Twenty years ago, on a serendipitous boat cruise, Hollins Board of Trustees Chair Suzanne Smith Whitmore ’60 and her husband, John, found the house of their dreams. Located on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Langdon Farm dates from as far back as the late seventeenth century. Although the garden had “good bones,” it had been neglected for years. Working with Charles Stick, a Charlottesville landscape architect, they made a master plan that would guide them through years of restoring and renewing the several acres of ornamental and vegetable gardens.
Whitmore’s experience in her Greenwich, Connecticut, garden and with the Greenwich Greenfingers Garden Club and the Garden Club of America served her well. The blue and white English-style perennial border she loved in Connecticut moved to Maryland and expanded. Pops of yellow and orange brighten it in spring and fall. More than 30,000 daffodil bulbs have naturalized and kick off the season with a blaze. Harvests from the vegetable and cutting gardens fill the house in summer and fall.
A Midwesterner, Whitmore fell in love with the beauty of the Hollins campus when she arrived as a first-year student. She says Langdon Farm and its gardens “would not look out of place on the Hollins campus today.” Her garden was included in the 2008 book Gardens Private & Personal, published by the Garden Club of America. Photos of Whitmore’s garden are part of the GCA’s Slide Library of Notable American Parks and Gardens, housed in the Smithsonian.
Photo caption: Langdon Farm’s vegetable and cutting garden, edged by large boxwoods. Past the hedge is a field of soy and beyond that, Harris Creek. The photo, courtesy of Mick Hales, was published in Gardens Private & Personal.