Historic SteepletopGarden & Grounds
During Millay's years
at Steepletop, the farm encompassed 700 acres including a large group of wonderful gardens designed, planted and maintained by Millay herself.
Beginning in 1927 on the former site of an ancient barn, Millay used the existing stone foundations to create “exterior rooms” entered through garden doors.
Husband Eugen Boissevain and Edna St. Vincent Millay at Steepletop, late 1920s.
Daily, in good weather
and in season, she worked on making “the ruins,” as she called the site, into special areas: a walled rose garden, a rock garden of Siberian iris, an outdoor bar set on flagstone, a spring-fed swimming pool (completed in 1931), and a flat plain she called “the dingle” that, in 1935, was the site of a badminton court.
Together, she and Eugen planted stands of arborvitae near the court and by the pool, for privacy, where swimming au natural was considered the norm.
Their property included three rose gardens; a large and verdant kitchen garden; the sapping maple grove; the "dingle"; the Maine pine forest which surrounds her writing cabin; wildflower gardens; and more.
Lemon Verbena: must exert yourselves now and somewhat
against untimely frost; I have hovered you and covered you
and kept going smudges,
until I am close to worn-out. Now, you
go about it. I have other things to do.
Writing poetry, for instance. And I, too,
live in this garden.
“My favorite part of the tour was seeing the Steeplebush which abundantly bloomed along the path to the upper meadow and the tennis court area.”