Page 1


Photography / Design – Siena Scarff Design Writing / Research – JoAnn Robinson, Ann Uppington Horticulture – Stan Kozak, Taylor Johnston


On Friday, December 30, 1898, Willard T. Sears noted in his diary that Mrs. J. L. Gardner changed her mind about building her museum at her home on Beacon Street. She informed him that she had purchased a plot of land on the Back Bay Fens for her museum. At the end of March, she reviewed Sears’s sketches and made changes in the arches that made the Courtyard wider and the side corridors, now known as the East and West Cloisters, narrower. By April, she had the entrance of Fenway Court relocated to coincide with the center of the Courtyard. Her plans for the Courtyard preceded the design of the galleries that surround it. The centrality of the Courtyard to the life of the Museum continues today and Gardner’s practice of filling the space with plants and flowers has been continued by all Museum directors. Each has taken a special interest in the design of Courtyard displays. Since 2007, the Landscape Department has overseen the designs in consultation with the Museum’s horticulture staff. By 2013, eight seasonal displays had been created and were repeated in each calendar year. The images and plans in this book document the annual cycle of Courtyard designs and is a framework for the horticultural team throughout the year.


MIDWINTER TROPICS

January-February


Masses of tropical and subtropical plants fill the Courtyard with many shades of green punctuated by bright color. Orchids abound, and the Courtyard is spilling over with plants that include a variety of leaf textures and patterns: Norfolk Island pines, tree ferns, large fishtail palms, as well as smaller fan palms, areca palms, and ferns. Early images of the Courtyard show the profusion of plants placed by Isabella Stewart Gardner that filled the north side of the Courtyard and created a network of green that obscured visitor views. Small trees and tall palms anchored Courtyard corners and many smaller plants lined the paths and surrounded the mosaic. The Courtyard was revealed to visitors from the surrounding cloisters. Today, this luxuriant atmosphere is recreated annually in the first display of the New Year.


PALETTE

PROPORTION

Colored dots are used to indicate the palette and color proportions for each Courtyard display.

Red Streak Orchid, x Phaiocalanthe Kryptonite ‘Red Streak’

Yellow Cymbidium, Cymbidium x hybrida Yellow Flowering Maple, Abutilon x Luteus

White Flowering Maple, Abutilon ‘White’

Lady’s Slipper Orchid, Paphiopedilum complex hybrids

Forest Lily, Veltheimia bracteata


Red Streak Orchid

Red Streak is a hybrid of a orchid named for Lady Tankerville, who grew it in her London greenhouses around 1800. The hybrid was created by crossing Phaius tankervilleae with Calanthe ‘Rozel’. Both are easy-to-grow orchids that come from Southeast Asia. Calanthes orchid were popular in Victorian England, but are rare today. Red Streak requires shade and is a terrestrial orchid, meaning that grows on the ground, unlike the aerial orchids that live in trees or on rocks. In the spring many flower spikes appear; each spike produces as many as 15-25 flowers that can last for two months. Red Streak was created in Florida by a fourth generation orchid grower, George Hausermann.


Red Streak Orchid, x Phaiocalanthe Kryptonite ‘Red Streak’


Yellow Cymbidium

Cymbidiums are large plants with graceful sprays of flowers that prefer cool conditions. Many cymbidiums originated in China and Japan where they were cultivated for centuries by the nobility. Throughout Chinese history the cymbidium has been a symbol of virtuosity and friendship, and is known for its elegance and sweet fragrance. Around 500 BC, Confucius compared the Asian cymbidium flower to the virtues of education: “A solitary orchid stands adorning the side of a mountain, perfuming the air, even in the absence of appreciation. A true scholar, learned in morality and philosophy, is always a gentleman, even in the absence of wealth.� According to the Royal Horticultural Society, the hybrids grown today come from only seven or eight species, even though there are 40 to 50 known species. The first written work on orchids was published in China in 1233 AD and listed 22 orchids with descriptions.


Yellow Cymbidium, Cymbidium x hybrida


Forest Lily

The spectacular blooms of these South African bulbs tower over the unusual shiny green leaves. The large, fleshy bulbs produce pink flower heads tinged with green on stems that are often two feet high. Other colors that are less common are available, from a lemon-yellow variety known as Lemon Flame to cream and white. In South Africa, the bulbs bloom from July to October. Their native habitat is forested, rocky slopes in the Cape provinces. The demand for these bulbs is increasing and since propagation takes time, bulbs are somewhat rare. They have been cultivated in greenhouses in the north for over two centuries.


Forest Lily, Veltheimia bracteata


Lady’s Slipper Orchid

The original Paphiopedilum or “paphs” (as these orchids are known in horticultural circles) are terrestrial orchids that typically grow on tropical forest floors in Southeast Asia. The complex hybrid orchids that we grow have been propagated in the Gardner greenhouses for several decades – some are yellow, some are green and yellow, and most are spotted. Commonly known as lady’s slipper orchids, due to the bulbous pouch of the flower, they reliably come into bloom in late winter and early spring. The pouch holds nectar that attracts insects that will carry pollen from flower to flower. Their name is a combination of Paphos, the Greek city on the island of Cyprus that was sacred to the god Aphrodite, and the Greek word for slipper, pedilon.


Lady’s Slipper Orchid, Paphiopedilum spp.


White Flowering Maple

The flowering maple is a member of the mallow family and grows to a height of five feet. The plant will flower almost continuously in the Courtyard even in winter, producing many bell-shaped flowers. In the wild, flowering maple grows on the forest edges of Central and South America and is a favorite nectar source for hummingbirds. Flowering maple was introduced into Victorian conservatories in the 1800s and thrives in partial shade and dappled light.


White Flowering Maple, Abutilon x hybridum ’White’


COURTYARD PLAN

Color-coded circles indicate the desired color palette and general placement of plants in the display. In addition to highlighting featured plants, each chapter in this book includes a diagram of the Courtyard display. The colored circles show the color pallet for the display and where the plants are in the Courtyard.

Red Streak Orchid, x Phaiocalanthe Kryptonite ‘Red Streak’

Lady’s Slipper Orchid, Paphiopedilum complex hybrids

Yellow Cymbidium, Cymbidium x hybrida

Yellow flowering Maple, Abutilon x Luteus

Forest Lily, Veltheimia bracteata

White Flowering Maple, Abutilon x hybridum ‘White’


First Floor

1/4” = 1’-0”

+22” aff

+22” aff

+6” aff

+6 aff

+22” aff

0” ff

+0” aff

+0” aff

-14”

-15” +0” aff

+0” aff

+16” aff

+0” aff

+0” aff

-17” -17”

-17” -18”

+22” aff

-17”

-6” bff

-6” bff -17”

+22” aff

+14” aff

-15”

-13”

+2” aff

-10”

-13”

+0” aff

+0” aff

+22” aff

0” ff

0” ff

+22” aff

+0” aff

+0” aff

-10”

-13”

+14” aff

-17”

-17”

+10” aff

-6” bff

-6” bff -17”

+14” aff

-18” -18”

-18” -22”

-16” -16”

