Place

Terraced Gardens

A green gate in a stone wall that leads into a grassy meadow.
Weir Farm's landscape features several terraced lawns.

NPS Photo

Quick Facts

Cellular Signal, Scenic View/Photo Spot

Julian Alden Weir and his family transformed the landscape of their Connecticut farm and altered the land to suit their aesthetic tastes. Weir’s youngest daughter, Cora Weir Burlingham, was especially passionate about gardening and had an education in landscape design and horticulture. An artist of the landscape, she played a major role in completing the artistic vision of this tranquil retreat, designing and commissioning several of Weir Farm’s historic gardens, including the iconic Terraced Gardens. Today, the Terraced Gardens are a popular spot for plein air painting and picnicking.

History

During World War II, Cora Weir Burlingham maintained a large Victory Garden north of the Burlingham House where she grew a wide variety of produce. In the years following the war, this garden was phased out, and she had the Terraced Gardens south of the house constructed.

This area was used primarily for growing raspberries, strawberries, and rhubarb, some of Cora’s favorites. Remnants of a wire trellis system, used to support raspberry plants. and cold frames, used for growing plants in the winter, are still visible. Glass would cover the cold frames during the winter, hay would be laid on top to help keep the warmth in.

The small meadow surrounding the terraces held plantings of asparagus, a grape trellis and pear trees. It is likely that turf covered most of the area, and plantings were restricted to the edges.

The National Park Service works to maintain the gardens in a manner compatible with the overall historic character of the site. Cora’s family photos were used to identify plant types and locations. New plantings incorporated existing plant remnants, such as peony, yucca, spring and summer bulbs and other hardy herbs.

Weir Farm National Historical Park works with volunteers, partners, and garden clubs to continue the preservation of the park’s magnificent historic gardens. You can be part of the preservation story by becoming a Garden Volunteer! If you love gardening, spending time outdoors, or want to be part of the preservation of this National Park Service gem, join us in maintaining the beauty of your national park! To learn more about volunteering, visit the park’s website.

Weir Farm National Historical Park

Last updated: February 12, 2021