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Last June the Milton Garden Club traveled to Newport, RI, for a tour of the restored Blue Garden.

Now you can “visit” this iconic garden through the eyes of Landscape Historian, Arleyn Levee, as she tells the tale of this magnificent property.

This richly illustrated book tells the story of the creation, decline and renewal of an iconic Newport garden. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. and constructed under the Olmsted Brothers’ exacting supervision between 1910 and 1913, the Blue Garden in its heyday was renowned for its unique monochromatic palette and elegant structures. As a “room” on the sizable estate of Arthur Curtiss and Harriet Parsons James, this horticulturally resplendent garden served as a focal point for Newport’s vibrant social life.

Landscape historian Arleyn Levee explores the collaborative design process of creation between the unique owners and the Olmsted firm, illuminating the story with original photographs, plans and drawings from numerous repositories across the country. She details the garden’s near loss after the owners’ deaths, and the rediscovery and determined rehabilitation of this remarkable space. The concluding section of this volume examines how historic material was analyzed and interpreted to reconstruct this garden according to 21st century standards, while retaining the integrity of the original Olmsted design intent. A full color photographic essay captures the success of this reconstruction.

Published with the Redwood Library and Athenaeum, the book is a sumptuous 208 pages, cloth-bound, hardcover with dust jacket, fully illustrated in color and in black and white. As an added bonus, included in the volume is a DVD, “Building the Blue Garden.”

The book is available at:

Redwood Library and Athenaeum
50 Bellevue Avenue
Newport RI 02840

and online at the Redwood Bookshop.

For information about visiting the Blue Garden in 2017,
please go to





The Milton Garden Club, founded in 1924, has a long- standing tradition of promoting gardening, education and community service. The Club’s annual calendar is filled with lectures, hands-on experiences, flower shows, tending of community gardens, field trips and planning and implementing our fundraisers.
Members maintain the Lily Corner, the historic Powder House, the gardens in front of the Milton Public Library, the Horse Trough, town planters and we create decorations for the Robert Bennett Forbes House. In addition, the Club maintains an historic garden designed by Fletcher Steele for Katherine Spalding, a past president of the Milton Garden Club. We have documented 9 Milton gardens for the Archives of American Gardens at the Smithsonian. A major focus of the Club’s conservation agenda is the Neponset River. Once dotted with mills and other industrial sites, the river-after much remediation- is cleaner than it has been in two centuries.  The Neponset River Educational Program was designed by our Club to educate fourth graders about the history and importance of our River through conservation. The Club has awarded grants to entities in the town that are symbiotic with our mission. In 2013 we won a Partner’s for Plants Award from the GCA to restore the Native Plant Garden at the Trailside Museum. Annual fundraisers – a greens sale- perennial sale-compost sale sustain the Club’s programs and projects and contribute to a spirit of camaraderie. We have received awards from local organizations recognizing us for many years of service. We welcome all of you to come and visit, we would be happy to show you around.