+0” aff

+0” aff

+0” aff

+0” aff

+0” aff

0” ff

+0” aff

-14” -17” +0” aff

+0” aff

-17”

-14” -16”

+18” aff

-18”

+5” aff

+5” aff

+10” aff

-15”

+22” aff

+17” aff

+13” aff

+13” aff

+17” aff

+22” aff

+22” aff


ORCHIDS

February-March


Tall, majestic calla lilies surround the courtyard mosaic set off by unusual orchids, including exotic lady’s slippers with maroon and green flowers; leopard orchids sporting many clusters of yellow flowers with brown spots; and large, showy tankerville or nun’s orchids that have been grown in our greenhouses since Isabella Stewart Gardner’s time. Orchids on display are native to Southeast Asia and Africa. Leopard orchids are epiphytes, which means they grow on other plants, relying on them for physical support, but derive water and nutrients from rain and the air. They can be seen growing in trees throughout Africa. Phaius tankervilleae is known as the nun’s orchid because each bloom has a hood. The variety we grow is ‘Rabin’s Raven’, which is descended from the original species imported to England in the late 1700s.


PALETTE

PROPORTION

Red Streak Orchid, x Phaiocalanthe Kryptonite ‘Red Streak’

Rabin’s Raven Orchid, Phaius tankervilleae ‘Rabin’s Raven’ Lady’s Slipper Orchid, Paphiopedilum spp.

Leopard Orchid, Ansellia Africana Lady’s Slipper Orchid, Paphiopedilum complex hybrids

Cymbidium, Cymbidium x hybrid

Calla Lily, Zantedeschia aethiopica


“Calanthes orchid were popular in Victorian England, but are rare today.�


Red Streak Orchid, x Phaiocalanthe Kryptonite ‘Red Streak’


Rabin’s Raven Orchid

Rabin’s Raven is a stunning plant with chocolate brown flowers that show white on their backside. Blooming in February in our greenhouses, these terrestrial orchids are also known as the nun’s orchid or nun’s cap for the shape of their flowers. The stems often display 15 to 25 flowers and can reach four feet tall. This is another orchid in the Phaius family. They descend from the orchids grown during the early 1800s by Emma Bennet, wife of the Fourth Earl of Tankerville, at Mount Felix, their large estate on the Thames River. Since the orchids tolerate some shade and a wider range of temperatures than most, they can be grown in homes; but high humidity environments are preferred.


Rabin’s Raven Orchid, Phaius tankervilleae ‘Rabin’s Raven’


Leopard Orchid

Leopard orchids live in crotches and crevices on the branches of trees growing along the coasts of Africa. This means that they are epiphytes or “air� orchids, growing without soil. Spending their life high above ground, they rely on a fungus known as mycorrhiza for sustenance and in turn the plants provide sugar to the fungus so it can continue to grow, thus a symbiotic relationship that makes life possible. The brown spotted flowers that give the orchid its name have a faint lemon scent that attracts bees for pollination. It is also easy to imagine that the coloring and form of the flowers mimic the bees. These striking plants, like many orchids, hold their blooms a long time.


Leopard Orchid, Ansellia africana


Cymbidium

Cymbidiums are large plants with graceful sprays of flowers that prefer cool conditions. Many cymbidiums originated in China and Japan where they were cultivated for centuries by the nobility. Throughout Chinese history the cymbidium has been a symbol of virtuosity and friendship, and is known for its elegance and sweet fragrance. Around 500 BC, Confucius compared the Asian cymbidium flower to the virtues of education: “A solitary orchid stands adorning the side of a mountain, perfuming the air even in the absence of appreciation. A true scholar, learned in morality and philosophy, is always a gentleman, even in the absence of wealth.� According to the Royal Horticultural Society, the hybrids grown today come from only seven or eight species, even though there are 40 to 50 known species. The first written work on orchids was published in China in 1233 AD and listed 22 orchids with descriptions.


Cymbidium, Cymbidium x hybrid


“Commonly known as lady’s slipper orchids, due to the bulbous pouch of the flower, they reliably come into bloom in late winter and early spring.”


Lady’s Slipper Orchid, Paphiopedilum spp.


Lady’s Slipper Orchid

The original Paphiopedilum or “paphs” (as these orchids are known in horticultural circles) are terrestrial orchids that typically grow on tropical forest floors in Southeast Asia. The complex hybrid orchids that we grow have been propagated in the Gardner greenhouses for several decades – some are yellow, some are green and yellow, and most are spotted. Commonly known as lady’s slipper orchids, due to the bulbous pouch of the flower, they reliably come into bloom in late winter and early spring. The pouch holds nectar that attracts insects that will carry pollen from flower to flower. Their name is a combination of Paphos, the Greek city on the island of Cyprus that was sacred to the god Aphrodite, and the Greek word for slipper, pedilon.


Lady’s Slipper Orchid, Paphiopedilum spp.


Calla Lily

Calla lilies are not really lilies. Rather, like our native Jack-in-the-Pulpit, they are actually members of the Arum family. The plants grow from rhizomes, which are underground stems that send up statuesque leaves and flowers high above the soil and grow their roots below. While they can survive dry seasons, they prefer to grow in wet, boggy conditions. Images of them at the Gardner estate, Green Hill, show masses growing in pots near a pool shaded by a roof of woven brushwood. Originally from South Africa, calla lilies have been grown in Europe since the mid-1600s. In the Courtyard at the Museum, the large old plants send up beautiful curled, white flowers standing three feet above the broad, arrow-shaped leaves.


Calla Lily, Zantedeschia aethiopica


COURTYARD PLAN

Rabin’s Raven Orchid, Phaius tankervilleae ‘Rabin’s Raven’

Red Streak Orchid, x Phaiocalanthe Kryptonite ‘Red Streak’

Lady’s Slipper Orchid, Paphiopedilum complex hybrids

Yellow Cymbidium, Cymbidium x hybrid

Leopard Orchid, Ansellia Africana

Calla Lily, Zantedeschia aethiopica


First Floor

1/4” = 1’-0”

+22” aff

+22” aff

+6” aff

+6 aff

+22” aff

0” ff

+0” aff

+0” aff

-14”

-15” +0” aff

+0” aff

+16” aff

+0” aff

+0” aff

-17” -17”

-17” -18”

+22” aff

-17”

-6” bff

-6” bff -17”

+22” aff

+14” aff

-15”

-13”

+2” aff

-10”

-13”

+0” aff

+0” aff

+22” aff

0” ff

0” ff

+22” aff

+0” aff

+0” aff

-10”

-13”

+14” aff

-17”

-17”

+10” aff

-6” bff

-6” bff -17”

+14” aff

-18” -18”

-18” -22”

-16” -16”

+0” aff

+0” aff

+0” aff

+0” aff

+0” aff

0” ff

+0” aff

-14” -17” +0” aff

+0” aff

-17”

-14” -16”

+18” aff

-18”

+5” aff

+5” aff

+10” aff

-15”

