Through the Gardens

Hey there, Michaela here to brighten up your feed with beautiful images of the Glensheen estate! I am a student at UMD and I am currently interning with Collections and Marketing at Glensheen.

What’s so beautiful? Well, everything about this estate has beauty but this blog is going to focus in on three must see locations. The formal garden, vegetable garden, as well as the greenhouse.


Formal Garden

The formal garden was constructed while the house was being built from 1905 to 1908. This English style landscape was designed by the renowned landscape architect Charles Leavitt, who worked with the Charles Wellford Leavitt firm, out of New York.

Leavitt Concept Drawing of Glensheen.

Chester Congdon asked Mr. Leavitt to create an estate that was a gracious formal estate while still preserving the natural beauty of the property. Mr. Leavitt designed the grounds almost exclusively from his desk.

Installing the Formal Garden Fountain. The same style fountain used and seen today in Glensheen’s Formal Garden.

The image above is the original fountain being installed within the Formal Garden. Currently, at Glensheen you will see a fountain that was sculpted and carved in 1913 by Duluthian, George Thrana. The current fountain was carved from solid marble and delivered by a horse-drawn carriage.

Look at the detail within the marble fountain. The fish you see within the fountain are Chester fish. Originally, however, Mrs. Congdon wanted the fountain to have dolphins.

Glensheen’s Formal Garden view from the Juliet Balcony, July 2020.

Vegetable Garden

Glensheen’s Vegetable Garden is filled with more than just veggies! Chester had the vision of a self-sufficient estate to help provide for the family and staff. This vegetable garden produced many common vegetables such as corn, raspberries, currants, and gooseberries when the family lived on the estate. A portion of the harvest was preserved for Winter, in the Vegetable Cellar.

Pictured above is Glensheen’s vegetable garden and greenhouse when the Congdon’s lived on the estate. Pictured below is this year’s vegetable garden and location of the greenhouse at Glensheen now!

The current Head Gardener at Glensheen is Emily Ford. Emily and her team care for the estate grounds. Glensheen, today, grows beans, blueberries, cabbage, chives, corn, cucumbers, red currants, garlic, gooseberries, raspberries, rhubarb, squash, tomatoes, pumpkins, and much more!

Flower in Vegetable Garden. 


Walking through the Vegetable Garden you will see all of Glensheen’s luscious produce and beautiful flowers. Glensheen today, grows flowers such as delphinium, lavender, peonies, rose and much more!

Look how appetizing this looks, yum!




Greenhouse, Head Gardener in doorway.

This is the exact garden layout you see today in Glensheen’s vegetable garden, near the tennis court. Notice the sundial at the heart of the garden. The same sundial is still standing today.

This view is coming from the arch entrance on the West side of the vegetable and flower garden. So beautiful, picture perfect — literally!

Banana tree inside of the Congdon’s greenhouse, palm house room.

The Congdon’s grew a variety of fruits and vegetables on their estate, including the bananas seen above! The greenhouse was separated into four rooms: the Palm House, the Rose House, the Carnation House, and a General Growing House.

Sadly, in 1971, the Congdon family tore down the Greenhouse because of rising expenses. This glass Greenhouse required 65 tons of coal annually in order to heat properly.

Glensheen’s Vegetable Garden without greenhouse, July 2020.

If you have any other curiosities about the gardens don’t hesitate to ask a staff member when you tour Glensheen! Be sure to check out the blog Frequently Asked Questions with Glensheen’s Head Gardener: Emily Ford! If you are wanting to see Glensheen’s Vegetable Garden or Formal Garden you can visit Glensheen to purchase a grounds pass. A grounds pass is also included with a General Admission and Full Mansion tour.