Built for successful Chicago commodities trader Henry Rumsey in 1911-1912, the historic, eight-acre Rumsey Estate boasted gardens designed by famed landscape architect Jens Jensen, the founder of the Prairie Style. The English Manor home was designed by renowned architect Charles Coolidge (of the Boston-based firm Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge), who also designed Stanford University (1891), the Chicago Public Library (1893), and the Art Institute of Chicago (1896).
After the Rumseys moved to Chicago in the late 1920s, the estate changed hands several times. The current owners have begun an extensive restoration of the property that is sensitive to its history. Kettelkamp & Kettelkamp, landscape architects, redeveloped the gardens and parts of the ravine—a defining feature of the landscape—being respectful of the original Jensen design yet mindful of the property’s evolution.
The landscape immediately adjacent to the house and swimming pool reflects the wild, untamed quality of the English Picturesque style. This area includes the parterre gardens, lawn, perennial border, koi pond, viewing circle, and spa grotto. The woodland periphery of the estate evokes the naturalistic themes introduced by Jensen in several places, including the Front Woodlands, a collection of native trees, shrubs and perennials; the Mayflower Ravine, with a signature Jensen ‘council ring’ and indigenous ravine plants; and the meadow (called the “The Clearing”), carpeted in native sedge grasses and prairie perennials.
The tour will begin under a patio tent with the owner giving an overview of the estate’s design. Landscape architects Ryan Kettelkamp and David Lawrie (of Kettlekamp and Kettlekamp) will discuss Jens Jensen and interpreting his landscape. Project arborist David Story, of Bartlett Tree Experts, will describe the extensive tree work, and landscape architect Steve Fiore, of Rocco Fiore & Sons, will explain the landscape construction. After some Q&A, the practitioners involved in the project (Ryan Kettelkamp, David Lawrie, Rocco Fiore, and Steve Fiore) will lead small groups through the gardens and ravine.
After the tour, guests will gather on the patio to enjoy appetizers and refreshments.
To read the biographical profiles of the experts contributing to this Garden Dialogue, click here.
2.5 LA CES™ Professional development hours will be available to attendees.
Thanks to the generosity of our hosts and sponsors, tickets for Garden Dialogues are tax-deductible, and proceeds benefit the educational programs of The Cultural Landscape Foundation.
Cancellations and Refunds will be granted according to the following schedule: Up to two (2) weeks in advance: 90% (Deduction represents administrative processing fees) Less than two (2) weeks in advance but up to seven (7) days prior: 70% No refunds will be made for cancellations seven (7) days prior to event No refunds will be made for “No Shows” (a person who registers for a program but who does not cancel registration or attend the program). Refunds will be processed as they are received or after the conclusion of the program, depending on the program date and when cancellation occurs. Refunds may take five (5) to seven (7) business days to process.