+22” aff

+17” aff

+13” aff

+13” aff

+17” aff

+22” aff

+22” aff


HANGING NASTURTIUMS

April


Cascades of blossoming nasturtium vines make a brief but dramatic appearance above the Courtyard, celebrating the arrival of spring at the Gardner Museum (nasturtium blooms last about three weeks). The Hanging Nasturtiums display continues an annual tradition started by Isabella Stewart Gardner, who hung the vines when she opened the Museum to visitors around Easter, marking the valiant return of color to The Fenway. Nasturtium vines (Tropaeolum majus) are planted in late summer and cultivated in the Gardner Museum’s greenhouses throughout the winter to prepare them for their spectacular spring debut. The vines require continuous care in the greenhouses to ensure dramatic length—up to twenty feet—and require up to ten workers when they are carried to be installed in the Museum. The result is a stunning display that cannot be found anywhere else. In the Courtyard garden below, typical companions include azaleas, blue cineraria, ivory and cream daffodils, and cymbidium orchids. Each flower punctuates a green background of ferns, palms, and pines. The Gardner Museum’s signature Clivia miniata are often on display and now include plants with beautiful lemon-colored blossoms from Allen Haskell’s nursery in New Bedford, Massachusetts. These more recent additions complement the orange varieties that have been part of the Museum’s collection for over forty years. Abutilon striatum (an orange flowering maple) are often used to flank the steps and the statues to supplement this amazing exhibit of springtime color. A trip to the Gardner Museum in April is a profound experience for the senses.


PALETTE

PROPORTION

Nasturtium Vines, Tropaeolum majus Orange and Yellow Clivia,Clivia miniata

Cineraria, Pericallis x hybrida

Capistrano Rhododendron, Rhododendron ‘Capistrano’

Bridal Crown Daffodil, Narcissus ‘Bridal Crown’

Jetfire Daffodil, Narcissus cyclamineus ‘Jetfire’


Nasturtium Vines

The nasturtiums we grow today are well traveled. Spanish conquistadors brought nasturtiums home from Peru in the 1550s. From Spain, they spread across Europe. The plants were edible and grown for that purpose. The young seeds and flower buds were picked and used like capers and the flowers and leaves were used in salads. Seeds traveled back to America and in March of 1774, Thomas Jefferson recorded planting nasturtiums in his meadow. The colorful flowers were later grown in his perennial garden. ‘Gleam’ is the variety grown by the Museum for decades. In 1934, the Burpee Seed Company was about to introduce new colors of the double hybrid nasturtium ‘Gleam’ when someone stole $25,000 worth of seeds from an experimental field. The publicity surrounding this theft ensured their popularity.


Nasturtium Vines, Tropaeolum majus


Orange and Yellow Clivia

Our striking orange Clivia miniata plants have been in the Gardner collection for over forty years. We also have rare lemon-flowered clivia; these large specimens were purchased in 2007 from the nursery collection of Allen Haskell in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Haskell was one of the first to grow yellow clivia. While clivia are almost indestructible, they frequently take a long time to bloom, sometimes it is many years before any flowers appear. It is worth waiting for the six- to eight-inch-wide umbels, which are held high on their stalks above the shiny green, strap-like leaves. Clivia are native to Natal, South Africa. They are named for Lady Charlotte Florentia Clive, a granddaughter of Sir Robert Clive who is known for securing India as a British colony. The Kew botanist, John Lindley, named them in 1828 for Lady Clive who was the first person in Great Britain to cultivate and bring clivia to flower.


Orange and Yellow Clivia, Clivia miniata


Cineraria

Known as florist’s cineraria, these plants with their profusion of magenta or blue blooms have been grown in commercial greenhouses since they were hybridized in England in the 1800s. Cineraria were a very popular pot plant in Victorian greenhouses. Today, they appear in late winter or early spring. But cineraria can be troublesome plants to have at home because they prefer temperatures below 65 degrees, somewhat cooler than most Americans prefer. The wild forms of these perennials were probably from the Canary Islands, the Azores, and Madeira. However, many cultivars have been created from so many sources that their history is difficult to unravel. In fact, the original species are only botanical curiosities. New cultivars with slight variations in color and size are available every year.


Cineraria, Pericallis hybrida


Capistrano Rhododendron

Developed by David G. Leach at The Holden Arboretum in Kirtland, Ohio, this new cultivar combines the flower colors of Asian species with the cold hardiness required by American gardeners. Through his forty-year span at the arboretum (1913-1953), Leach became known as an authority on the genus Rhododendron and a pioneer who introduced hardy hybrid rhododendrons. Capistrano, with its large lemon-yellow blooms and dark green leaves, won the top prize for new rhododendrons in 2005 from the American Rhododendron Society. The plant is compact and spreading, reaching about four feet tall and five feet wide.


Capistrano Rhododendron, Rhododendron ‘Capistrano’


Bridal Crown Daffodil

Bridal Crown is a double daffodil, meaning that it has more than one flower per stem. The intensely fragrant blooms have twisted petals surrounding a crumpled inner whorl, with yellow showing in the depths of the flower. This hybrid was one of the first large doubles to be sold. It was developed in 1949 in the Netherlands where exporting flowers and introducing new bulbs has been profitable for centuries. In the same year, Keukenhof gardens opened in southern Holland. Established to allow local growers to display their hybrids, it is one of the largest flower gardens in the world, and each spring, the exhibit of flowering bulbs attracts thousands of visitors.


Bridal Crown Daffodil, Narcissus ‘Bridal Crown’


Jetfire Daffodil

Daffodils are members of the genus Narcissus, named for the beautiful youth of Greek myth who became so entranced with his own reflection that he wasted away and the gods turned him into this flower. Although the name “daffodil” is often applied only to the larger trumpet-flowered cultivars, with the short-cupped and multi-headed cultivars referred to as “narcissi,” breeders and other enthusiasts refer to all kinds as daffodils. Narcissus species are found in a variety of habitats in Europe and North Africa ranging from sea level to subalpine meadows, woodlands, and rocky places. Spain hosts the greatest number of different species, but they are also found in Morocco, Portugal, western France, Italy, and other countries.


