SVF Foundation

SVF Lecture Series



SVF Conference Room

SVF Lecture Series

The SVF Lecture Series features topics pertaining to local farming systems, sustainable agriculture and conservation.

These events are free to the public and held at Swiss Village Farm, 152 Harrison Avenue, Newport,RI.

Space is limited and advance registration is required. Please contact Kate at or (401) 848-7229 ext. 10 to register.

Mark your calendar:

Renewal of the Blue Garden
Presenter - Sarah Vance
7PM Wednesday, August 10th 2016

The Blue Garden was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. and the Olmsted Brothers firm from 1912 – 1918, for the Newport estate of Arthur Curtiss James and his wife, Harriet. Blasted from the surrounding terrain of enormous rocky outcroppings, the garden featured a unique planting palette of blues and purples "with some whites", and shades of green foliage. The garden was hidden behind a frame of densely planted evergreen trees and flowering shrubs, keeping its horticultural riches out of incongruous conflict with the wilder irregular landscape. It was a secret garden, a hortus conclusus. The garden was opened to friends in August 1913 with a celebration called "The Blue Masque", and was heralded by numerous magazine articles and photographs in the following years. In the 1970s the property was subdivided into individual lots, one of which included the Blue Garden. By 2012, the garden was almost forgotten, subsumed under a thick covering of weeds and invasive trees. This lecture will present the story of the people whocreated the Blue Garden and how the restoration team used the original Olmsted plans to understand the original design intent and to rebuild the Blue Garden.

Sarah Vance

Before assuming the position as Director of the Blue Garden, Sarah Vance was part of the design team that developed the rehabilitation plan for the garden and supervised its construction. Her role included analyzing the original drawings and developing planting plans for the garden and surrounding planted enclosure. As Director, she works with a dedicated group of gardeners to ensure the design intent of the garden's plan and to maintain it as an accessible and sustainable landscape. She takes special pleasure in sharing the story of this once-forgotten landscape and experiencing the appreciation, surprise and delight of its many visitors. Sarah received a Master in Landscape Architecture with Distinction from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.


Please check back soon for additional dates and topics to be presented in this ongoing series.

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