Gardens at The Fells
The Old Garden
Construction of the Old Garden begun in 1909 and was Clarence’s first attempt to put his newly acquired knowledge from a Landscape Architecture course at Harvard to work. The garden was surrounded by formal high walls and built on a series of cross axes with three separately planted rooms. Over the years, its character completely changed from the original sun-drenched perennial-filled formal axial layout to a cool and shady overgrown area. In 2009 it underwent a remarkable restoration and now more closely resembles the clean north-south and east-west axes first created by Hay.
The Perennial Border
Located on the west side of the house is a one hundred-foot-long stone wall built in 1926 that provides structure for a deep bed of early-to-late summer blooms, including iris, delphinium, hollyhocks, phlox, and colorful annuals and biennials.
The Rose Terrace
During 1924-1927, high stonewalls and a cascading fountain were erected on the south side of the house. Formal beds of roses under planted with fragrant annuals were Alice’s favorite. Climbing hydrangea, espaliered pears, wisteria, and some original roses remain today.
The Rock Garden
In 1929, Clarence and a crew of skilled stonemasons began construction of a large rock garden on the south-facing hillside toward the lake. They set lichen-speckled rocks to appear as if they had always been there, and planted hundreds of alpine and rock garden plants to give the impression of a rocky New Hampshire hillside. A stream flows the length of the rock garden; at its center is a lily pool surrounded by azaleas and Japanese iris. Paths meander throughout the garden, and alongside them crevices and raised islands provide growing conditions for the more demanding rock garden plants. Today the hardiest of the original plants remain, and many more have been added.
The Heather Bed
The Heather Bed was originally planted in 1931 under the direction of Clarence Hay. It survived for several decades until in 2005, three days of intense cold followed by three days of 90 degree temperatures killed 95% of the bed. The dead heather was removed, paths added and the bed replanted in 2007-08 with 20 varieties of heather, utilizing a generous grant from the Morton Foundation and volunteer assistance from the Northeast Heather Society.
The Pebble Court
The Pebble Court, designed by Architect Prentice Sanger, was added in 1915 to facilitate the entry of motor cars to the new front door on the east side of the House. A stonewalled entry court planted with yew hedges, summer-blooming trees, shrubs and vines gave a gracious welcome to the visitor. It is also home to the beautiful “Hebe,” cup-bearer to the Gods.