Jetfire Daffodil, Narcissus cyclamineus ‘Jetfire’


COURTYARD PLAN

Nasturtium Vines, Tropaeolum majus (Hang from the thrid floor balconies)

Orange and Yellow Clivia, Clivia miniata

Cineraria, Pericallis x hybrida

Capistrano Rhododendron, Rhododendron ‘Capistrano’

Bridal Crown Daffodil, Narcissus ‘Bridal Crown’

Jetfire Daffodil, Narcissus cyclamineus ‘Jetfire’


First Floor

1/4” = 1’-0”

+22” aff

+22” aff

+6” aff

+6 aff

+22” aff

0” ff

+0” aff

+0” aff

-14”

-15” +0” aff

+0” aff

+16” aff

+0” aff

+0” aff

-17” -17”

-17” -18”

+22” aff

-17”

-6” bff

-6” bff -17”

+22” aff

+14” aff

-15”

-13”

+2” aff

-10”

-13”

+0” aff

+0” aff

+22” aff

0” ff

0” ff

+22” aff

+0” aff

+0” aff

-10”

-13”

+14” aff

-17”

-17”

+10” aff

-6” bff

-6” bff -17”

+14” aff

-18” -18”

-18” -22”

-16” -16”

+0” aff

+0” aff

+0” aff

+0” aff

+0” aff

0” ff

+0” aff

-14” -17” +0” aff

+0” aff

-17”

-14” -16”

+18” aff

-18”

+5” aff

+5” aff

+10” aff

-15”

+22” aff

+17” aff

+13” aff

+13” aff

+17” aff

+22” aff

+22” aff


SPRING BLOOMS

April-June


With the coming of warmer weather, the Courtyard features blue and white Hydrangea macrophylla: mophead and lacecap hydrangeas. Many of our hydrangeas are grown from cuttings taken the previous year. The violets, deep blues, and whites of the hydrangeas complement the finely cut silver foliage of Artemisia and the crisp white of Cape primrose (Streptocarpus ‘Maassen’s White’). Fragrant white clouds of spring blooms on Virginia sweetspire, an unusual bulb known as Star of Bethlehem, and deep green Sago palms are shown in this display.


PALETTE

PROPORTION

Lacecap Hydrangea, Hydrangea macrophylla Mophead Hydrangea, Hydrangea macrophylla

Virginia Sweetspire, Itea virginica Star of Bethlehem, Ornithogalum thrysoides Cape Primrose, Streptocarpus ‘Maassen’s White’ Mophead Hydrangea, Hydrangea macrophylla

Sago Palm, Cycas revoluta


Hydrangea

Hydrangea macrophylla, or big-leaf hydrangeas, are grown for their magnificent flowers as well as their large heart-shaped leaves. The name is a combination of the Greek words for water and vessel, referring to the vase-shaped flowers. These hydrangeas are descended from the unusual and colorful plants grown and hybridized by Chinese and Japanese gardeners from their wild native plants. Europeans brought many home in the 1700s, but since the flowers were mostly sterile, they were unable to breed them. The flowers they coveted are represented in the Courtyard: mopheads with large round blooms and lacecaps with graceful, open flowers. Ours have lavender, blue, and white blooms. To achieve blue flowers, plants are grown in acidic soil; if they grow in alkaline soil, pink colors predominate.


Mophead Hydrangea, Hydrangea macrophylla


“These hydrangeas are descended from the unusual and colorful plants grown and hybridized by Chinese and Japanese gardeners.�


Lacecap Hydrangea, Hydrangea macrophylla


Virginia Sweetspire

One sign of spring in the swampy woodlands of the Mid-Atlantic states are the long, fragrant flowers of sweetspire, set off by clean green foliage. Arching stems are heavy with the drooping white flowers. Itea virginica grows naturally on the wet edges of woodlands along the east coast of America. The cultivar ‘Henry’s Garnet’ is more compact than the native species and displays gorgeous mahogany and red foliage in the fall. In gardens, it is very adaptable to sun or shade, but the sun brings out intense fall colors.


Virginia Sweetspire, Itea virginica


Star of Bethlehem

These bulbs send up dense clusters of small, white flowers that rise from a nest of green glossy leaves. Their common name comes from the fragrant starshaped flower, but their botanical family name, Ornithogalum, comes from the Greek word for “bird’s milk.” This may refer to the white flowers and fleshy bulbs, but another source states that the early Greeks referred to the white of an egg as milk. Dioscorides, a Roman physician and botanist of Greek origin recorded the name. Leonardo da Vinci captured the beauty of these flowers in his botanical illustration of the plant. Star of Bethlehem is found in Eurasia and South Africa, but the dense, pyramidal form we see in the Courtyard is native to Swaziland.


Star of Bethlehem, Ornithogalum thyrsoides


Sago Palm

Sago palms or cycads (Cycas revoluta) are closely related to pines, spruces, and other conifers. Despite their palm-like foliage, cycads have no flowers or fruits, and their naked seeds develop within cones just like the conifers. A very old group, cycad fossils have been dated to 125 million years ago, and cycad-like relatives go back 275 million years. Once widespread, today they are only found in tropical regions.


Sago Palm, Cycas revoluta


COURTYARD PLAN

Mophead Hydrangea, Hydrangea macrophylla

Mophead Hydrangea, Hydrangea macrophylla

Lacecap Hydrangea, Hydrangea macrophylla

Virginia Sweetspire, Itea virginica

Star of Bethlehem, Ornithogalum thrysoides

Cape Primrose, Streptocarpus ‘Maassen’s White’

Sago Palm, Cycas revoluta


First Floor

1/4” = 1’-0”

+22” aff

+22” aff

+6” aff

+6 aff

+22” aff

0” ff

+0” aff

+0” aff

-14”

-15” +0” aff

+0” aff

+16” aff

+0” aff

+0” aff

-17” -17”

-17” -18”

+22” aff

-17”

-6” bff

-6” bff -17”

+22” aff

+14” aff

-15”

-13”

+2” aff

-10”

-13”

+0” aff

+0” aff

+22” aff

0” ff

0” ff

+22” aff

+0” aff

+0” aff

-10”

-13”

+14” aff

-17”

-17”

+10” aff

-6” bff

-6” bff -17”

+14” aff

-18” -18”

-18” -22”

-16” -16”

+0” aff

+0” aff

+0” aff

+0” aff

+0” aff

0” ff

+0” aff

-14” -17” +0” aff

+0” aff

-17”

-14” -16”

+18” aff

-18”

+5” aff

+5” aff

+10” aff

-15”

+22” aff

+17” aff

+13” aff

+13” aff

+17” aff

+22” aff

+22” aff


SUMMER BLUES

June-July


Late-flowering hydrangeas make the Courtyard a cool retreat in the summer. Beginning with large, spectacular mopheads and ending with different varieties of the tall Hydrangea paniculata, including ‘Grandiflora’, known in America as PeeGees. These fragrant hydrangeas fill the Courtyard with their sweet scent. In July, the statuesque agapanthus appears in the Courtyard with its large umbels of inky blue flowers. Hydrangeas are plants that love water, hence why they were named hydr(o), meaning water, and angeion, the Greek word for vessel. The plants are native to Japan, where they have been grown for ornamental purposes for centuries. Western travelers brought them to their gardens in the late eighteenth century. Agapanthus, also known as African Lily, originates in the southern part of Africa.


PALETTE

PROPORTION

African Lily, Agapanthus africanus Mophead Hydrangea, Hydrangeas macrophylla

Lacecap Hydrangea, Hydrangeas macrophylla Panicle Hydrangea, Hydrangeas paniculata grandiflora Curry Plant, Helichrysum italicum

Dracaena, Dracaena fragrans ‘Lemon Lime’

Bolivian Begonia, Begonia boliviensis

Boston Fern, Nephrolepis exaltata


African Lily

Agapanthus praecox, from the cape of South Africa, is the parent of most of the agapanthus cultivars grown today. With distinctive strap-like leaves and a stunning cluster of flowers held high above the foliage, the statuesque African Lily is magnificent when massed in the Courtyard. In South Africa, agapanthus is thought to have magical and medicinal properties. While it is easy to grow and hard to kill, it is difficult to ensure annual flowers that require careful attention to temperature, light, and root conditions inside the greenhouse.


