A LANDSCAPE DISTINGUISHED BY FIVE GENERATIONS
For much of its history, the Rosedale property was primarily used in a utilitarian manner. Hundreds of acres provided food for those living on the property, and timbering provided income. From the over two hundred years of utilizing the property, there is living evidence from all five generations of families that have resided here: the Frews, Caldwells and Davidsons. They left their mark developing the site as a sustainable property and an environment of beauty and pleasure. From boxwoods planted when the house was completed in 1815, to garlic that still sprouts from one hundred years ago, to the blooming of Mrs. Davidson’s favorite rambling rose, ‘Dorothy Perkins’, planted in the 1950s, the charm of the gardens is enhanced by the five generations that have left their imprints on the landscape.
As one enters the grounds, the diversity of trees, shrubs and plants is wondrous. A vision of large shade trees, exotic shrubs from the orient, and old-fashioned fruit trees hint of the past. Some are Treasure Trees and some have stories which we hope we can share with you.
Strolling through the grounds, the most visually impactful area is the formal gardens. The grandest formations of the gardens began in 1914, when the newly-married Mrs. Louise Heagy Davidson arrived as the lady of the house. She decided to make her mark on the property by creating formal gardens in the colonial revival tradition, as well as bringing the beauty of roses to Rosedale. By the 1950s, Louise had developed three conjoining gardens. All of these gardens were edged in boxwood that Louise rooted from the original two-hundred-year-old boxwood of Archibald Frew. At one point in time 3,000 boxwood adorned the property. Louise’s daughters Mary Louise Davidson and Alice Caldwell Davidson Abel describe how their mother’s energy and determination for the gardens surged after the death of their father, as a way to deal with her grief. Today, Historic Rosedale is continuing the tradition by maintaining and expanding the gardens for the future.