Longue Vue in New Orleans: A Garden Full of Flavors
Designed by Ellen Biddle Shipman and considered to be one of her most intact works, Longue Vue is a destination garden when visiting the Big Easy.
“Design, greenery, and privacy” are the three essential characteristics of a real garden, as cited by Longue Vue House and Garden’s landscape architect Ellen Biddle Shipman in a 1930 interview. Located in New Orleans, Louisiana and built by community leaders Edgar and Edith Stern, Longue Vue is a living example of Shipman’s irrepressible attention to detail. The house and garden were designed from 1935-1950, at the end of the Country Place Era, purposefully flowing seamlessly together with stunning garden views from every room. Shipman’s work at Longue Vue included a strong influence on the design of the house itself and all of the interior design. In the garden, she possessed a keen understanding of how to successfully create the experience of individual garden rooms with an ease and expressive romanticism that made her stand out amongst her more formal contemporaries. Out of over 600 garden designs, Longue Vue is today considered to be her most intact work.
Shipman led an all-woman practice in New York, actively advocating for women’s rights in a trade that was dominated by men at the time.
Visit Longue Vue:
Open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. 7 Bamboo Road, New Orleans, LA 70124
Visit www.longuevue.com for tickets and more information.
The Moorish flavor of this garden was inspired by the 14th century Generalife Gardens at the Alhambra in Grenada, Spain and completed in 1969. The formal boxwood parterres complement the fountains and intricate mosaic sidewalks decorate the footpaths. This spacious greensward is used for the annual Easter egg hunt, yoga and painting classes for children, fundraisers, and the occasional fencing competition. Surrounding trees include crepe myrtle, Japanese magnolia, live oak and Brugmansia.
Proud live oaks in the allee’ have been cabled and pruned to form a cathedral arch that sets off the west façade of the house. Planted in 1941, the holes dug for planting the already mature trees were over 6’ deep.
Docent Sue Barton has given house tours for over 22 years and created flower arrangements for the house for 10 years. Here, she gathers Louisiana iris blooms. Longue Vue’s iris collection contains over 3,000 plants and produces an incredibly colorful show March through mid-April. The presence of the rust colored wild iris, Iris fulva, brings forth the possibility of endless variation of color in natural and man-made hybrids.
Shipman designed the Pigeonnier, or dove-cote, in 1940 as a charming focal point in the Wild Garden. Visitors often sit inside to enjoy views of the pond. This garden contains plants indigenous to the gulf south, and serves as a classroom each month during the nativeNOW plant appreciation program, which inspires use of native plants in the urban landscape.
Plants include native shrubs and trees; silver bells, cypress, buckeyes, pines, holly, viburnum, oak leaf hydrangea, wild azalea, beautyberry and many native wildflowers including indian pink, rudbeckia, Mexican hat, hibiscus, milkweed and echinacea.
The terraced Goldfish Pond is surrounded by tropical plantings including the amusing Farfugium gigantea, peacock ginger, maidenhair fern, butterfly ginger, azaleas and nandina. This was the first landscaped area of the site, in 1923. It serves well as a spot for reflection and wildlife observation.
This shady, rectilinear space was inspired by the Quinto do Cabo near Lisbon, Portugal, and designed by one of the architects of the home, William Platt. It offers a cool spot to enjoy a distanced view of the house. Plantings include azaleas, Loquat, sweet olive, Japanese yew and Magnolia grandiflora.
The plantings in Longue Vue's Wild Garden are informed by the historic friendship between Edith Stern and Caroline Dormon, an expert and advocate for the preservation and appreciation of Louisiana native plants, using indigenous trees shrubs and wildflowers to bring to life a garden designed by Ellen Biddle Shipman.
Original plans for the gardens drawn by Ms. Shipman in 1938-1939 detail the intricacies of her work.
Students of Longue Vue's Cultivating Communities program harvest shallots and mustard greens in Longue Vue’s Walled Garden.
Originally used as a victory garden during WWII by the Stern Family, this space continues to yield a colorful variety of edibles. During the school year, students of the Cultivating Communities program participate in hands-on gardening and classroom sessions involving botany, horticulture, marketing and philanthropy.
Longue Vue staff works with the students to grow vegetables and herbs that they sell at the neighborhood farmers markets and directly to chefs. At year’s end, the students donate their earned funds to a non-profit of their choice.