Blithewood Garden at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY

Red Hook,


United States

Blithewood Garden

Designed in 1903 by Francis Hoppin, this 15,000-square-foot, rectilinear Italianate garden is nestled into a steeply sloping lawn overlooking the Hudson River on the Bard College campus. The formal garden was intended to harmoniously complement a Beaux-Arts mansion constructed contemporaneously by Hoppin & Koen, situated atop a series of steep banked terraces. The villa and garden are oriented on the same axis and connected by a brick path that includes three separate stone flights. From the uppermost lawn terrace, which features an approximately 250-year-old black maple, visitors are afforded views of the sunken garden, the river, and the Catskill Mountains beyond. The lowest formal terrace is comprised of four turf panels and is edged by a balustraded balcony overlooking the garden.

The sunken garden is bound on three sides by brick walls with a grid of perpendicular gravel paths navigating richly planted, geometric beds. The garden is accessed via a pair of arched doorways within the north and south walls, while a staircase on the east serves as a central, axial path. Where the primary axial paths intersect, steps descend to a rectilinear fountain. The central, east-west path proceeds past a sundial and terminates at a semicircular, balustraded terrace with a columned pavilion. A pair of symmetrical pergolas draped in wisteria flank this terrace. The garden was rehabilitated in 2016 and is enlivened by a diverse planting palette, including flowering shrubs, perennials, and topiary boxwood, in addition to statues and marble ornaments.

The estate was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1979 as part of the Sixteen Mile District, and is included in the Hudson River Historic District, established in 1990.

Location and Nearby Landscapes

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