The Chimneys is home to one of Frederick Law Olmsted Jr.’s finest surviving Italianate gardens. On a 1902 commission by Boston financier and philanthropist Gardiner Martin Lane and his wife, Emma, Olmsted designed the garden as a series of distinct rooms, forming sequential terraces in an architectural response to the downward sloping topography. The Water Terrace is positioned high on the oceanside bluff and features a rose-covered pergola, an ocean view shelter, and a stunning, 2800 square foot, five-pool water garden inspired by the sixteenth-century Villa Lante in Viterbo, Italy. From this elevation, a series of granite steps descends through the garden’s other rooms: a shady Overlook Terrace, a Lavender Terrace, a white-themed Tea Terrace, a substantial Vegetable Garden, a Crabapple Allée and, finally, a semi-enclosed Rose Garden.
In its prime (1906 – 1935), the Lane garden was featured in Louise Shelton’s Beautiful Gardens in America, the November 1907 issue of American Homes and Gardens, and numerous horticultural tours. By 1991, when Nola Anderson and her husband, Jim Mullen, purchased The Chimneys, the garden was in ruins, having not been maintained for nearly forty years. The garden’s renewal became Ms. Anderson’s three-decade, hands-on personal passion as she rebuilt, restored, and recreated the garden, honoring the original Olmsted intent while completing the design with historic and contemporary plantings that pleased her evolving personal taste. The renewed gardens are, once again, the centerpiece of The Chimneys estate and a vibrant extension of a family home.