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Durfee Gardens


Sunderland Veterans’ Memorial and Park

Durfee Gardens

A Strolling Garden

A Plastic Garden

A Kettle Hole Garden

Bartlett Court

The James Rose Center

Private Access

Clark's Passage

Complete List of Projects

nce this entire campus was a garden; its original conservatory an elegant Victorian structure, and the conservatory's surroundings a functional and beautiful grid of orchards, fields and vineyards. Rapid unplanned growth in the 1960s resulted in a campus of leftover spaces.

he plan for Durfee Gardens, organized along the historic agricultural principle of the grid, removed the clutter and utilized existing ancient trees as part of the fabric of a new landscape. It recaptured lost space by strengthening pedestrian corridors and created along them a series of five contemporary interlocking garden spaces inspired by historic agricultural and landscape typologies.

he area nearest the conservatory is an entry courtyard and adjacent prospect overlooking a glade. Here flat stones from the nearby Berkshire Hills and round stones from the Connecticut River Valley define the path, composing with an existing beech and spruce; as well as with new plantings of birch and mountain laurel.

he glade contains ten different types of turf grasses, as well as over forty species of perennials on its borders. Pressed slightly into the earth and surrounded by sociable niches, the glade is further articulated by eleven eighteen foot tall translucent trellises upon which pink wisteria and morning glory twine.

orth of the glade is an orchard. It resolves automobile and pedestrian conflicts by replacing a redundant roadway and a traffic island with a series of capillary pedestrian paths. These are defined by newly-planted dwarf apple trees which are being trained to grow on cables; thus demonstrating contemporary methods of fruit production, while garlands of sweet autumn clematis herald the return of students to campus in the Fall.

he translucent quality of the conservatory is echoed by screens that highlight members of an ancient grove while defining edges to a contemplative meditation garden.

The screens help reveal what has been here all along, and provide a sense of being connected to the earth, plants and light.

n winter, the colorful trellises light up the campus landscape.

The space-defining screens continue to reveal a play of light, now at its lowest angles in relation to snow and rock compositions.

Overall, the garden can be seen as a subtle expression of the interplay between the characteristics of the changing landscape and its defining edges.

Durfee Gardens has been recognized by numerous awards, including the American Society of Landscape Architects only Honor Award for design in 1995. It has also been published in numerous periodicals and books, including the ASLA’s centennial One Hundred Years of Landscape Architecture (1999).

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