Friday, July 2, 2010

Just to Die For


Yes, I’m sure you’ve felt exactly that way seeing something just so exquisite and made with so much care and workmanship.

That’s exactly how I feel visiting the Hillwood estate and museum, really a private home that is so lovingly preserved and well cared for and the scale of the place is just so right. I felt like I was invited to visit a magical and private world only a few can enjoy.
This special place that Marjorie Post endowed to the public is one of those places just to die for…I mean how many homes have a private dacha, a Japanese garden, a rose parterre, a formal water garden all wrapped up into a beautiful place for everyone to enjoy, now we can do just that – thank you Marjorie for your gift.

Lets start our tour at the front entry just like Marjorie, who would greet her guests, along with Hermes. He graces the boxed and parterre linked lawn shaped into hearts all pointing the god of love.


Just off to the right side is the formal parterre and water garden, I love all the attention to detail, the perfect symmetry, and the red edge begonias for a hint of color, something that works just so well in this type of home….sometimes when you expect to see something and you actually get it, its like getting your choice of favorite ice cream flavors and enjoying every moment, yum!


Don’t you just love her gaze?


The central water feature with these whimsical cherubs riding on spirited dolphins steal the show and add sweet sounds to this enclosed room.



Beauty and inspiring statuary graciously sit in the garden as if they command to be placed in just the right spot for all to admire.


Further down a shaded walkway with mature trees you finally see a clearing with a tall centerpiece surrounded by a heavenly scented rose garden and rounded pergola.



This is Marjory’s favorite spot and the centerpiece is actually her gravestone. I couldn’t think of a better place to enjoy eternity enjoying one’s roses.


The estate is filled with many large lawn areas with vistas to distant views and mature tree lines. Immediate details include many annuals, statuary and potted features with begonias and impatiens.


This pagoda marks the entrance to the Japanese garden which is a series of stepped gardens that have many vistas  and unique plantings like maples and ornamentals that typify this aesthetic. There are many pathways leading to beautifully landscaped areas, lily ponds and water features that are a delight to walk through.






As we walk through the cutting beds, you notice how well cared the beds are by dozens of volunteers that meticulously care for the gardens and the flowers that grace the interiors of the home. You can see the large conservatory in the background which I made an earlier post on the exotics that were grown inside.


Here’s a back view of the the home with this gorgeous Medinilla Magnifica on the Veranda. The exquisite interior houses her treasures of fine French and Russian collections from her extensive travels and eye for beautiful objects.



Even though one is not allowed to take pictures of the museum pieces indoors.  The photo below shows one of her prized water fountains done in gold leaf and is on the side wall of the home, the only treasure I was able to photograph along with the gardens.


One last photo of Diana, which graces the water garden at the back end of the green wall and makes a focal point to the garden. The red begonias line the entire wall like red accents and add a little color to this mostly green room.


Isn’t this place just so well done, I’ve really enjoyed my visit here and I hope that you also enjoyed the tour. You’ll just have to visit Hillwood to see the interiors of the home and the treasures, but for me the gardens are the real treasures.

Please come and visit other gardens this Friday at


Avalon's Garden and Mewsings of Garden Cottage Cats said...

Hi Noel, O M G ! How Absolutely, Beautifully Stunning ! You are so right! Just to die for!
What a Wonderful post, Thanks for sharing .... I wouldn't mind spending Eternity there :)
Have a Great 4th ~

Thoughtfully Blended Hearts said...

Thanks so much for taking us with you on this is so fabulous...just breathtaking!!!

Unknown said...

What a stunning garden/s!I can only wish to accomplish something to that scale.

Beth said...

Thanks for the tour, Noel! What a beautiful estate. Great sculptures and love that pool in the garden. The Japanese garden/pond area is lovely too.

Rosie@leavesnbloom said...

wow Noel that's an amazing place to visit. I love the formality in the design. So many photos I could comment on but those water gardens really got my attention.

Seeing all that buxus reminds me that I have to clip mine today!

Have a great holiday weekend :) Rosie

Anonymous said...

A perfect tour, Noel, thanks for taking us along. Your commentary was just right, subtle but glowing, just like this beautiful spot. I love that it is so well maintained, it shows too.

Lona said...

Hi Noel. Oh my what a beautiful place for a visit. Everything is just so gorgeous. I love so many of the statues that grace the gardens. I think my favorite spot would be to walk across the stepping stones through the water in the Japanese garden. The rose garden is so beautiful. That would be a gardeners ideal place to rest with all of that beauty around them. Thank you so much for the tour.
Have a wonderful weekend.

Antique ART Garden said...

fantaabulously-fantastic ! I would have jumped in that center fountain and stayed gazing at everything until the guards threw me out. Statues were a treat,loved all of them, and loved hat this woman is buried in the center of the garden. Would do the same here, but I do believe it is illegal in SC ! take care, Gina

Ellada said...

That was a great tour. Thank you Noel.

Autumn Belle said...

This is truly a beautiful garden with breathtaking views. I do so enjoy my visit here and dream that one day I can step foot on this awesome place too.

Anonymous said...

OMG, Noel, I can't believe I've been totally unaware of this place. When I get back to Gettysburg (70 miles from DC) for teaching in August, I'm going to put a visit to this garden high on my to-do list. Thank you, thank you, thank you for telling me about this treasure. -Jean

Wendy said...

wow, that pond with the stepping stones is amazing.

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