Documented and added to the Collection in 2011
First laid out in the 1730s, the gardens featured paths to the sea and a salt work in the lower area by the beach. The owner’s parents added flowerbeds and many Cedars. Since 1956, Charles and Genevra Higginson have carried on the tradition of the original gardens creating an inspiring sanctuary garden; safe and nurturing for all that provides a supportive, unpolluted and encouraging environment for wildlife, pollinators, plant diversity and protects its wetlands. They have not used pesticides or commercial fertilizers since the 1960s.
Paths wind through groves and along formal and informal gardens, leading to hidden resting and picnic areas, a fruit and vegetable garden, and a water garden. Other paths lead the eye along granite ledges and cedar groves to beautiful focal points and vistas of the Atlantic. Traveling great distances to acquire the next garden acquisition, the owners more recently concentrated on Native American plants and trees they admired. They have also planted trees inspired by landscapes seen during their time spent in the Foreign Service, including the Beech Forests of Belgium, Cryptomeria groves in Japan, groves of fruit trees in Italy and North Africa, and tree peonies in the Orient. They planted a weeping willow at the time of the birth of each of their sons.
A long hedge of Beach Plums by the gate to the beach is a favorite. Native wildflowers have naturalized since the 1960’s. Convinced by the book “Silent Spring”, they have used no pesticides or chemical fertilizers, relying on a large compost pile, companion planting, and beneficial bugs. The priority has been making a haven for birds, butterflies, bees, small mammals and reptiles, as well as a safe and happy, non-polluted area for people and animals. Plants have been chosen for the food and shelter they provide, and some spaces are being maintained as thickets; berries are as important as flowers; understory trees are planted under high canopies; and hedges, ledges, and water in ponds, streams and rock basins, are kept as natural as possible.
The gardens have been designed to be enjoyed by both adults and children, as well as to be places of memory and reflection for those who loved them and to inspire future gardeners. Paths through the gardens, benches beside them, and birdhouses above them reveal vistas and focal points for these gardens based on its granite ledges and original New England Cedars.