Friday, August 20, 1982
By Madeline F. Winter
STOCKBRIDGE – The lavish hillside gardens designed in 1933 by Prentiss French, nephew of the 19th-century sculptor, Daniel Chester French, were among the features John and Jane Fitzpatrick loved most six years ago when they bought the 11-acres Prospect Hill estate they now call home.
The landscaping and gardens haven’t changed much since they were established 49 years ago. Mrs. Fitzpatrick has added tulips, daffodils, crocuses and hyacinths and plans to put in some fall-blooming flowers because she likes color in the garden early and late in the season as well as in midsummer.
Otherwise, she has left of the property to Tom Farley of Cherry Street, the full-time gardener.
“He’s the one responsible for the place looking the way it does,” she said.
Farley, who has an associate degree in horticulture from the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at the University of Massachusetts, worked for the previous owner, Mrs. Stanley Loomis, and remained on when the Fitzpatricks bought the property.
Designed like rooms
The gardens are designed almost like a series of rooms, some small and enclosed, others open with magnificent views.
Opposite the vine-covered front doorway, water spurts from a sculptured fish fountain and falls to a pool below flanked by pots of pink geraniums.
Two gates at the front of the house lead to a terrace that offers a breathtaking view of the Berkshire Hills, gardens on four levels, perennial borders, a three-tiered waterfall, lily pond, summerhouse and swimming pool.
The stone walls in the architectural garden on the upper terrace came from a West Stockbridge quarry office building. Clipped yews frame a vine-covered alcove terrace on the south wall. A sculpture is recessed in the end wall and akebia, a slender vine with beautiful foliage made up of five-parted leaves and climbing hydrangeas with heart-shaped leaves cling to the north retaining wall border with hostas and peonies.
Akebia and trumpet vine cling to an outside chimney on the terrace level. The flagstone terrace, embellished with potted pink geraniums, commands views over the countryside.
The 100-foot-long, 10-foot-wide perennial garden, with a background of trimmed juniper evergreens, contains 37 varieties that produce colorful, fragrant flowers year after year.
Tall-growing phlox, with masses of flowers carried in large trusses of white and pink; white globular heads of spiny glove thistle, lythrum, with purple to pink flowers in whorls on long, leafy stems; liatrus, with flowers borne on narrow spikes above thick tufts of grassy leaves; pleasantly aromatic, bright red raggedy blooms of bee balm; strong, erect plants of yellow flowering yarrow; stonecrop, with its light green foliage; eight different-colored daylilies and white peonies are a few of the striking perennials in this beautiful garden.
Several large pedestal urns filled with pink geraniums, white petunias and vinca vines are a visual delight as one strolls from one garden to another; connected by bluestone and flagstone paths.
Opposite the perennial garden is a 5-foot-high, 200-foot-long stone wall topped by a trimmed hemlock hedge. The wall is awash with yellow when the perennial alyssum growing in the crevices is in bloom. Also tucked in among the stones are yellow sedum and mint. Shasta daisies and yellow and blue iris border the path along the wall.
Beyond the comfortably furnished summerhouse decorated with pots of pink geraniums is a vegetable and cutting garden and an 18-by-36-foot in-ground swimming pool.