Ellen Shipman and the American Garden

Judith B. Tankard


LALH/University of Georgia Press, forthcoming

Winner of the American Horticultural Society Book Award

LALH is at work on a revised edition of the classic LALH book, which has been out of print for several years.

The first edition, published in 1996, introduced a generation of garden lovers to Ellen Shipman (1869–1950), a Philadelphian who discovered her remarkable talent for landscape design in the artists’ colony in Cornish, New Hampshire. Beginning her career as a hands-on gardener, Shipman received drafting instruction from Charles Platt. Soon she was collaborating with Platt, Warren H. Manning, and other  designers, who incorporated her sumptuous flower borders into their estate layouts.

The scope of Shipman’s practice and garden-making grew as she set up her professional office in New Hampshire. In the early 1920s she moved to New York City, where she attracted clients throughout the United States, eventually recording more than 650 commissions. Judith B. Tankard’s award-winning book was the first to present Shipman’s achievements and in doing so illuminated a neglected topic: women and American landscape architecture.

In response to the popularity of Tankard’s book and its increasing scarcity, LALH is planning an updated edition that will cover several gardens designed by Shipman that were discovered as a result of the original edition–the Italian garden at the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens (Jacksonville, Fla.), for example, and Tranquillity Farm (Middlebury, Conn.). The revised edition will also feature an expansive new design and additional color photographs.

JUDITH B. TANKARD is a landscape historian, preservation consultant, and the author or coauthor of several illustrated books on landscape history. She taught at the Landscape Institute, Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University for more than twenty years.

Photograph of Tranquillity Farm by Carol Betsch, 2015.

“Fascinating, historic, poignant.”

The New York Times

“It is a handsome book, valuable not only to historians and garden designers, but also to every garden maker. The details and explanations offered by Tankard reveal much of the garden designer’s art.”
—George Waters, Pacific Horticulture