DSC_6171 copy.jpg

Miller/Edison Cottage and Shipman Garden

Location: 24 Miller Park
What's Nearby: Bell Tower and Miller Park

Physical Characteristics:  This garden was planted in 2019 and combines a diversity of perennials, shrubs and trees, as well as restored pathways, a stone terrace, (soon) small pool and bubbling fountain. Heritage Landscapes, Ellen Biddle Shipman’s gardens provide privacy and a secluded place for interaction with the surroundings. Shipman utilized an innovative mix of plants, with pronounced contrast in height, texture, shape, color and contrast engaging the emotions and avoiding “stiff accuracy.”  The incoproration of borders were to encourage a more intimate involvement with the space.  

Preservation Landscape Architects and Planners was commissioned (2017) by the Chautauqua Foundation to analyse and prepare planting plans ( trees, shrubs and perrenials) for the Miller Cottage Landscape, based on Ellen Shipman's original 1922 Garden. Betsy Burgeson, Chq's Supervisor of Gardens and Landscaping, implemented the plan in 2019. The garden will continue to evolve and fill in over the course of the season into a place of great natural beauty.

Historical Context:  Co-Founder Lewis Miller built this home, dating from 1875. It is the only structure specifically designated as a National Historic Landmark on the grounds. One of the first prefab homes: chalet-style cottage.  He arranged for the pine boards to be delivered by train to Jamestown; steamboat to Chautauqua. It was originally painted white with raspberry trim!

Mina and her 10 siblings learned to loved nature here. Encouraged to engage in all aspects of Chautauqua's cultural life, When Mina was 20 (1885) she met Thomas Edison (acquiantance and fellow inventor of her father). He taught Mina/proposed (and she answered yes) in Morse code; married 1886. Together for 45 years until his death (1931)

Mina Edison and Ellen Biddle Shipman developed plans for this garden in 1922, just two years after Mina Miller married inventor Thomas Edison. Skillfully designed, balancing formal and wild elements, the garden that surrounds the Miller Edison Cottage represents a beautiful partnership between Mina Edison and renowned landscape architect of her time, Ellen Biddle Shipman.m

Tours of the Shipman Gardens are offered to a limited number each Wednesday at 1pm. $10 tickets are sold at the Main Gate the morning of the tour with the proceeds donated to the Shipman Garden Endowment Fund of the Chautauqua Foundation.

Click images to view larger with details.



plant census under final review