Thursday, June 23, 2011

Gwinn, A Lifestyle Garden

I recently spoke in Cleveland at the annual meeting of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers on the history of Country Place Era homes in the Cleveland area. The preparations for the talk reminded me of what an amazing creation William Mather's former home (Gwinn) was, and what a loss it seems to be now that it is no longer available to be seen and presumably is being gradually dismanteled.

My appreciation of Gwinn was enormously increased by Robin Karson's 1995 book The Muses of Gwinn in which she describes its fascinating history. Constructed in 1907, it survived longer than most all homes of its type. The gardens were considerably contracted as the property passed through generations of heirs, but the house and garden continued to inspire into the 21st century. Now this is what I call a lifestyle garden.

I had a chance to visit the garden at least three times before it was sold and will post the following pictures as a sort of memorial.

The house is set so close to Lake Erie that from the front it feels like it is part of the lake.
Although the lake front is lined with houses, viewers from Gwinn get the feeling they are the only ones on the water.
It is another world on the other side of the house where a comfortable sense of enclosure within the garden contrasts starkly with both the lake side and the world outside the garden walls.