On a 1902 commission by Boston financier and philanthropist Gardiner Martin Lane and his wife, Emma, Olmsted designed the garden as a series of distinct rooms, forming sequential terraces in an architectural response to the downward sloping topography.
The Water Terrace is positioned high on the oceanside bluff and features a rose-covered pergola, an ocean view shelter, and a stunning, 2800 square foot, five-pool water garden inspired by the sixteenth-century Villa Lante in Viterbo, Italy. From this elevation, a series of granite steps descends through the garden’s other rooms: a shady Overlook Terrace, a Lavender Terrace, a white-themed Tea Terrace, a substantial Vegetable Garden, a Crabapple Allée and, finally, a semi-enclosed Rose Garden.
In its prime (1906 – 1935), the Lane garden was featured in Louise Shelton’s Beautiful Gardens in America, the November 1907 issue of American Homes and Gardens, and numerous horticultural tours. By 1991, when Nola Anderson and her husband, Jim Mullen, purchased The Chimneys, the garden was in ruins, having not been maintained for nearly forty years. The garden’s renewal became Ms. Anderson’s three-decade, hands-on personal passion as she rebuilt, restored, and recreated the garden, honoring the original Olmsted intent while completing the design with historic and contemporary plantings that pleased her evolving personal taste. The renewed gardens are, once again, the centerpiece of The Chimneys estate and a vibrant extension of a family home.
Renowned commercial photographer, Clint Clemens was known in the advertising world for his work on the “loud and fast” – particularly luxury cars. Clemens, who had never photographed a garden, volunteered to take a few shots as a personal courtesy to old friends only to find himself drawn to the plants’ beauty and splendor. He, like Anderson, became fully immersed. Clemens brought the gardens to life on the page using exotic tools like a Phantom 4 v2 drone, a Roundshot VR gigapan panoramic robotic camera mount, and an assortment of specialized Canon cameras including the 5DS R with 100mm and 180 mm macro lenses to produce a dazzling array of photographs that showcase the garden's stunning seaside setting as well as the constantly changing seasonal displays.
Immersion also includes original plans, photographs, and ephemera from the Archives of American Gardens at the Smithsonian Institution, the Manuscript Division of The Library of Congress, The Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site, and other sources. While this gorgeous, full-color volume is primarily the inspiring story of one gardener’s growth from a novice to an accomplished designer, it also includes practical tips and “behind the scenes” guidance for design, plant selection, and garden management. No horticultural library will be complete without Nola Anderson’s garden memoir.