See the Weld/Ellis house during ‘Garden Dialogue’

March 30, 2018
By Marcy Shortuse

■ STAFF REPORT
Dramatically sited on a sand dune, the Weld/Ellis beach house & garden in Boca Grande affords stunning beachfront views of the Gulf of Mexico. The informal winter house of sun-bleached wood was one of the early designs of architect Carl Abbott, whose buildings in Florida and the Caribbean have won numerous awards.
When the walled, seaside garden was renovated six years ago, the fountain designed by Abbott was unearthed, and a coral stone terrace was situated alongside it by landscape designer Mary Ellen Flanagan, creating a tranquil respite. Mature tropical trees and palms provide shade for an array of flowering and sculptural tropical plants, satisfying the owners’ love of plants and nature.
Guests will have the rare opportunity to tour both the seaside garden with landscape designer Mary Ellen Flanagan and the famous house with architect Carl Abbott at “Garden Dialogue” on Wednesday, April 11 from 4 to 6 p.m. After the tour, refreshments will be served on the deck overlooking the ocean. Enjoy a beverage and chat with the experts.
Carl Abbott, FAIA, studied at Yale under two of the great modernists of the twentieth century, Paul Rudolph and Louis Kahn. Abbott designed projects in Hawaii and Europe before returning to establish his office in Sarasota. The office is currently working on projects ranging from small homes to a private island estate and a large public art center. In 1970 Abbott was commissioned to design the Weld/Ellis beach house, a small project widely acclaimed for its dynamic sculptural forms open to a lush garden courtyard on the inland side and views of the crescent-shaped beach on the Gulf side. From the raised main house, the full view of water gives the feeling of a ship. A long, low guest house has views out to the courtyard with its large terrace of beach sand. Stucco garden walls continue around the site, further unifying the ensemble.
The house has been publicized around the world and recently received the AIA Florida/Caribbean Test of Time Award, which recognized it as an “… outstanding design of enduring significance.”
Mary Ellen Flanagan has most recently been creating and renovating residential gardens on Boca Grande, including the Johann Fust Library garden. She has collaborated on many residential, commercial, and historic landscapes, including the Roger Williams Park Historic Japanese Garden restoration project (a 35-acre working farm and private marina) and numerous estates. Ms. Flanagan developed the planting scheme for the interior of the glass houses at the Roger Williams Park Botanical Garden in Providence, Rhode Island. She has served on the design committee for the Providence Waterfront Park and is a former president of the Rhode Island chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects. Ms. Flanagan received her B.S. in landscape architecture from the University of Rhode Island and resides in Florida.
2.0 LA CES™ Professional development hours will be available to attendees.
Thanks to the generosity of the hosts and sponsors, tickets for Garden Dialogues are tax-deductible and proceeds benefit the educational programs of the Cultural Landscape Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Go to eventbrite.com and search the event by “Garden Dialogue 2018.”