It's not exactly easy to see this garden .. it's a private garden that's open to the public only one day a week in late July, August, and early September. The number of visitors is also restricted, so you must make reservations early.
I was lucky enough to see it on September 4th -- the last day of the year it was open. It's the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden in Seal Harbor, Maine, on Mt. Desert Island.
The main part of the garden was built in 1928 by Abby and her husband, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., after many inspiring trips to England and travels to Asia in the early 1920's. The garden combines both English and Asian traditions.
With help from the reknowned garden designer Beatrix Farrand, there's a central perennial garden in the English style, and an Asian "spirit path" around it. In a book about the garden by son David Rockefeller, he says his parents were greatly moved by the beauty of what they saw in China, Japan, and Korea. "Clearly," he says, "this experience motivated them to do something in Seal Harbor that would remind them of what they had seen in Asia." He adds that his mother also wanted a cutting garden filled with annuals and perennials.
After Abby died in 1948, John D. worked directly with Farrand and head gardener Roy Young to keep the garden going. David Rockefeller and his wife, Peggy, inherited the garden after John D.'s death in 1960. Peggy took over the garden and managed it for 27 years, and now, her daughter Neva Goodwin has taken on that responsibility.
It's definitely a garden you want to visit, for the riotous joy of the perennial borders and the calm solitude of the Asian areas. How lucky we all are that the Rockefellers decided to share this American garden treasure with the public several days a year.
David Rockefeller's book about the garden may be purchased at the site