Highlights from the Gardens and Grounds
History and Today
After Boscobel mansion was dramatically rescued from demolition on its original site in Montrose, dismantled, and stored in various barns in the local area, the next challenge Boscobel Restoration, Inc. faced was to find a suitable site on which they could restore the structures. In 1956, when a superb 16-acre tract of land came on the market in Garrison, the organization made a great effort to raise the necessary funds to buy the land and jumped at the opportunity to purchase it. This property was purchased in May of that year and the restoration of Boscobel mansion began nearly a year later in March 1957.
In 1959, Boscobel’s great benefactor, Lila Acheson Wallace, brought in the highly-regarded (and now historically-significant) landscape architectural firm of Innocenti and Webel to provide an appropriate historic setting for the newly-restored house. Important to note is that though many of the types of trees and plants used in the design would have been found on the original property in Montrose, the overall plan implemented at the Boscobel site in Garrison bears little resemblance to the original site, which was more of a working farm. Richard Webel proposed and implemented a landscape in the Beaux-Arts and Neoclassical styles popular from the early 1900s to the mid-1920s. This style was meant to provide an appropriate setting to complement the formal architecture of the house. Giant maples, mature shrubs and an entire apple orchard were trucked in on flatbeds to give the feeling that the landscape had always been there. The installation of the entry driveway and forecourt, formal rose garden, brick walks and weeping cherry trees were also completed a short time before the first public opening in May 1961.
In the mid-1990s the grounds were expanded to include an additional 29 acres of woodlands. This addition was thanks to the dedicated efforts of Frances Stevens Reese (1917-2003), a longtime member of Boscobel’s board of directors and a champion of land conservation in the Hudson Valley. The 1.25 mile scenic trail through the woodlands, which is named after her, was opened in 1997.
Today, visitors to Boscobel are encouraged to explore the beautiful gardens and grounds that make up the 60-acre property. Follow the brick path to the fragrant herb garden, continue into the elegant rose garden or out to the front lawn, with its spectacular views of the Hudson River Valley. Be sure to walk out to the Belvedere, an overlook built into the bluff, or to the gazebo along the woodland trail to see the most picturesque views of the Hudson River.
Boscobel offers environmental, garden and outdoor events throughout the year. For more information see Calendar of Events.