Beatrix Farrand's American Landscapes

Premiered June 2020

Beatrix Farrand was responsible for some of the most celebrated gardens in the United States and helped create a distinctive American voice in landscape architecture. The film follows award-winning public garden designer Lynden B. Miller as she sets off to explore the remarkable life and career of America's first female landscape architect-Beatrix Farrand.

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About the Film

One of the pioneering women of the early 20th century was not a campaigner for women’s suffrage, or a writer, or a social reformer, but a landscape designer. Beatrix Farrand was sought after by America’s wealthiest families like the Rockefellers and the Morgans, by Ivy League universities, botanical gardens, municipalities, even the White House, and yet she also emerged as a pioneer of public space and the power of landscapes to improve the lives of all Americans.

Her iconic work combined artistic invention, classical references, and horticultural expertise. At 27 she became the sole woman founder of the American Society of Landscape Architects. Her revolutionary ideas and designs reveal an artist who helped create a distinctive American voice in landscape design.

Lynden B. Miller considers Beatrix Farrand a mentor and heroine. She is a nationally recognized landscape designer and authority on public space. Miller was the catalyst and visionary behind the acclaimed renovation of the Conservatory Garden in New York’s Central Park, the revitalization of the gardens in Bryant Park behind the New York Public Library, and the driving force behind a post-9/11 effort to plant millions of daffodils throughout New York’s five boroughs. The film revolves around a deeply personal journey, as Miller engages with horticulturists, designers and scholars to deepen her understanding of the ways in which Farrand has inspired her career in public gardens and left an enduring legacy for future generations.

Beatrix Farrand was born Beatrix Jones, to a family so prominent and envied in the social world of Gilded Age New York that they inspired the phrase “Keeping up with the Joneses.” Young Beatrix decided to defy the conventions of her class and gender and pursue a career in horticulture.

Despite fierce competition in what was then a profession dominated by men, over the next 45 years, Farrand ran one of the most highly regarded landscape firms in America. Her designs were characterized by ingenious engineering, elaborate garden structures, distinctive planting plans and a forward-thinking awareness of native ecology. Her work has inspired generations of landscape architects, designers, horticulturists and garden enthusiasts around the world.

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