OLD WESTBURY GARDENS
Old Westbury Gardens is located at 71 Old Westbury Road, Old Westbury, NY, between the Long Island Expressway and Jericho Turnpike. From the Long Island Expressway, take Exit 39S (Glen Cove Road). Follow the service road east for 1.2 miles, turn right onto Old Westbury Road, and continue .4 miles to the Gardens on the left. From the Northern State Parkway, take Exit 32N to Post Avenue. Go north on Post Avenue, make a left on Jericho Turnpike (Route 25) and a right at the first light onto Old Westbury Road. The Gardens' entrance is on the right. For additional information, please write to Old Westbury Gardens, P.O. Box 430, Old Westbury, NY 11568, or call (516) 333-0048.
Old Westbury Gardens, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is the former home of John S. Phipps and his wife, Margarita Grace Phipps. Built in 1906 by the English architect George A. Crawley, the magnificent Charles II style mansion and carefully planned formal gardens and landscaped grounds were the center of this family's life.
Westbury House was the country estate of financier and sportsman John Shaffer Phipps (1874-1958) and his wife, Margarita Grace Phipps (1876-1957). Mr. Phipps was the son of Henry Phipps, a partner in the Carnegie Steel Company and a noted philanthropist. Mrs. Phipps was the daughter of Michael Grace of Kilkenny, Ireland, who, with his brother William, founded the Grace Shipping Lines in South America.
The Charles II style manor house and gardens were planned for Mr.
and Mrs. Phipps soon after their marriage by the London designer
George Abraham Crawley. With assistance from American architect
Grosvenor Atterbury and sculptor Francis Derwent Wood, the result
was an ideal setting for the gracious living enjoyed on Long
Island during the early 20th century.
In 1958, it was decided that the gardens and the house be maintained as an incorporated, non-profit institution. To this end, the central 100 acres of the estate were acquired and endowed by the J.S. Phipps Foundation in hopes of preserving the elegant charm and beauty of a bygone era.
"Pax Introentibus - Salus Exeuntibus" The Latin inscription over the entrance, "Peace to those who enter..good health to those who depart," reflects the warmth and graciousness of the Phipps family home.
Westbury House, with its grand architectural features and
generous proportions, remains virtually intact from the nearly
fifty years of the family's residence. Fine eighteenth century
furnishings and fine arts collected by the family still grace the
rooms today. These exquisite rooms and beautiful gardens became
the setting for traditions still maintained today at Old Westbury.
Eighty-eight acres of formal gardens, tree-lined walks, grand allées, ponds, statuary, and architectural follies surround the house. Considered the finest English garden in the United States, the plantings include historic varieties, new hybrids, and experimental plants. This vast profusion of blooms recaptures the essence of the garden as the family enjoyed it during the early twentieth century.
In order to preserve Westbury House and its accompanying property for future generations, Old Westbury Gardens, Inc., was formed in 1959 by those interested in preserving this unique property as a part of Long Island heritage. Open to the public, Old Westbury is partially funded by an endowment. The major portion of the operating funds from which all educational and cultural programs evolve is derived from admission fees, membership, the annual appeal, corporate and foundation grants, gifts and donations, as well as special events.
Open Wednesdays through Mondays (closed Tuesdays), 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, April 24 through October 31, including major holidays. On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, from June 25 through August 29, the Gardens will remain open until 7:00 pm (Westbury House will close at 5:00 pm). In November, open Saturdays and Sundays through November 22. Reopen December 4 through the 13 for holiday celebrations, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm.
Gardens Only: Adults $6, Seniors (age 62+) $5, Children (6-12) $3. House & Gardens: Adults $10, Seniors (age 62+) $8, Children (6-12) $6. Children under six are admitted free. All children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult while on the grounds. Members are entitled to unlimited free admission to House & Gardens except during Picnic Pops, Scottish Games and Christmas Celebration when they receive reduced rates. Group rates (25 or more) are available with reservations made a minimum of two weeks in advance.
Talks & Tours are free with admission and are held outdoors in the Gardens, weather permitting. They begin under the West Porch Beech to the right of Westbury House unless noted otherwise.
Food, Photography, Sports
The Café in the Woods offers a delicious array of soups, salads and sandwiches. Picnicking is permitted in the Picnic Area only (no fires). Still photography for personal, non-commercial use only and without a tripod is permitted in the gardens but not in the house. For wedding or commercial photography, call for rates and reservations. Sports, pets and sun bathing are not permitted.
