Gardens of historical significance
The Fells in Newbury blossomed under its second owner
The Old Garden was The Fells' first formal garden, built in 1909. It was restored 100 years later and still has its original layout. (COURTESY)
The Perennial Border at The Fells, the summer home of former Secretary of State John Hay, once the personal secretary to Abraham Lincoln, was added in the 1920s. The gardens for which the estate is known were the inspiration of Hay’s son, Clarence. The first was built a few years after his father’s death. (COURTESY)
Visiting The Fells
Hours: The gardens and trails of The Fells are open daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The main house is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tours: Guided tours of the gardens, led by members of the landscape staff, are offered at 1 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday until mid-August. Tours last 40 minutes and are included in the cost of admission.
Admission: $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students, $4 for children ages 6-17, free for age 5 and under. Families of 2 adults and 2 or more children ages 6 or above, $25.
More info: The Fells is located at 465 Route 103A, Newbury. For more information call 763-4789 or visit thefells.org.
"During those first 15 years, it was mainly just fells land; you can picture grazing sheep and rocks and grasses," said David Bashaw, acting executive director for The Fells.
"Walking through the gardens really is like walking back in time," Bashaw said.
"It wasn't until 1909 that the first formal garden was built,'" Bashaw said. "And that was the 'Old Garden.'"
The Old Garden, was restored in 2009. In that case, restoration meant cutting back 100 years worth of plants that had become overgrown, replacing some grasses and plants with historically accurate plants using old photographs as guides, and repairing the fountain and pebble areas.
"The toad lilies and the bugbane are real standouts for the perennials, but the Kousa dogwood put on a beautiful show this year," Thompson said. "Actually it did this everywhere on site. We have several. One is still blooming in the Pebble Court at the main house."
The rose terrace was done in the early part of that decade and included the installation of a stone wall and urn fountain. Included in this garden are hybrid tea roses and a climbing hydrangea on the wall.
"She apparently didn't like yellow," Bashaw said.
"They're looking great and are easy to grow," Thompson said
"There are areas visitors walk through that may not feel like gardens, but they're worried over and cared for as though gardens," Thompson said.