The Garden Guide

Moffatt-Ladd House and Garden

The Moffatt-Ladd House and Garden are managed by the National Society of The Colonial Dames of America who explain that 'The present form of the Moffatt-Ladd garden was designed by Alexander Hamilton Ladd in the mid-19th Century. His daily records reveal that some of his plants were from the gardens of his mother and grandmother. The English damask rose was planted in 1768 by Mrs. Samuel Moffatt. The enormous horse chestnut tree, which is about 80 feet tall and 20 feet in circumference, was planted in 1776 by William Whipple upon his return from Philadelphia where he had just signed the Declaration of Independence. Known as the Tree of Independence, it was selected in the Year 2000 as The Millennium Landmark Tree for the State of New Hampshire.' In fact the style of the planting design is a blend of nineteenth century and twentieth century ideas, undoubtedly with an English flavour.

Head Gardener's Comment

The garden has been treated as a Colonial Revival garden since the New Hampshire Colonial Dames took over the house and garden in 1913. Care has been taken to preserve some of the more Victorian features of the Alexander Hamilton Ladd garden such as the grass steps and a curved pathway. There are twelve iindividual plots featuring a wide variety of perenials, herbs, and roses- the oldest rose dating back to the orignal garden of 1763. There are several notable trees the most outstanding being the huge horse chestnut tree planted by General William Whipple upon his return from signing the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Two large lawn areas are at either end of the garden and a newly restored mid-19th century coach house are available for public use.

Photograph © pineconekaty


The original garden was put in while the house was under construction in 1763. It was cared for by the succeeding Moffatt, Whipple and Ladd families until the very end of the 20th centruy. Little is know about the changes in layout to the garden prior to the late 20th century. The final family member living in the house, Alexander Hamilton Ladd, was an avid gardener known to have grown over 125 fruit trees and 60,000 tulips each season. The current layout of the garden is based on the descriptions in AH Ladd's Garden Journal.

154 Market Street, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA, NH 03801

Mid June to mid October. Daily. Open 11am (1pm on Sunday) to 5pm.

House (Guided Tour) and Garden: $6 per person. Garden Self Tour: $2. Group Rates: Please call the office at (603) 430-7968 to make arrangements.

Visit the Moffatt-Ladd House and Garden website

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