Recently my daughter-in-law and I took a drive to Lakewold Gardens in Lakewood. Although it was fall and not much was in bloom, the gardens still took your breath away. The breathtaking fall colors, the peakaboo lake view and the quiet serenity all blended to make this experience one I’d like to take experience more regularly.
One of the leading landscape architects of the 20th century, Eulalie Wagner, made this garden her personal life project and left it for all of us to enjoy. In 1958 she commissioned Thomas Church, a noted landscape architect, to help. His design included a curved drive that winds guests through groves of native trees underplanted with Rhododendrons (our state flower). Church created outdoor living spaces like the elegant quatrefoil pool, the medieval knot garden and the rose-covered gazebo.
Church made sure the garden reflected Wagner’s personality. He completed the design framework and she created the gardens. Wagner’s keen interest in rare and native plants seems to blend into the garden’s natural displays effortlessly.
Note the Rock Garden which took Wagner 20 years to complete. Her eye for detail and love for all seasons make this place a unique visual display throughout the year.
On our foray, we were destined to see the table setting competition. You know stemware, dishes, centerpiece – all with a theme. The settings, which were displayed in The Wagner House, gave us lots of ideas for our own tables.
The Wagner House, built in 1914, is often a venue for weddings, meetings, retreats and other events. Once you’ve seen the spacious sunroom or sat on the Wisteria-covered verandah, you’ll know why brides choose to say their nuptials there. Inside the spiral staircase, Italian-marble floor in the grand foyer and the crystal chandeliers all beautifully accent the character of the house.
When you visit, plan to spend some time just relishing the quiet, picnicking on the grounds, enjoying the gardens and don’t forget to visit the Garden Shop. What a wonderful gift shop. It’s filled with all things garden – many tools I doubt you’ll find anywhere else.
Lakewold Gardens, www.lakewoldgardens.org, is located at 12317 Gravelly Lake Drive SW, in Lakewood. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors, students and active Military, children under 12 are free.