed 16th-century Villa Lante. From this elevation, a succession of granite steps descends through the shady Overlook Terrace, the Lavender Terrace, the all-white Tea Terrace, the Vegetable Garden, the Crabapple Allee and, finally, the luxuriant Rose Garden.
In the early 20th century, The Chimneys gardens were acclaimed in numerous books and magazines. Today, they are once again the centerpiece of the estate and a vibrant example of horticultural elegance.