African Lily, Agapanthus africanus


Panicle Hydrangea

Hydrangea paniculata is native to Japan and China. It was named in 1829 by Philipp Franz von Siebold, a German doctor and botanist working for the Dutch East India Company. The sterile flowers hang in snowy-white panicles. As the flower head ages, the original color modifies. Our hybrid Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’, first has a creamy white flower that ultimately deepens to lime green. Initially sent to Europe from Japan, Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandiflora’ arrived in the United States in 1861, and later became known as the American PeeGee hydrangea. Its blooms can be as large as a foot long. The bloom period is mid-July to early October.


Panicle Hydrangea,Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’


Lemon Lime Dracaena

Commonly known as corn plant, this everyday name (derived from the way the plant grows) does not do justice to the glossy, cool green foliage displayed by ‘Lemon Lime’ dracaena. It is a tall plant with gracefully arching leaves that grows well in low light. Dracaena fragrans comes from tropical Africa. Across Africa, the plants are used in hedges to mark property boundaries. They are also planted to mark the borders of sacred groves and gravesites.


Lemon Lime Dracaena, Dracaena fragrans ‘Lemon Lime’


Bolivian Begonia

Native to the South American Andes, Begonia boliviensis is easily recognized by its dense cascades of vibrant red-orange flowers and narrow green leaves. In the wild, Begonia boliviensis grows high on the wet mountain cliffs. After first being seen by explorers in 1857, it was cultivated in England by the nursery of James Veitch and Sons. They went on to exhibit it at the 1867 International Horticultural Show in Paris, where it was an immediate sensation.


Bolivian Begonia, Begonia boliviensis


Boston Fern

Boston fern is familiar Victorian parlor plant, frequently moved out to the front porch for the summer, where it is often seen today. Ferns come from tropical and semi-tropical regions, typically spreading across rain forest floors. It is used in the Courtyard as a distinctive ground cover. The plants love rich humus soil, partial shade, and high humidity.


Boston Fern, Nephrolepis exaltata


COURTYARD PLAN

African Lily, Agapanthus africanus

Mophead Hydrangea, Hydrangea macrophylla

PeeGee Panicle Hydrangea, Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandiflora’

Dracaena, Dracaena fragrans ‘Lemon Lime’

Bolivian Begonia, Begonia boliviensis

Curry Plant, Helichrysum italicum

Boston Fern, Nephrolepis exaltata


First Floor

1/4” = 1’-0”

+22” aff

+22” aff

+6” aff

+6 aff

+22” aff

0” ff

+0” aff

+0” aff

-14”

-15” +0” aff

+0” aff

+16” aff

+0” aff

+0” aff

-17” -17”

-17” -18”

+22” aff

-17”

-6” bff

-6” bff -17”

+22” aff

+14” aff

-15”

-13”

+2” aff

-10”

-13”

+0” aff

+0” aff

+22” aff

0” ff

0” ff

+22” aff

+0” aff

+0” aff

-10”

-13”

+14” aff

-17”

-17”

+10” aff

-6” bff

-6” bff -17”

+14” aff

-18” -18”

-18” -22”

-16” -16”

+0” aff

+0” aff

+0” aff

+0” aff

+0” aff

0” ff

+0” aff

-14” -17” +0” aff

+0” aff

-17”

-14” -16”

+18” aff

-18”

+5” aff

+5” aff

+10” aff

-15”

+22” aff

+17” aff

+13” aff

+13” aff

+17” aff

+22” aff

+22” aff


BELLFLOWERS

August-September


While the temperature soars outside, the Courtyard remains cool to the eye with green ferns and the sounds of water flowing in the fountains. It is in this setting that the rarely seen, fragrant chimney bellflower—Campanula pyramidalis—appears in the Courtyard. Our horticulturists grow this plant as a biennial from seed; it takes two years to grow to its six-foot maturity. The display is accented with dark maroon-red canna and unusual variegated jade plants. Campanula pyramidalis is native to southern Europe but has been cultivated in British greenhouses since the late 1500s. With deadheading, this plant can bloom for the entire summer.


PALETTE

PROPORTION

Chimney Bellflower, Campanula pyramidalis

Panicle Hydrangea, Hydrangeas paniculata Chimney Bellflower, Campanula pyramidalis

Dracaena, Dracaena fragrans ‘Limelight’

Yellow Flowering Maple, Abutilon x Luteus

Variegated Jade, Crassula ovata ‘Variegata’ Caladium, Caladium bicolor


Chimney Bellflower

Campanula pyramidalis is European in origin. Cultivated in Britain as early as 1596, the bellflower’s early colloquial name was steeple flower, which described the shape of the tall five to six-foot stem. From the seventeenth century to the nineteenth century, it was fashionable to grow the plant in pots as a summer ornament for the fireplace, so it came to be called chimney bellflower. The myriads of small, bellshaped flowers that grow along the stem can be white or a range of soft to dark blue. With deadheading, the plant can bloom the whole summer.


Chimney Bellflower, Campanula pyramidalis


“it was fashionable to grow the plant for the fireplace, so it came to be called chimney bellflower.�


Chimney Bellflower, Campanula pyramidalis


“The sterile flowers hang in snowy-white panicles.�


Limelight Hydrangea, Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’


Yellow Flowering Maple

The flowering maple is a member of the mallow family and grows to a height of five feet. The plant will flower almost continuously in the Courtyard, even in winter, producing many bell-shaped, yellow flowers speckled among the green and slightly hairy maple-shaped leaves. In the wild, flowering maple grows on the forest edges of Central and South America and is a favorite nectar source for hummingbirds. Flowering maple was introduced into Victorian conservatories in the 1800s and thrives in partial shade and dappled light.


Yellow Flowering Maple, Abutilon x Luteus


Variegated Jade

The jade plant is a succulent and was first described in England in 1768. The name Crassula ovata is a literal description of the plant’s leaves. Crassus is Latin for “thick and fat” and ovata (oval) describes its egg-shaped leaves. The jade is also called the money tree or lucky plant and is reputed to bring good fortune. The plant comes from South Africa and is used by native people for food and medicine. The thickness of the jade’s stem or trunk indicates its age. It is the “libertine of succulents” as the striping on the leaves varies considerably within one plant. Leaves can be mostly green or mostly cream, sometimes pure cream or pure green. The flowers, which come out in winter, are pinkish-white.


Variegated Jade, Crassula ovata ‘Variegata’


Caladium

Caladiums are tropical plants of the genus Araceae and are grown for their spectacularly colorful foliage. These plants are sometimes called angel wings, heart of Jesus, or elephant ears due to the form of their large arrow-shaped leaves, which are splattered and veined with shades of green, white, and cream as well as the occasional pink and red. Caladiums originate in the jungles of South America and have been cultivated in Europe and North America since the late eighteenth century. Caladiums are summer flowering bulbs that thrive in the shade and are used in August and September in the Courtyard.


