Three Centuries of New England Garden History


This course will explore historic gardens in New England with a focus on Maine. We will examine gardens, whether ornamental or practical, and designed landscapes on a larger scale as cultural artifacts reflecting the needs, beliefs, values, and styles of each time period. We will look at the distinguishing characteristics of gardens, from colonial landscapes to early 20th-century designs, along with the plants and horticultural techniques that gardeners used in making and maintaining them. Many of the examples shown will be sites open to the public, offering students the opportunity to visit and make personal observations.


Recommended reading: Alan Emmet, So Fine a Prospect: Historic New England Gardens, ISBN 978-0874517743. Other readings for discussion will be sent as PDFs by the instructor.

About the Instructor

Val Libby served as Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture at Temple University. In 2004 she served as the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Landscape History in Portugal and in 2016 and 2017 presented similar classes for Acadia Senior College. She has authored numerous articles on landscape preservation and women’s history. 


Val Libby


9:30-11:30 a.m.
4-week course
Begins November 9, 2022 (no class on 11/23)



On Zoom