bullet Henry's and Fanny's Garden


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Design for Henry Longfellow's garden, 1847 Dolben design for Henry Longfellow's garden, 1847

The Longfellows laid out a formal garden northeast of the House where the Craigie's gardener’s house had been. Henry Longfellow described this as “a small garden in the form of a lyre.” Later he enlarged it to its present size, following a design he made from a garden he had seen in Italy.

The flower beds, with borders of box, made up a symmetrical pattern like that of an Oriental rug. In the center four pear-shaped beds made up a circle. Triangular beds in the corners completed a square. On either side of this were large oblongs, broken into quatrefoils and triangles.

Map of early Longfellow property lines
Longfellow property

Alice Longfellow remembered that there were about four acres of land around the House when the Longfellows acquired it. The lawn was in front between the House and the street, and the rest were open fields filled with trees.

Alice Longfellow wrote: "Behind the garden was a path shaded with tall pine trees, which was one of my father's favorite walks. There was a small green summer house, and a rustic bridge over a little brook that flowed through the garden.

"He devised a rustic stairway, and a platform with seats in an apple tree, where many pleasant hours were spent taking the after dinner coffee on spring afternoons among the blossoms, or talking with friends; while to the children it was the favorite spot of all."

Swing from Vautin watercolor
Detail from Craigie House by N. Vautin
Side yard of House Side yard

The side yard near the Linden tree was a favorite family area.

The roomy piazzas provided shade and shelter while allowing people to enjoy the gardens.

Piazza Piazza

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© 2004 Longfellow National Historic Site