Caladium, Caladium bicolor


COURTYARD PLAN

Chimney Bellflower, Campanula pyramidalis

Variegated Jade, Crassula ovata ‘ Variegata’

Yellow Flowering Maple, Abutilon x Luteus

Dracaena, Dracaena fragrans ‘Limelight’

Panicle Hydrangea, Hydrangea paniculata

Caladium, Caladium bicolor

Chimney Bellflower, Campanula pyramidalis


First Floor

1/4” = 1’-0”

+22” aff

+22” aff

+6” aff

+6 aff

+22” aff

0” ff

+0” aff

+0” aff

-14”

-15” +0” aff

+0” aff

+16” aff

+0” aff

+0” aff

-17” -17”

-17” -18”

+22” aff

-17”

-6” bff

-6” bff -17”

+22” aff

+14” aff

-15”

-13”

+2” aff

-10”

-13”

+0” aff

+0” aff

+22” aff

0” ff

0” ff

+22” aff

+0” aff

+0” aff

-10”

-13”

+14” aff

-17”

-17”

+10” aff

-6” bff

-6” bff -17”

+14” aff

-18” -18”

-18” -22”

-16” -16”

+0” aff

+0” aff

+0” aff

+0” aff

+0” aff

0” ff

+0” aff

-14” -17” +0” aff

+0” aff

-17”

-14” -16”

+18” aff

-18”

+5” aff

+5” aff

+10” aff

-15”

+22” aff

+17” aff

+13” aff

+13” aff

+17” aff

+22” aff

+22” aff


CHRYSANTHEMUMS

October-November


Dozens of varieties of chrysanthemums appear in the Courtyard in late October. Japanese-style, single-stem chrysanthemums mix with traditional forms in an explosion of color and texture. To create this unique exhibit, Museum gardeners and volunteers work from June to October using Japanese cultivation methods to create a single stalk and a single flower on each specimen plant. Over the spring and summer, each plant is pinched weekly (this is called disbudding) and fertilized at specific intervals. This style, which produces a large single bloom, is called ogiku. The Japanese technique of training chrysanthemums became popular in the West around the turn of the century. Within Isabella Stewart Gardner’s lifetime, many chrysanthemums were grown at her Brookline estate, Green Hill, and won awards at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society’s fall flower shows. The Museum later won top awards from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society for its chrysanthemums in 1934 and 1936. Chrysanthemums were first cultivated as an herb in ancient China and arrived in Japan in the eighth century. Cultivation of the flower was originally permitted only in the gardens of the emperor and the nobility. They were introduced to the western world in the seventeenth century. Today, sumptuous festivals are held in celebration of the flower throughout Japan.


PALETTE

PROPORTION

Chrysanthemum Lili Gallon, Dendranthema x morifolium Chrysanthemum Fleur de Lis, Dendranthema x morifolium Chrysanthemum Moira, Dendranthema x morifolium Chrysanthemum Kokka Bunmi, Dendranthema x morifolium

Chrysanthemum Nijin Bigo, Dendranthema x morifolium Chrysanthemum Crimson Tide, Dendranthema x morifolium Chrysanthemum River City, Dendranthema x morifolium Chrysanthemum Apricot Courtier, Dendranthema x morifolium

Chrysanthemum Powder Puff, Dendranthema x morifolium Chrysanthemum Pacificum Ajania pacifica Chrysanthemum George Couchman, Dendranthema x morifolium Chrysanthemum Symphony, Dendranthema x morifolium

Chrysanthemum Red Carrousel, Dendranthema x morifolium Chrysanthemum Doreen Statham, Dendranthema x morifolium

Chrysanthemum Icy Isle, Dendranthema x morifolium


Chrysanthemum Lili Gallon

In the Courtyard, this chrysanthemum immediately draws your eye to its large tousled bloom with long, dark wine florets that curl and tangle loosely and then flip to show silver. Its statuesque beauty is evident, worthy of being playfully referred to as a “charismatic chrysanthemum.�


Chrysanthemum Lili Gallon, Dendranthema x morifolium ‘Lili Gallon’


Chrysanthemum Fleur de Lis

A purple spider chrysanthemum with hundreds of unruly, lacy florets that explode like twisted threads from its center. In Japan, the spider chrysanthemum is called a Fuji chrysanthemum after the sacred volcanic mountain, Mount Fuji.


Chrysanthemum Fleur de Lis, Dendranthema x morifolium ‘Fleur de Lis’


Chrysanthemum Moira

This chrysanthemum is a smooth, perfect ball with tight, upturned florets that are subtly colored in dusky lavender with a mauve interior. The curator of Trinity Botanical Gardens in Dublin, Frederick William Burbidge, wrote in 1885, “We must divest ourselves of the popular idea of the chrysanthemum bloom being an individual flower, and look upon it as a flower-head . . . consisting of from one to two hundred or more separate individual little flowers.�


Chrysanthemum Moira, Dendranthema x morifolium ‘Moira’


Chrysanthemum Kokka Bunmi

Kokka Bunmi is a typical Japanese-style chrysanthemum with long trailing skirts. The chrysanthemum’s florets curve upwards and are lavender-pink on the outside and purple on the inside, but some trail along the bottom edge of the bloom, reminiscent of an ancient kimono.


Chrysanthemum Kokka Bunmi, Dendranthema x morifolium ‘Kokka Bunmi’


Chrysanthemum Nijin Bigo

A Chinese chrysanthemum with blooms that are colored light bronze on the outside while its “skirt� florets reveal a dark crimson interior.


Chrysanthemum Nijin Bigo, Dendranthema x morifolium ‘Nijin Bigo’


Chrysanthemum Crimson Tide

A large, incurving bloom with a delicate bronze color, streaked slightly to match its dark rich crimson interior. It has a dignified presence and subtle, royal colors suitable for an emperor.


Chrysanthemum Crimson Tide, Dendranthema x morifolium ‘Crimson Tide’


Chrysanthemum River City

This is a beautiful incurving chrysanthemum with tones of light champagne and salmon. The regular incurve chrysanthemums are sometimes known as football mums.


Chrysanthemum River City, Dendranthema x morifolium ‘River City’


Chrysanthemum Apricot Courtier

This reflex chrysanthemum reveals many beautiful shades of soft, apricot. The reflex, or downward, curve of the florets emphasize the disk-shaped florets that are found in the center of the flower head and are botanically “perfect,� meaning that these tiny flowers contain both male and female parts. This is the reproductive part of the plant that forms seeds


Chrysanthemum Apricot Courtier, Dendranthema x morifolium ‘Apricot Courtier’


Chrysanthemum Powder Puff

Powder Puff is an anemone chrysanthemum. This flower’s lemony white central florets fall off into a circle of pure, white, elongated florets that emphasize the central puff of the bloom.


Chrysanthemum Powder Puff, Dendranthema x morifolium ‘Powder Puff’


Chrysanthemum Pacificum

This silver and gold chrysanthemum with its fine, silver edged, gray-green leaves was discovered in a nursery in Japan in 1978. It is one of the last plants to flower in the year. Its low, growing cushion of foliage, all of ten inches in height, ends in clusters of small, golden button-like spray flowers.


