Old Westbury Gardens located in Long Island City, New York City, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is the former home of John S. Phipps, his wife, Margarita Grace Phipps and their four children. Completed in 1906 by the English designer, George A. Crawley, the magnificent Charles II-style mansion is nestled amid 200 acres of formal gardens, landscaped grounds, woodlands, ponds and lakes. Westbury House is furnished with fine English antiques and decorative arts from the more than fifty years of the family’s residence.
Today, Old Westbury Gardens welcomes visitors of all ages for guided tours of Westbury House, in-depth tours of the formal gardens, school visits, children’s programs and events, family programs, museum exhibitions, classic car shows, indoor and outdoor classical and pop concerts, lectures, book signings, horticultural demonstrations and workshops, Scottish Games, botanical arts and gardening classes, and Master Gardener and Educator-led talks and tours of topics relating to horticulture, art, history, design and architecture.
The Mission, Old Westbury Gardens seeks to inspire appreciation of the early 20th century American country estate through faithful preservation and interpretation of its landscape, gardens, architecture, and collections.
When you visit Old Westbury Gardens in Long Island this spring and experience the beautiful colors throughout the landscape, you’ll see activity around Westbury House. After more than 100 years the Collyweston slate roof and terra cotta cornice of Westbury House are seriously deteriorated, endangering the fine art, furniture collections, and the Phipps Family archives. Fortunately, the Collyweston quarry in central England that furnished the original slate tiles reopened after 40 years and provided the opportunity for Old Westbury Gardens to restore the roof using original source material. In order to safeguard the contents of Westbury House during this project all the artwork, furniture, mirrors and other collections were relocated or protected in place. There will be limited access to Westbury House throughout this project and access may be determined on a daily basis.
George A. Crawley, a British artist, designer and purveyor of English taste, brought together a total concept of house and gardens in his estate design for the Phipps family.
Following the deaths of Margarita and John S. Phipps, their daughter Peggie inherited the Old Westbury estate and wished to open the gardens to the public to honor the memory of her mother and share the beauty of the grounds with others. Old Westbury Gardens officially opened as a nonprofit charity in 1959, granting access to the public to explore its 216 acres of gardens, rolling fields and woodlands.
After its first season as a public garden in 1959, landscape architect Barbara Capen was invited to redesign the border plantings of the Walled Garden for the summer, as the original bedding designs focused on plantings that bloomed during the spring and fall, the months the Phipps were in residence at Westbury House. Over the next few decades, Mrs. Capen continued to consult the horticultural staff to refine the design. Top HVAC Long Island
Today, visitors can experience the grounds and gardens, which remain largely untouched from the Phipps era, with many English-style perennials and biennials preserved. Guests are often drawn to the rare plant species—including foxgloves, delphiniums, and more that are not usually found in public gardens. These plants have been well-maintained for decades by the dedicated horticulture staff, which grow many of the herbaceous plant material right on-site in the private greenhouse, preserving the original vision of John S. Phipps’ and George Crawley.
Old Westbury Gardens has been fortunate that through efforts of public-private partnerships, much of the land surrounding the Gardens to the north has been protected due to its importance as watershed area and as home to several environmentally threatened plant species including green milkweed. In 2010, Old Westbury Gardens of Long Island City, NYC was named to the National Register of Historic Places and is noted for its architecture and landscape design.
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