Rock Garden in Bristol, Bristol County, United States | Garden
Welcome to the Rock Garden, Blithewold Mansion, Bristol, Rhode Island, United States. On the shore of Narragansett Bay are two unexpected and delightful Gardens. Aside from the growth of trees, little has changed in the Rock Garden over the years. Today, Blithewold?s staff and Garden volunteers maintain the Garden, as Bessie Van Wickle McKee would have, with simple plantings and sweeps of color. Our constant challenge is to grow plants that tolerate this seaside proximity, and the current mix has withstood the test of time. We have found the greatest success with sea pink (Armeria maritima), astilbe, corydalis (C. lutea), daylily, hosta, geraniums, and dwarf veronicas.
Bessie McKee designed the Rock Garden in the early 1920s. Rocks for the Garden were brought up from the shoreline by oxen, and artfully placed on and around a small existing rise, and along paths. Bessie referred to the highest point of the Garden as her ?Little Mt. Hope? after Mt. Hope in Bristol, Rhode Island. The large rock at the top of the Garden provided a great vantage point from which to view the harbor. We know from the many photographs in Blithewold's archives that Bessie and Will McKee greatly enjoyed sharing the rock and water Gardens with their family and friends.