Chrysanthemum Pacificum, Ajania pacifica


“This chrysanthemum has long lasting and dense gold florets that form a close knit smooth ball.�


Chrysanthemum George Couchman, Dendranthema x morifolium ‘George Couchman’


Chrysanthemum Symphony

This spider mum is a symphony of color with bronze and gold florets that curl at the end like small hooks that explode like fireworks from the center. Frederick William Burbridge, curator of Trinity Botanical Gardens in Dublin, wrote in 1885: “The artist must have his bits of twisted fringe and glints of colour in tassel and frill. So too, the botanist must have structural peculiarities [to develop] . . . varied and distinct forms.�


Chrysanthemum Symphony, Dendranthema x morifolium ‘Symphony’


Chrysanthemum Red Carrousel

A Japanese form that produces plants that are “tall and straggling in habit.� We grow this plant in pots, but the cultivar is also used as a single-stem mum. In pots, the profusion of large blooms with little tubular florets or quills that spray out from the center, end in a slight curving spoon shape. Angel Valley Heritage Mums bred these plants in the United States around 1980. They were donated to the museum in 2007 to begin our mum collection.


Chrysanthemum Red Carrousel, Dendranthema x morifolium ‘Red Carrousel’


Chrysanthemum Doreen Statham

This chrysanthemum has a velvety, dark crimson color. The florets are reflex curved, folding back to the stem. As growing chrysanthemums became more popular, the names of the forms were standardized. However, in the late 1800s, the Japanese plants now called reflex, were identified as ribbon varieties.


Chrysanthemum Doreen Statham, Dendranthema x morifolium ‘Doreen Statham’


Chrysanthemum Icy Isle

Icy Isle is another chrysanthemum developed in the United States, destined to grow in a pot. However, the large, crisp linen white flower makes an unusual single-stem. Our plants have extra large florets that rise to a flat top; they are the only single-stem we have in this form. They were donated to the Museum from the Botanic Garden of Smith College collection where there is also a show of unusual chrysanthemums in the fall.


Chrysanthemum Icy Isle, Dendranthema x morifolium ‘Icy Isle’


COURTYARD PLAN

Chrysanthemum Lili Gallon, Dendranthema x morifolium ‘Lili Gallon’ Chrysanthemum Fleur de Lis, Dendranthema x morifolium ‘Fleur de Lis’ Chrysanthemum Moira, Dendranthema x morifolium ‘Moira’ Chrysanthemum Kokka Bunmi, Dendranthema x morifolium ‘Kokka Bunmi’

Chrysanthemum Nijin Bigo, Dendranthema x morifolium ‘Nijin Bigo’ Chrysanthemum Crimson Tide, Dendranthema x morifolium ‘Crimson Tide’ Chrysanthemum River City, Dendranthema x morifolium ‘River City’ Chrysanthemum Apricot Courtier, Dendranthema x morifolium ‘Apricot Courtier’ Chrysanthemum Powder Puff, Dendranthema x morifolium ‘Powder Puff’ Chrysanthemum Pacificum Ajania pacifica Chrysanthemum George Couchman, Dendranthema x morifolium ‘George Couchman’ Chrysanthemum Symphony, Dendranthema x morifolium ‘Symphony’

Chrysanthemum Red Carrousel, Dendranthema x morifolium ‘Red Carrousel’ Chrysanthemum Doreen Statham, Dendranthema x morifolium ‘Doreen Statham’

Chrysanthemum Moonbeam, Dendranthema x morifolium ‘Moonbeam’ Chrysanthemum Icy Isle, Dendranthema x morifolium ‘Icy Isle’


First Floor

1/4” = 1’-0”

+22” aff

+22” aff

+6” aff

+6 aff

+22” aff

0” ff

+0” aff

+0” aff

-14”

-15” +0” aff

+0” aff

+16” aff

+0” aff

+0” aff

-17” -17”

-17” -18”

+22” aff

-17”

-6” bff

-6” bff -17”

+22” aff

+14” aff

-15”

-13”

+2” aff

-10”

-13”

+0” aff

+0” aff

+22” aff

0” ff

0” ff

+22” aff

+0” aff

+0” aff

-10”

-13”

+14” aff

-17”

-17”

+10” aff

-6” bff

-6” bff -17”

+14” aff

-18” -18”

-18” -22”

-16” -16”

+0” aff

+0” aff

+0” aff

+0” aff

+0” aff

0” ff

+0” aff

-14” -17” +0” aff

+0” aff

-17”

-14” -16”

+18” aff

-18”

+5” aff

+5” aff

+10” aff

-15”

+22” aff

+17” aff

+13” aff

+13” aff

+17” aff

+22” aff

+22” aff


HOLIDAY GARDEN

December


Holidays are a special time to come to the Gardner Museum, when the festive Courtyard, featuring dark, forest greens and shades of red and silver, adds to the excitement of the season. This holiday tradition showcases masses of flowering jade trees, red berried pyracantha, and the dark red winter blooms of amaryllis, all dispelling winter shadows.


PALETTE

PROPORTION

Red Amaryllis, Hippeastrum ‘Ferrari’ Red Pyracantha, Pyracantha coccinea

White Amaryllis, Hippeastrum Jade, Crassula argentea

Five-Finger Fern, Adiantum aleuticum


Amaryllis

The red amaryllis in the Courtyard, known as Hippeastrum ‘Ferrari’, was named for Giovanni Battista Ferrari (1585-1655), a Jesuit monk who managed the gardens at the Barberini Palace in Rome, a showplace for the rarest plants imported from Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Originally from South America, these tender bulbs are beloved for their winter blooms. In 1753, Carl Linnaeus described Amaryllis belladonna in his definition of the genus Amaryllis, which includes both the South American and South African plants. Amaryllis is derived from the Greek word amarysso meaning “to sparkle.” Later, the plants were reclassified, and the large, star-flowered South American plants became Hippeastrum, which literally means, “horse star.”


Red Amaryllis, Hippeastrum ‘Ferrari’


White Amaryllis

Although the name of Hippeastrum references plants from South America, gardeners today continue to use the beautiful poetic name “amaryllis” for this bulb. Amaryllis was the shepherdess in Virgil’s Eclogues, also cited by the poet John Milton. Planted in a pot, the bulb seems to grow inches each day during the dark days of winter until it erupts into vivid flowers. Later, the long strap-like leaves persist, feeding the bulb for a repeat performance the following year. Whether you choose to call it Hippeastrum or Amaryllis, the genus includes 70 to 75 species and more than 600 cultivars. In nature, the plants thrive in a wide range of habitats—some species grow epiphytically, like orchids, on rain forest trees; others grow in meadows or on wooded hillsides. There are even some species that survive in dry mountain regions within wide ranges of heat and cold.


