Gardens at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller NHP

Formal garden at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller NHP in full bloom
Formal garden in summer

NPS Photo / Leslie Shahi

Quick Facts
Woodstock, VT
Historic four-square garden designed by Billings family
National Park

Benches/Seating, Scenic View/Photo Spot

When Frederick Billings bought the Marsh property in 1869, he immediately hired Robert Morris Copeland to design the Mansion's grounds. Copeland, a well-known Boston landscape architect, planned formal gardens encircling the house and a reconfigured front drive. He took down the white picket fence built by the Marsh family and created a much larger front lawn from former pasture land.

In keeping with the romanticism that prevailed in landscape design, Copeland created curving beds with natural lines. Billings also ordered the construction of two Adirondack-style summer houses, a Swiss cottage-style structure called a belvedere, greenhouses and a garden shed.

In 1899, Billings' widow Julia Parmly Billings retained the services of Charles A. Platt, a celebrated landscape and structural architect who summered nearby in the Cornish Art Colony in Cornish, New Hampshire. Platt added garden seats and a fountain and may have designed the terrace gardens that still exist today. In 1902, Mrs. Billings hired Martha Brooks Hutcheson, one of the first female landscape architects in America, to redesign the approach to the house. Ten years later, Ellen Shipman, who was also connected with the Cornish Art Colony, redesigned the formal plantings near the Mansion.

When Laurance and Mary Rockefeller took over the property in 1954, they hired landscape architect Zenon Schreiber, who made extensive additions to the property, including a waterfall garden and rock gardens.

Today, the gardens at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park include an azalea and rhododendron garden, rock garden, cutting garden, a hemlock hedgerow, a dense stand of Norway spruce, and many other plantings, all expressing the many-layered design and development of the gardens and grounds through four generations of dedicated stewardship.

For information on garden tours visit our Guided Tours page. For information on workshops and events in the gardens, visit our Calendar. To book the gardens for a wedding or event, visit our Permits & Reservations page. 

Marsh - Billings - Rockefeller National Historical Park

Last updated: April 8, 2023