The gardener's eye

The Gardener's Eye

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The MacDowell Graves on High Street

The Entrance off High Street

View From the Street

The Moss Path with Mountain Laurel

Archway with Climbing Hydrangea with View of the Boulder

One of the Stone Seats in the Enclosing Wall

Edward and Marian MacDowell Plaque on Edward's Boulder

The MacDowell Colony, the first American artist residency program, is about a quarter of a mile up my street. Along High Street, there is a sign marking the graves of founders Edward (1860-1908) and Marian MacDowell (1857-1956). The boulder on this site was a favorite place for Edward to sit and watch the sunset behind Mount Monadnock. Since the early twentieth century, pines, hemlocks and sugar maples have grown into a forest and have blocked the view and shaded the site.

Although the mountain laurels that line the path to the graves have declined due to the competition, the shade that the trees created enhance the mood and experience. I like the simplicity of the design and the use of local stone in the walls. This may have been the first time I had seen climbing hydrangea, Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris. That archway has inspired the arches in my own garden (see June 15 post below) which I had built in wrought iron in the spirit of the design at the gravesite.

The MacDowell Colony's grounds are open to the public once each year during Medal Day in August. This year, legendary playwright Edward Albee will receive Edward MacDowell Medal which has been given since 1960 to"an individual artist who has made an outstanding contribution to his/her field." Albee will be in Peterborough to accept the award on August 14th. Many of the 32 artist's studios will also be open with the resident artist on hand to discuss and display their work.


  1. Those bare, sinuous trunks of the Mountain Laurels are stunning. A beautiful complement to the walk to the graves.

  2. I too am very fond of the use of stone Michael, and like James, the wiry Mountain Laurels caught my eye. A wonderful place to have in your neighbourhood.

  3. I agree, James and Faisal, those trunks are breathtaking. I think there is something about their sparseness that enhances the mood there. The path is a truly a carpet of moss--I may go up there now and walk it in bare feet.....

  4. I really like the simplicity of this, especially when so many other final resting places are not.

  5. Thanks, Les. I agree. I loved this space the first time I saw it over 20 years ago.



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