White Amaryllis, Hippeastrum


Red Pyracantha

Pyracantha coccinea is a member of the Rosaceae family. Pyracantha comes from the Greek words pyr, meaning fire, and cantha, referring to the thorny stem of the plant. Its bright red berries are a winter food for birds, but so astringent and bitter that humans find them inedible unless cooked. The Greek physician and botanist, Dioscorides, first described this evergreen shrub in his De Materia Medica, around 77 AD. John Parkinson later described and illustrated pyracantha as the “evergreene Hawthorn or prickly Corall tree,” in his botanical treatise (published in London in 1629). Frederick Law Olmsted planted pyracantha in New York City’s Central Park.


Red Pyracantha, Pyracantha coccinea


Jade

The jade plant is also called the “money tree” or “lucky plant” and is reputed to bring good fortune. The plant is native to South Africa where it is used for food and medicine. Crassula argentea, or at that time ovata, was first described in England in 1768. The Latin name is a literal description of the plant’s leaves. Crassus is Latin for “thick and fat” and ovate (oval) describes its egg-shaped leaves. The thickness of the Jade’s stem or trunk indicates its age. Some of the Gardner Museum’s plants have stems that are six inches or more in diameter and are over 40 years old. It is unusual to see these plants in bloom in New England, but when grown outside in a warm climate like the southern California coast, they bloom through the winter months.


Jade, Crassula argentea


Five-Finger Fern

Native to the northern woods of America, these maidenhair ferns have amazing crescent-shaped fronds that rise on dark, reddish-brown stalks. The plants are commonly found in moist woods and shaded rock crevices, along streams and where water reaches the earth’s surface from an underground aquifer. There are two species: Adiantum pendatum in the east and Adiantum aleuticum in the west. The western plants found growing in abundance in redwood forests with other moisture-loving plants and mosses. One site that has been preserved is Fern Canyon in the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park in Humboldt County, California, where Adiantum aleuticum drape down the vertical 50 to 80-foot walls of the narrow canyon. In the Museum’s Courtyard, the ferns are happy in the humid, low-light environment, but must still be watered frequently to survive. New growth is tinged with red, giving the fronds a bronzed color.


Five-Finger Fern, Adiantum aleuticum


COURTYARD PLAN

Red Amaryllis, Hippeastrum ‘Ferrari’

White Amaryllis, Hippeastrum

Red Pyracantha, Pyracantha coccinea

Lemon Lime Dracaena, Dracaena fragrans ‘Lemon Lime’

Jade, Crassula ovata

Five-Finger Fern, Adiantum aleuticum


First Floor

1/4” = 1’-0”

+22” aff

+22” aff

+6” aff

+6 aff

+22” aff

0” ff

+0” aff

+0” aff

-14”

-15” +0” aff

+0” aff

+16” aff

+0” aff

+0” aff

-17” -17”

-17” -18”

+22” aff

-17”

-6” bff

-6” bff -17”

+22” aff

+14” aff

-15”

-13”

+2” aff

-10”

-13”

+0” aff

+0” aff

+22” aff

0” ff

0” ff

+22” aff

+0” aff

+0” aff

-10”

-13”

+14” aff

-17”

-17”

+10” aff

-6” bff

-6” bff -17”

+14” aff

-18” -18”

-18” -22”

-16” -16”

+0” aff

+0” aff

+0” aff

+0” aff

+0” aff

0” ff

+0” aff

-14” -17” +0” aff

+0” aff

-17”

-14” -16”

+18” aff

-18”

+5” aff

+5” aff

+10” aff

-15”

+22” aff

+17” aff

+13” aff

+13” aff

+17” aff

+22” aff

+22” aff


HORTICULTURE AT THE GARDNER MUSEUM

During Gardner’s life, her personal greenhouses

under the direction of Stan Kozak, Chief Horticul-

supplied plants for the Courtyard. An active member

turist, who has worked at the Gardner for over forty

of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society (MHS),

years. Greenhouse capacity was increased signifi-

Gardner regularly won awards for the flowers and

cantly during the construction of the new Renzo

vegetables grown on her Brookline estate at the

Piano wing in 2010-11. Two new modern greenhous-

seasonal shows in Horticultural Hall. Under Mor-

es were built in Hingham, Massachusetts, providing

ris Carter, the first director of the Museum, these

10,000 square feet of space dedicated to continuing

activities were expanded and many MHS displays

the horticultural traditions established by Isabella

created by the Museum’s gardeners won top awards.

Stewart Gardner. The greenhouses are filled with

Carter also established a display of single-stem chry-

plants that are cultivated for the seasonal displays in

santhemums that is recreated in the courtyard every

the Courtyard and other locations in the Museum.

November. In 1925, a year after Gardner’s death, the Museum purchased greenhouses in Brookline to

In the new wing, visitors can enjoy unusual plants

grow plants for the Courtyard. The head gardener

from the Museum’s collection in the on-site green-

directed horticultural activities at the Museum and

houses. There plants are grown and prepared for

in Brookline.

installation in the Courtyard garden. Courtyard installations usually occur when the Museum is

In 1972, the Museum acquired the land to build new

closed. This new greenhouse totals 1,650 square

greenhouses on the Museum campus. Having the

feet and is reminiscent of the greenhouses that were

horticultural staff and plants onsite allowed staff

located there before the new wing was built. The

and visitors more contact with an important sphere

lush plants and the daily greenhouse operations are

of work at the Museum.

visible to everyone walking along the greenhouse corridor. A classroom is available at the end of the

The many flowering plants displayed in the Court-

greenhouse corridor for horticulture workshops of-

yard are grown by the Museum’s horticultural staff

fered to school and community partners and visitors.


HORTICULTURAL DISPLAYS

The unique interplay between the Courtyard and

The Hanging Nasturtiums installation is supported

the Museum galleries offers visitors a fresh view

by Vivien and Alan Hassenfeld. Courtyard displays

of the Courtyard from almost every room, inviting

in April are made possible, in part, by the Sorenson

connections between art and garden.

Fund for Horticulture. Landscape and Horticulture

Isabella Stewart Gardner was an avid gardener, designing many distinctive gardens at her summer home in Brookline, Massachusetts. She shared her love of growing things with fellow Bostonians, filling the large bay window of her Beacon Street townhouse with plants. Her legacy continues to this day in the central Courtyard at the Museum. All subsequent Museum directors have continued this practice, with each director altering the Courtyard displays to express their own horticultural preferences. Today, the Courtyard is transformed with new plants and colors in eight seasonal displays, including the beloved Hanging Nasturtiums, exhibited each April. This tradition began when Gardner asked her gardeners to hang 30-foot-long trailing nasturtiums from the thirdfloor balconies

public programs are supported by the Barbara Millen and Markley H. Boyer Endowment Fund. The museum receives operating support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, which receives support from the State of Massachusetts and the National Endowment for the Arts. The Chrysanthemums display is made possible in part by the Barbara Millen and Markley H. Boer Endowment Fund for Horticulture.


For more information about the Courtyard, please visit gardnermuseum.org/gardens/courtyard

flower portraits  

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum's Courtyard has always been central to the life of the Museum. By 2013, eight seasonal displays had been...

flower portraits  

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum's Courtyard has always been central to the life of the Museum. By 2013, eight seasonal displays had been...