The Blithewood Garden was designed circa 1903 by Francis L. V. Hoppin of the architectural firm Hoppin & Koen. It is a classic example of a walled Italianate garden.
Today, Blithewood Garden remains breathtakingly beautiful, with its awe-inspiring backdrop of the Catskill Mountains and Hudson River. In keeping with the turn-of-the-century trend toward Romanticism, this formal Italian garden acts as an extension of the Georgian-style mansion.
Hoppin also designed the mansion in 1900 for Captain Andrew C. Zabriskie and his wife, Frances Hunter Zabriskie, who owned Blithewood from 1899 to 1951. In 1951, after the death of his mother, Christian Zabriskie, donated the Blithewood Estate to Bard College.
Blithewood Garden is a quintessentially architectural garden. Built during the Gilded Age, the garden follows the traditional Italianate design, with a flat ground plane, paths on geometric axes, symmetrical beds, a central water feature, statuary, marble ornaments, and walls that form an enclosure, creating a green “room.” The main axis of the sunken, rectangular garden and its terraces terminates at a pavilion overlooking the Hudson River. Hoppin wanted the walled garden to create a sense of solitude, a haven for its owners.
Winnakee Land Trust is grateful to our 2018 Gala hosts, Bard College, Bard President Leon Botstein, and the Levy Economics Institute.