You’d be surprised by how little has changed in our formal gardens since they were first featured in House & Garden Magazine as part of Harry Connelly Groome’s private estate back in 1907. Most notable are the stately boxwood hedges—a favored choice in classical garden architecture—that edge the formal gardens’ pathways in almost fanatical precision.
Other historical treasures to seek out in your formal gardens stroll include an unassuming birdhouse, a bird basin imported from Italy and—right in the center of it all—a sun dial set upon a stone pedestal inscribed with “Lux et umbra vicissim sed semper fortitudo” which translates to “Light and shadow in turn but always a strength.”
Tucked into a secluded corner of Airlie’s expansive front lawn is the butterfly garden, which was dedicated to Roger Tory and Virginia Peterson on Earth Day in 1995. The Petersons were renowned naturalists and field guide authors—in fact, Roger Tory developed the Peterson System for identifying animals.
In this tranquil setting, you can wander beside a babbling brook and along natural stone walls. Or simply relax in the gazebo—a focal point in the garden—as you count the butterflies fluttering by, attracted by the flora planted here.
The Airlie Berkshire Farm isn’t the only source for the freshness on your plate. Planted in 1998, our four-acre organic farm annually grows about 4,500 pounds of fresh vegetables and herbs—including rosemary, mint, sage, dill, fennel, cilantro, lavender and thyme, among others—all pollinated by several colonies of local honeybees.
The organic garden’s harvest extends beyond Airlie’s kitchen. This spot is also home to 20 community plots, where local residents and organizations grow food for their own tables. But you don’t need to be a farmer to visit the organic garden. Resort guests are welcome to arrange a group tour to learn about sustainable agriculture or just roam the rows on their own.