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The Mount

The Mount is Edith Wharton's estate and gardens in the Berkshires, in Lenox, Massachusetts. This greatest of all American writers (just my opinion!) designed both the house and the gardens.

The MountOn a very hot June day my sister and I, along with a group of about 60 Smith alumnae and guests, visited the Mount as part of a garden design symposium. At left, you can see the main facade of the house, which faces the sweeping view and gardens.

Click to see a picture of the house on the design of which Wharton based her own plans.

The gardens are Italianate in style: geometric, highly structured, not thickly or colorfully planted. That is to say, it is not my favorite kind of garden.

The house and gardens both have been recently restored. Interestingly enough, pictures taken of the overgrown and "ruined" gardens suggest a wild and secret version that I will have to admit I would prefer.

Below you see the clear and authentic central allee of pleached lime (linden - I always wondered how they got limes to grow in those places! They didn't - ), but a photograph shows the garden as it was just a few years ago. Looks perfectly charming to me. I would have left it alone!

Garden at the Mount

Click to see the overgrown version.

Our tour began and ended with the stables. We followed a long drive lined with sugar maples to the house, walked down to the square flower garden, and looked back at the house. The allee runs a long way across to a walled garden.

Back at the house, we looked down on the gardens from the terrace. You enter the house from a courtyard. Photos are not permitted inside the house -- too bad.

Here is a Slideshow of this tour.

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