Edith Wharton’s The Mount Grounds and Gardens

(This post The Mount Grounds and Gardens has been edited and updated in 2022)

As I’ve previously written, I spent the holiday weekend in Lenox, MA. The highlight of the trip was the day spent at The Mount, Edith Wharton’s summer home. It’s hard to know where to focus and I took nearly 90 photos!  I think what I ended up with were the best images of this glorious property. The current owners, The Edith Wharton Restoration, purchased the estate in 1980, but it wasn’t until 1997 that they were able to start the extensive work necessary to return the buildings and grounds back to their original glory. The work is ongoing.

The grounds of the estate have been restored to their former glory – including the drive in (which was originally designed by Edith Wharton’s niece, noted landscape architect Beatrix Farrand), walking trails and natural wooded areas, and most notably, the formal gardens and terraces behind the home. These formal gardens were designed by Edith Wharton herself. She based her designs on the European influences of her youth, most notably the Italian style, which suggested that the gardens should be laid out as rooms and in concert with the home and the natural landscape.

Here is the view from the veranda in the rear of the house. The steps down from the terrace transition to a series of terraced lawns leading down the hill towards the wooded areas and looking out towards the mountains.

Edith Wharton The Mount grounds allee

 

Looking left down the limestone “hallway”, one takes in the French inspired flower garden.

Edith Wharton The Mount grounds French Garden Fountain path view

 

A series of planting beds surrounds a small pool with Edith Wharton’s dolphin fountain.

And looking back towards the house.

While this garden was quite lovely, I was completely entranced by the Italiante garden to the left of the house. The image below is looking towards this classic walled “private” garden from the back steps.

Looking towards the secret garden – which is on a lower elevation in order to emphasize the private nature of the space.

 

 

The ivy covered stone walls included a series of niches with darling little wooden benches. The color palette is entirely white (astilbe) and green. So simple, lush and classic! Edith installed this garden with the proceeds from her novel “The House of Mirth”. Much of this garden had to be restored or replaced in the renovation – worth every penny! I didn’t want to leave.

The rock-pile fountain (this is a reconstructed version of the original) is as charming as the formal dolphin fountain in the French garden.

Edith Wharton The Mount grounds italian garden fountain

If you’re a lover of symmetry (as I am), this is just so satisfying.

Edith Wharton The Mount grounds Italian Garden overview

 

Edith Wharton The Mount grounds Italian Garden

On the outside looking in (note the view of the house through the arch).

Edith Wharton The Mount grounds through the stone wall

And back towards the house.

The garden restoration projects began in the early 2000’s. The landscape architect is Childs Associates in Boston; garden restoration by Webster-Ingersoll in Sheffield, MA.

Some other details:

Edith Wharton The Mount grounds rear left from gardens closeup

Edith Wharton The Mount Exterior rear lower stone wall

Edith Wharton The Mount Exterior rear cupola

 

Edith Wharton The Mount Exterior rear terrace striped awning

Edith Wharton The Mount Exterior rear terrace

After a long day of drooling and taking photos, it was nice a enjoy a little lunch on the terrace.

Please also enjoy: 

The Mount Entrance and Gallery

The Mount Drawing Room, Dining Room and Butler’s Pantry

The Mount Library and Den

The Mount Bedroom, Boudoir and Bath

15 thoughts on “Edith Wharton’s The Mount Grounds and Gardens”

  1. Oh my goodness, this is absolutely breathtaking. Thank you for sharing this, it truly is stunning. What a wonderful place to relax and contemplate the glory of nature. Your photos are beautiful. Kathy

  2. I loved walking with you through the gardens. Your photos are just beautiful. Thank you for sharing them with us.

  3. When we have the opportunity to walk grounds that have a history attached — it can bring all our creative senses alive!

    What a great bunch of shots!

    TTFN~~Claudia ♥

  4. Linda, first of all, I love Edith Wharton's writing, and I also love your photos of her home! Oh, it is GORGEOUS. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I feel as if I have been out on a lovely walk with you. This is truly an amazing estate.

    Happy Outdoor Wednesday…

    XO,

    Sheila 🙂

  5. I feel like I've been there now. I don't have to go! that one shot looking over the mts or hlls – that' fabulous. your pictures look wonderful.

  6. Beautiful!!! I get the impression that the focus of the landscaping was on the front – did the house back onto woods? I was just reading about house placement (on a lot) from a gardeners perspective, and it is just about the opposite of what architects recommend – because the gardeners want the glory of the lot to be in the front, where the landscaping can be enjoyed by all.

  7. The gardens are magnificent! And it seems you had them all to yourself -I spotted only one single person somewhere there in the distance.

  8. Thank you so much for this post! I have been wanting to go for years and you have inspired me even more to make the effort to go. My daughters would love it too. The Astible flowers around the courtyard really stand out and look beautiful. I am going to plant them in my own garden. Looking forward to seeing the other pictures of the building exterior and interior.

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