The Cummer Museum of Art’s English Garden

 
The English Garden © Mick Hales, Greenworld Pictures Inc

The English Garden © Mick Hales, Greenworld Pictures Inc

I decided to visit the Cummer Museum in Jacksonville, Flordia, after seeing a photograph of it’s lovely, river-backed, Italian garden with great vine-covered archways and cypress.  What I didn’t know about until that day’s stroll through the garden was that there are actually two main gardens at the Cummer. Today, we’ll look at The English Garden which was designed in 1910.  According to the museum, “The first garden at The Cummer residence was planted in 1903 and followed an English-style garden plan. Wisteria, ‘Rêve d’Or’ roses, and Lily of the Nile abounded in this garden.  Its aspect changed dramatically around 1925. Mrs. Cummer had heard a lecture by noted botanist Dr. H. Harold Hume about the beauty of the azalea, a flower not yet known in Florida horticultural circles. Intrigued by Dr. Hume’s descriptions, Mrs. Cummer traveled to Charleston Gardens to see the azaleas in bloom. Delighted with this discovery, she returned to plant hundreds of these new flowers, which have since transformed Florida’s gardens and parks.”

the English Garden @ Britt Conley

the English Garden @ Britt Conley

The Engling Garden is a lovely intimate space full of perennials, roses, camellias and pansys to name a few.  Despite it being Winter, I was thrilled to see that anything was blooming!  However, it’s even more visually alluring in the Spring and Summer with blooms and trees which The Cummer lists as: petunias, pansies, snapdragons, delphinium as well as climbing roses, crepe myrtles, sasanqua, camellia japonica, and holly trees.

Boxwood walk © Britt Conley

Boxwood walk © Britt Conley

The main boxwood walkway brings us through the heart of the garden.  This is a strolling space that becons a journey deeper into the garden, where a wisteria pergola, adorned with Azalea and hydrangea beds,  pulls us through to the other side’s view of the St. Johns River.  It was for this pergola and one other arbor that Ninah Cummer first referred to the garden as the wisteria garden and then the azalea garden before it became the English Garden we know today.  As you can see the walkthrough is inviting and the river air is spectacular!

One of the Wisteria overhangs © Britt Conley

One of the Wisteria overhangs © Britt Conley

Beautifully set on the retaining wall in 1921 is the mosaic fountain by none other than the Olmstead firm, a famous New England garden landscaping firm.  The fountain itself was designed by William Mercer.   I love the tones between the cement, the metallic circumference and the lovely aqua inlay.  Just a whimsical masterpiece!

The Mercer fountain © Britt Conley

The Mercer fountain © Britt Conley

Centering the garden space is a charming sculpture of two children in a one-armed embrace.  The original, according The Cummer Museum is at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.  (One of the Bee’s favorite museums I might add).

The Fountain © Britt Conley

The Fountain © Britt Conley

I shall be back to The Cummer if I can swing it this Spring.  The place will be even dreamier then.  Even in the middle of winter it was full of charm, that will assuredly turn to disbelief when we see it in full bloom!

Roses © Britt Conley

Roses © Britt Conley

The roses are lovely.  Each is romatically perched in sculpted pedistal urns, creating the feel of an outdoor wedding.  I haven’t seen this technique before.  I’d love to include it in a garden  of my own some day.   There were flowers of every color but the firewitch (below) really caught my eye!

Firewitch © Britt Conley

Firewitch © Britt Conley

What you see here are just a handful of what can be seen in the Spring.  I am determined to head back and rediscover the flora here in it’s finest hour.

English Garden flowers © Britt Conley

English Garden flowers © Britt Conley

I hope you all had a great weekend and were able to keep warm.  I took a rare couple of days off to organize! Tomorrow, we’ll be visiting a fantastically fun topiary garden that ‘garden parties’ all year round!

‘Til Tomrrow!

Britt : )

Related posts:

  1. The Cummer Museum’s Italian Garden.
  2. Botanical art from the 1500′s on view at The Cummer Museum and Gardens through January 10, 2010.
  3. Part III: The Stone Garden at Dumbarton Oaks
  4. Part III: Maymont’s Italian Garden.
  5. Part III: The Rose Garden at Brookside Gardens.

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