What's in Bloom in the Gardens?
Boxwood Garden Designed in 1928, the boxwood shrubs were already
over 100 years old when they were brought from Virginia. European
weeping beech (Fagus sylvatica 'Pendula') trees flank the rose-covered
corinthian colonnade. A statue of Diana the Huntress stands in
West Pond ~ Japanese cutleaf maple (Acer palmatum 'Dissectum') and American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) are just two of the many interesting specimen trees surrounding this spring-fed pond.
Lilac Walk ~ Many old fashioned cultivars as well as newer varicolored hybrids provide a beautifully fragrant display in June. To the rear is a special cemetery for the family's favorite dogs. At the stairs, two eagles flank the walk. These were a gift from the grateful English families whose children were sheltered at Westbury House during World War II.
Walled Garden ~ A constantly changing display of seasonal color, the Walled Garden plantings change three times a year. Tulips, pansies and forget-me-nots welcome spring. Summer finds a glowing array of climbing roses, iris and delphiniums. Come fall, the garden is ablaze with hundreds of chrysanthemums. The large pool of water lilies and lotus is shaded by a treillage abloom with wisteria in June.
Palm House ~ Although not open to the public, this is part of the
propagation and nursery area, so vital to maintaining the beauty
of the gardens.
Ghost Walk & Pinetum ~ This is a replica, in hemlock, of the yew walk at Battle Abbey in Sussex where Mrs. Phipps lived as a young girl. At the end of the path stand two bronze peacocks, reminders of the actual peacocks that once roamed the gardens.
Rose Garden ~ Designed in the tradition of a 17th century parterre, the rose garden contains old and new varieties. The beds are hedged with Japanese holly (Ilex crenata 'Helleri'). In the center, an antique stone column holds a dodecahedral sun dial.
Primrose Walk ~ A rose-covered locust trellis shelters a colorful display of primroses. Interplanted with forget-me-nots (Myosotis sylvatica), and flanked by a border of Kurume and hybrid azaleas, the primroses should not be missed in early spring.
Cottage Garden ~ An English thatched cottage in miniature, this special spot was a 10th birthday gift for the owners' daughter. The three small log cabins are replicas of the playhouses built for each of the sons. The garden is a thoughtful example of an English- style cottage garden.
Grand Allée ~ A majestic planting of European linden (Tilia x
europea) and hemlock hedge, the allée may be followed north to
the Great South Lawn and Westbury House. To the south stands an
ornamental gate decorated with symbols of the hunt.
Demonstration Gardens ~ Originally planted in 1965 with the help of Better Homes and Gardens, these small gardens were created in hopes of presenting solutions to the average home gardener on Long Island. While some of the gardens have remained relatively unchanged, others have evolved over time.
Grey Garden ~ Originally planned as a sunny garden for summer
annuals, the grey garden remains very classical in appearance yet
uses new and unusual, drought-tolerant perennials.
Green Garden ~ A soothing example of low- maintenance planting, this garden is planted entirely with evergreens.
Secluded Garden ~ Although not a true reflection of a Japanese garden, a visit within offers a tranquil escape.
Vegetable Garden ~ Added in 1975, it utilizes raised beds, growing frames and plastic mulch to extend the growing season. A chemical- free, environmentally-conscious program of Integrated Pest Management is practiced.
All American Rose Selection Garden ~ Only one of 29 test sites in the country, Old Westbury Gardens evaluates newly developed roses over a two-year trial period. Those that score best throughout the country become available to the public within three years.
Perennial Garden ~ Many undiscovered or newly developed perennials of interest to the horticulturally savvy homeowner may be found here.
Autumn Walk ~ Created for a special time of year by selecting trees and shrubs known for their brilliant fall foliage.
East Lake ~ A natural, spring-fed lake, it contains "Goose Island," a favorite nesting site for Canada geese. The lake trail blooms in a profusion of naturalized daffodils in the spring.
Temple of Love ~ A popular feature in 18th century landscape
design, this small circular colonnade offers a secluded view of
Woodland Walk ~ Created in the mid-1960s, this section of forest was transformed into a moist environment for wildflowers and ferns, at their best in early spring.
Swimming Pool ~ Completed in 1918, the pool was accessible to the
family by a tunnel between it and the South Lawn. The shell
mosaics are the work of Artemis Housewright and were executed in
October 10, 1970 in 1971 volume, first issue
Dr. and Mrs. Lawrence J. Crockett