The Garden Landscape Guide

Blithewold Gardens

Blithewold Gardens overlook Bristol Harbor and Narragansett Bay. They were designed for a coal magnate (Autustus van Wickle) by landscape architect John DeWolf between 1896 and 1913. The garden has herbaceous borders, shrubs and trees. DeWolf, one of Olmsted's assistants on Prospect Park, designed the Bosquet, a nut grove and a Moon Gate.

Head Gardener's Comment

Blithewold Mansion, Gardens and Arboretum 101 Ferry Road, 401-253-2707. Originally the summer home of Pennsylvania coal baron, Augustus Van Wickle, the property includes a 45-room English manor style mansion and 33 acres of landscaped grounds. Blithewold is a true Arboretum consisting of over 300 different tree species and more than 2,500 herbaceous plants, including a 30 foot tall stand of bamboo. Blithewold is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and one of New England's best-preserved estates.

Plants of note

100 year old sequoia

Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum, 101 Ferry Road, Bristol, Rhode Island, USA, RI 02809

The grounds and gardens are open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily year-round with admission. The mansion is open to tour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays to Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays, mid April to Columbus Day and during the month of December. Call for a holiday schedule. The gift shop is open on the same schedule as the mansion.

Admission for the mansion and gardens: Adults $10, seniors, AAA $9 full time students $8, children 6-17 $2, free for children under 5 or members. Group tour packages are available. Check for a complete list of family friendly programs and exhibits.

Visit the Blithewold Gardens website

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  • about 6 years by Karen 5 / 5

    As far as I'm concerned this is one of the premier garden properties in the Northeast. Located directly on Narragansett Bay, the series of gardens, open spaces, scenic views, special seasonal displays, an ever-changing experimental garden, and interesting architecture make this a must-visit. Grounds' and buildings' upkeep is kept to a high standard, and the estate exudes an atmosphere of serenity and a special loveliness.

    The arboretum is unusual and well-known. Plants are labelled. The main house is open 3 seasons of the year and the grounds are open daily, I believe.

    Plantsmen and women will be especially enthralled.

    The nearby town of Bristol has much to offer.

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Moon Gate in the Rose Garden Photograph © our online photos