The Greenhouse

Adjacent to the gatehouse, the one-story greenhouse has a brick and concrete foundation with a concrete floor and a frame of glass, wood, and iron.

Estate greenhouses usually supplied flowers and plants for the owners’ rooms and terraces. Edith Wharton also depended on her greenhouse for the arrangements she submitted at flower shows. In 1904 she won one first prize, five second prizes, and two third prizes at the Lenox Horticultural Society’s Annual Exhibition. In 1905 she received seven first prizes. Although many of the flowers must have come from her outdoor gardens, the Marguerite carnations that she included each year would have been cultivated in the greenhouse.

During a 1905 Christmas visit to the Vanderbilt chateau, Biltmore House, in Asheville, North Carolina, Edith “found much to interest her in the expansive shrubberies and nurseries which she explored.” In The House of Mirth, Judy Trenor complains to Lily Bart that one of the guests “made Gus take her all through the glass houses yesterday and bothered him to death by asking the names of the plants.” It is reasonable to assume that guests at The Mount visited the greenhouse.

A hot water heating plant in the cellar of the potting shed provided the means to grow plants. By 1939, Carr Van Anda, the new owner of The Mount, wrote that he had spent $168 to keep the greenhouse from falling down and that $868 was necessary to put it on working order. A photograph from the late 1940s shows the greenhouse was functioning during the early days of the Foxhollow School.

Today, the restored greenhouse is rented to Rob Gennari of Glendale Botanicals, who uses it to grow plants for his landscape design business; Rob also sells plants nurtured in The Mount greenhouse at specialty plant shows throughout New England.

The greenhouse before restoration

The greenhouse before restoration

The greenhouse during the restoration

The greenhouse during the restoration

The greenhouse restored

The greenhouse restored

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