Goddard College’s historic gardens are a key feature of the Plainfield campus. The gardens are open to the public and seasonal Tea and Tour events are hosted by Layne Tharpe, garden steward and landscape consultant. A gallery of the garden can be seen here.
Master landscape designer and Fredrick Law Olmsted protégé, Arthur Shurcliff, designed the gardens in the early 20th century, as part of the Greatwood Farm owned by Willard S. Martin. They were built in phases between 1908 and 1918. The Gardens are divided by a wide pedestrian path into two sections, the Manor Garden and the Upper Garden. The Formal and Rose Gardens circa 1908 are located behind the Martin Manor. A Pavilion is integrated into one wall of the Formal Garden and opens to steps leading to the Upper Garden.
The Formal Garden features original Korean Boxwood hedges grown from cuttings. The Upper Garden, circa 1918, also designed by Arthur Shurcliff, is reached by a series of stone steps that climb to landings where a fountain is set into a stone wall topped by a limestone balustrade rail. Water falls into the fountain pool from a row of five ram’s heads. Parallel steps on each side of the fountain pool rise to the Upper Garden, which is surrounded by dry shale walls. On the axis from the fountain is a round pool in front of the Garden House, a small one-story Tudor Revival style building. On the other end a fountain is built into the garden wall and flows through a channel to the central pool.
The two gardens were placed on the National Register for Historic Places in 1996. Additionally, the walled gardens, designed by Arthur Shurcliff, were recognized as significant works of garden design at risk by The Cultural Landscape Foundation’s “Landslide 2006: Spotlight on the Garden.” Goddard college is currently working to restore and preserve these beautiful and unique treasures.
To support restoration of the Greatwood Gardens, donations may be made to:Goddard College Garden Fund Goddard College Attn: Dean of Institutional Advancement 123 Pitkin Rd Plainfield, VT 05667