Breeze Hill

Description

Situated on two and a half acres, the Breeze Hill estate in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania was home to J. Horace McFarland (1859-1948), an avid gardener, leading proponent of the City Beautiful Movement, and environmental preservationist. Planting began in 1909 by McFarland. The informal garden rooms were made up of contoured beds. Over many years of planting, re-planting, testing new cultivars and replacing unsuccessful specimens it is estimated that more than 5,000 rose plants comprising 800 varieties were grown by McFarland. Although best known for roses, the garden at Breeze Hill also grew native plants, beds of spring bulbs, peonies, lilac and mock orange borders, and a lily pond.

Known as 'Doctor Rose,' J. Horace McFarland was president of the American Rose Society (1930-1932) and helped to transform it from a growers’ trade association to a venerable public institution, with the slogan “A rose for every home, a bush for every garden.” He was editor and publisher of American Rose Annual and American Rose Magazine (1916-1943), and established the generally-accepted rose identification and registration method. Breeze Hill’s gardens were used as trial sites for new rose cultivars. The 'Peace' rose, a French cultivar hybridized by Francis Meilland that was sent out of that country for safekeeping during World War II, was planted at Breeze Hill and popularized by the American Rose Society.

McFarland was an innovator in producing and printing color photography, and his company was pre-eminent in printing flower and seed catalogs, and other horticultural work. He produced about 50,000 photographs of specimen blooms or displays from his own garden and elsewhere that were made available for reproduction.

As president of the American Civic Association, McFarland promoted the "City Beautiful" movement in cities across the nation. He believed that "great parks are in the highest degree...a sheer expression of democracy" and could remedy many of society's ills. McFarland was also an advocate for the preservation of the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, and the creation of the National Park Service.
 
 

Photos Show

Breeze Hill garden 1932

Breeze Hill garden 1932

McFarland's garden at his home, Breeze Hill, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 1932. Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, J. Horace McFarland Collection. [View Additional File Details]

Garden pathway with parterre

Garden pathway with parterre

Breeze Hill garden pathway with parterre, circa 1930. Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, J. Horace McFarland Collection. [View Additional File Details]

Elevated view of Breeze Hill

Elevated view of Breeze Hill

Elevated view of Breeze Hill, circa 1930. Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, J. Horace McFarland Collection.
[View Additional File Details]

Woman by arbor of 'Mary Wallace' roses

Woman by arbor of 'Mary Wallace' roses

Woman with a parasol standing by an arbor of climbing 'Mary Wallace' roses, June 1933. Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, J. Horace McFarland Collection. [View Additional File Details]

House and gazebo 1912

House and gazebo 1912

Breeze Hill house and gazebo, April 1912. Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, J. Horace McFarland Collection. [View Additional File Details]

Vegetable garden circa 1930

Vegetable garden circa 1930

Man working in vegetable garden at Breeze Hill, circa 1930. Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, J. Horace McFarland Collection. [View Additional File Details]

Woman with 'Emily Gray' roses 1923

Woman with 'Emily Gray' roses 1923

A woman with yellow roses (climbing 'Emily Gray') at McFarland’s Breeze Hill gardens, 1923. Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, J. Horace McFarland Collection. [View Additional File Details]

Climbing Orleans roses 1926

Climbing Orleans roses 1926

McFarland's climbing Orleans roses at his home Breeze Hill, June 1926. Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, J. Horace McFarland Collection. [View Additional File Details]

Snow-covered garden gate 1921

Snow-covered garden gate 1921

Snow-covered garden gate at Breeze Hill, 1921. Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, J. Horace McFarland Collection. [View Additional File Details]

 J. Horace McFarland 1943

J. Horace McFarland 1943

J. Horace McFarland looking over Mary Wallace roses in his garden, 1943. Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, J. Horace McFarland Collection. [View Additional File Details]

Garden Website

gardens.si.edu/collections-research/aag.html

Cite this Page

Smithsonian Gardens, “Breeze Hill,” Community of Gardens, accessed November 27, 2020, https:/​/​communityofgardens.​si.​edu/​items/​show/​42.​
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