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Barrington Hills -- Olsen's Woods Walk

Object Details

sova.aag.gca_ref32888
GUID
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/kb60a88b7e5-2fc9-49d7-bc86-21b2e033b2f4
General
The red brick Georgian style house was built in 1922 as a country place, gifted along with 60 acres of farmland; in 1991 the house had been restored but the 15-acre property was overgrown with buckthorn and invasive vines. While clearing the land the owners discovered the remains of a 1930's formal garden next to the house and a one-acre spring-fed pond at the perimeter. The first garden they designed and planted, Woods Walk, has meandering paths under a towering canopy of red, bur and white oak, quantities of spring bulbs, part shade flowering shrubs and perennials, fountains, garden art, hidden seating and a tool shed. Long rows of arborvitae and boxwood hedges were planted to create a formal structure for garden rooms that would surround and spread out from the house on ten acres, eventually fenced to keep out deer. There are nine main garden rooms with formal patio gardens outside the house, expansive lawns punctuated with trees, and more casual plantings leading to the woods and the pond. Two massive lion planters anchor the Leo Lion garden that has a flagstone walkway, dwarf evergreens, two weeping birch positioned to form a natural arch, perennials, grasses and ferns. The English Pool garden has a 14-column classical Greek pergola supporting a climbing hydrangea and perennials and annuals chosen for their colorful blossoms. A formal parterre garden terraced beneath one of the patios has red and white roses under a weeping cherry. The garden rooms are entered under arches covered with clematis and other climbing vines; the Gala Garden designed and planted for a hospice benefit is bordered by blue tuteurs with climbing roses and clematis. Other garden structures include an eight-sided gazebo and an ironwork folly with climbing vines. A Mirror Walk garden is shaded by mature oak with three beds of deciduous azaleas and color coordinated tulips on one side facing beds of shade perennials that include bleeding heart, lobelia, and petasites with banks of hosta around each bed. The Wedding Walk garden has four arches bordered by more casual flower beds chosen to attract butterflies and transition to the natural pond with cattails, Adirondack chairs and a fire pit. A vegetable garden and orchard are located outside the gate cottage or coach house as they were under the original owners. Many of the garden rooms and patio gardens feature planted urns and other containers; even tall columns are topped with flower-filled pots. The voluminous plantings were aided in part by Ball Horticultural Company: from 2004 to 2011 Olsen's Woods Walk was a test garden for as many as 500 flats of perennials and annuals each year that would be evaluated and photographed, with some images appearing in Ball catalogs and other advertisements. Also, the owners hosted many charitable benefits and open days for the Garden Conservancy and other organizations. Persons associated with the garden include: Evan A. and Pauline Hart Evans (former owners, circa 1922-1950); Bruce Alexander and Joan Ferris Pope (former owners, circa 1959-1971); Guy H. and Bette A. Seno (former owners, circa 1971-1976); G. Willard and Bonita Theissen (former owners, circa 1976-1991); Eric E. and Margaret G. Olsen (former owners, 1991-2018); Robert G. Work (1874-1960) (architect for house and coach house, 1922); Charlie Keppel (tree maintenance, 1991-2018); Eric Bode (arborist, 2007-2018); Liz Olsen and Andrew Wolfgram (garden design and maintenance, 2007-2018).
Provenance
Garden Club of Barrington
Former owner
Evans, Evan A.
Evans, Pauline Hart
Alexander, Bruce
Pope, Joan Ferris
Seno, Guy H.
Seno, Bette A.
Theissen, G. Willard
Theissen, Bonita
Olsen, Eric E.
Olsen, Margaret G.
Architect
Work, Robert G.
Tree specialist
Keppel, Charlie
Arborist
Bode, Eric
Garden design and maintenance
Olsen, Liz
Wolfgram, Andrew
Collection Creator
Garden Club of America
Place
United States of America -- Illinois -- Cook County -- Barrington
Olsen's Woods Walk (Barrington Hills, Illinois)
Topic
Gardens -- Illinois -- Barrington Hills
Provenance
Garden Club of Barrington
Former owner
Evans, Evan A.
Evans, Pauline Hart
Alexander, Bruce
Pope, Joan Ferris
Seno, Guy H.
Seno, Bette A.
Theissen, G. Willard
Theissen, Bonita
Olsen, Eric E.
Olsen, Margaret G.
Architect
Work, Robert G.
Tree specialist
Keppel, Charlie
Arborist
Bode, Eric
Garden design and maintenance
Olsen, Liz
Wolfgram, Andrew
See more items in
The Garden Club of America collection
The Garden Club of America collection / Series 1: United States Garden Images / Illinois
Sponsor
A project to describe images in this finding aid received Federal support from the Smithsonian Collections Care Initiative, administered by the National Collections Program.
Custodial History
The Garden Club of Barrington facilitated the 2019 submission of this garden's documentation.
Archival Repository
Archives of American Gardens
Identifier
AAG.GCA, File IL185
Type
Archival materials
Collection Citation
Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, The Garden Club of America collection.
Collection Rights
Archives of American Gardens encourages the use of its archival materials for non-commercial, educational and personal use under the fair use provision of U.S. copyright law. Use or copyright restrictions may exist. It is incumbent upon the researcher to ascertain copyright status and assume responsibility for usage. All requests for duplication and use must be submitted in writing and approved by Archives of American Gardens. Please direct reference inquiries to the Archives of American Gardens: aag@si.edu.
Bibliography
This property is featured in many regional and garden magazines including the articles "Family Trees: A Mother-Daughter Bond Grows in a Classic Illinois Garden" by Kari Richardson, published in Traditional Home, May 2013, pp. 75-82; "Estate of Bliss" by Nina A. Koziol, published in Chicagoland Gardening, May/June 2012, pp. 61-65; "Gardens of Lasting Beauty" by Mary Klest, published in Quintessential Barrington, March/April 2010; "On a Country Estate" by Katherine Anderson, published in Chicago Home & Garden, Spring 2003, pp. 71-85.
Scope and Contents
1 folder and 22 digital images.
Collection Restrictions
Access to original archival materials by appointment only. Researcher must submit request for appointment in writing. Certain items may be restricted and not available to researchers. Please direct reference inquiries to the Archives of American Gardens: aag@si.edu.
AAG.GCA_ref32888
Large EAD
AAG.GCA
AAG
Record ID
ebl-1643208220039-1643210179246-1
Barrington Hills -- Olsen's Woods Walk
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