Stevenson Library Digital Collections

Blithewood Garden: Structured Beauty

This exhibit explores Blithewood Garden, Bard College.

Located in the heart of the Hudson River National Historic Landmark District, Blithewood Garden was designed circa 1903 by Francis L. V. Hoppin (1867–1941) of the architectural firm Hoppin & Koen. It is a classic example of a walled Italianate garden. Blithewood Garden today remains breathtakingly beautiful, including its awe-inspiring backdrop of the Catskill Mountains and Hudson River.

In keeping with the turn-of-the-century trend toward Romanticism, the formal Italian garden acts as an extension of the Georgian-style mansion. Hoppin designed the house in 1900 for Captain Andrew C. Zabriskie (1853–1916) and his wife, Frances Hunter Zabriskie (d. 1951), who owned the Blithewood estate from 1899 to 1951, when their son, Christian Zabriskie, donated it to Bard College.

Blithewood garden is quintessentially an architectural garden. It is a garden set upon the land, set apart from the landscape —
except where views are specifically allowed for. The garden is determined by its architectural bones…

– Wendy Joy Darby, for Lepera and Ward, Architects, “The Blithewood Garden at Bard College Historic Landscape Report,”
September 1989, p. 29

Above photographs by Suki Sekula '19