When I was in Bar Harbor recently, I stopped by Garland Farm, now owned by the Beatrix Farrand Society. In my new book, Bar Harbor in the Roaring Twenties, I write about how the famous landscape artist donated her time to the town to help them beautify their village. (Dump Wharf and the coal plant may not be the most attractive of the village’s waterfront features, she suggested. A patterned screen or a well-placed tree might help obscure some of these unattractive sites…)
Much of the hardscaping — sculptures, benches, fencing — comes from Reef Point, the Farrand family cottage which graced the Shore Path until it was torn down in the 1950s. Other artifacts, long gone, have been reproduced based on old photos.
Many plants too are original to the Farrand collection, making their way from Reef Point to other island gardens like Asticou and Thuya and now to Garland Farm, Farrand’s home during retirement until her death in 1959.
Paula told me that Farrand lived at Garland Farm with her assistant. They each had their own garden, designed by Farrand to suit their tastes. Farrand liked the cool colors
while her assistant liked the warm colors.
On the walls of her modest final home are displayed plans for many of the island gardens she designed including ones for the Rockefellers in Seal Harbor, the Millikens in Northeast Harbor and the Byrnes in Bar Harbor. Guy’s Cliff, the James Byrne cottage, was on what is now the campus of the College of the Atlantic. (The cottage is long gone; however, the outlines of Farrand’s terraced garden can still be seen.)
It’s a shame that the cottage and gardens at Reef Point were not preserved, but it’s wonderful to see so many avid gardeners and historians embracing Garland Farm where Farrand spent her later, quieter years. And nice to see that her legacy lives on in beautifully landscaped areas all over the island. No doubt she would pleased to see that Dump Wharf and the coal plant are long gone from Bar Harbor’s waterfront!