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Kitchen Gardens

Mouse over the image to see the transformation of the Kitchen Gardens.

Kitchen Garden, 2015 (detail)Kitchen Garden, lower level, looking southeast to yew, 1927–1932 (detail)

When Beatrix Farrand began her first designs for Dumbarton Oaks in 1922, she searched for the most level expanse of land to serve as the kitchen garden. The former chicken yard and hen house near the northeastern corner of the property proved to be perfect. Here she planned an estate garden in the English tradition. The inclusion of a kitchen garden was especially important to Farrand’s design as she saw the beautiful yet utilitarian space as unifying the whole scheme of terraces, house, and wilderness. Her first drawings divided the space into a grape arbor, frame yard, espaliered fruit trees, and vegetable garden to the east, with an arboretum to the west and a north-south walkway cutting down the center. A flower cutting garden eventually replaced the arboretum, as the western side of the kitchen garden proved too small for a proper arboretum.

Read more about the history of the Arbor Terrace and view drawings and historic photographs on the Dumbarton Oaks Garden Archives.


Exhibit Items