Between 1914 and 1950, Ellen Shipman (1869–1950) designed more than 600 gardens in the United States, from Long Island’s Gold Coast to the state of Washington. Her secluded, lush formal gardens attracted a clientele that included Fords, Edisons, Astors, and du Ponts. Shipman’s imaginative approach merged elements of the Colonial Revival and Arts and Crafts movements with a unique planting style enlivened by Impressionistic washes of color.
In Ellen Shipman and the American Garden author Judith B. Tankard describes Shipman’s remarkable life and discusses her major works, including the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens in Jacksonville, Florida; Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens in Akron, Ohio; Longue Vue House and Gardens in New Orleans, and Sarah P. Duke Gardens at Duke University. Richly illustrated with plans and photographs, the book explores Shipman’s ability to create intimate spaces through dense plantings, evocative water features, and classical ornament. Tankard also examines Shipman’s unusual life, which was enriched by her years in the artists’ colony of Cornish, New Hampshire, and her association with the architect Charles A. Platt. Shipman was notable for establishing a thriving New York City practice and mentoring women in the profession. Many of the assistants she trained in her all-female office went on to become successful designers in other parts of the country.