Innisfree Garden in New York’s scenic Hudson Valley is a unique, mid-twentieth century landscape of carefully designed vignettes within a larger naturalistic glacial setting. The mission of the Innisfree Foundation is to preserve the important heritage of this inspiring oasis and to share it with the public.
Created in the Hudson Valley from the 1930s to the 1990’s, Innisfree Garden merges the essence of Modernist and Romantic ideas with traditional Chinese and Japanese garden design principles. Yet it is a distinctly American stroll garden—a sublime composition of rock, water, plants and sky achieved with remarkable economy and grace.
Encompassing 185-acres of designed and natural landscapes around the serene Tyrrel Lake, this landmark is listed on the National Register of Historic Places with exceptional significance. The garden’s remarkable choreography invites exploration, contemplation, and renewal. Each visit is a unique experience of vibrant cultural and natural heritage.
“Innisfree is like no other garden—as with origami, it unfolds, surprises and delights.”
(Charles Birnbaum, President and Founder of the Cultural Landscape Foundation)
Innisfree Garden is the masterwork of landscape architect Lester Collins, FASLA (1914–1993), with important contributions by his clients, artist and teacher Walter Beck and gardener and heiress Marion Burt Beck. Collins designed Innisfree Garden to be a place of experiential art, which, according to Lester’s close friend and frequent collaborator the architect Charles W. Moore, is how humans perceive and respond to places and ideas. Open/closed, bright/dark, quiet/noisy, high/low, vast/minute, these are the building blocks for all places. Collins purposefully employed them at Innisfree Garden to bring visitors to a different place, not just physically, but emotionally and intellectually.
Collins’ sweeping landscape evolved over decades of design refinement through subtle handling of the site and slow manipulation of its ecology. By preserving the legacy of Innisfree Garden’s inspired founders, sharing poetic design, nature-based landscape practices, and engaging its community, the garden encourages visitors to connect deeply with essential qualities of nature and fundamental cultural ideas of peace, awareness and beauty.
Human Experience and Wellness: We offer an outdoor destination where people can find beauty, inspiration, mental respite, and healthy activity surrounded by art and nature.
Stewardship and Sustainability: We preserve the integrity of both the art and science of Lester Collins’ landscape design. We maintain the visual qualities of this landmark landscape and follow the sustainable, or nature-based, gardening practices that Collins developed on-site and which are central to the Innisfree Garden ethos and aesthetic. Innisfree Garden is maintained with much less labor than typical gardens require. We share these concepts and techniques that can be applied with similar effects anywhere in the world.
Authenticity and Restraint: We preserve the essence of Lester Collins’ design that draws on many traditions, including his practice as a modernist, his Quaker beliefs, and his scholarly understanding of Asian and European design history. Innisfree Garden celebrates the authenticity of natural objects and processes as well as the concepts of economy and simplicity.
Global Perspectives and Inclusiveness: Taking cues from Innisfree’s global design inspirations, we welcome and respect all individuals and celebrate cultural diversity in our programming.
Integrity: We act ethically, inclusively, and respectfully in our relationships.
Community: We contribute to the cultural life and economic prosperity of our region by offering a place for people to enjoy nature as fine-tuned by a master landscape architect.
Innisfree Foundation Trustees
Jean Parker Phifer, President
Sarah Buttrick, Vice President
James C. Cornell, Treasurer
Paul Kingsley, Secretary
Helen Warwick, Governance Officer
Lynden B Miller
Mark C. Winmill
E. Peter Krulewitch, Emeritus
George Wislocki, Emeritus
Innisfree Foundation Fundraising Disclosure Statement
Innisfree Foundation, Inc. is a New York 501 (c)(3) nonprofit corporation founded to preserve the important heritage of Innisfree Garden and to share it with the public. Innisfree Foundation, located at Innisfree Garden, 362 Tyrell Road, Millbrook, New York 12545, may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 845-677-8000. Our mailing address is PO Box 970, Millbrook, NY 12545. To obtain a copy of our annual report and audited financial statements, as well as other information about our purpose, programs, and activities, please contact us directly. Your charitable contribution to the Innisfree Foundation is tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.