History of the Gardens
The breathtaking art inside Philbrook can hardly be separated from the breathtaking nature surrounding it. A trip through the gardens leaves a lasting impression on young and old alike.
The original garden designs were a collaborative effort between S. Herbert Hare of Hare & Hare, Landscape Architects & City Planners and Edward Buehler Delk, architect, both of Kansas City, Missouri. Working in tandem with Delk, Hare created a design for Villa Philbrook that combined Italian, English and French garden iconography and featured plants native to the area. The strict geometry of the triple-ramped, walled and gated garden stretches past the balustrade walk, grotto and mirror pond into an area of repose, where the gracefully scaled tempietto marks a point of termination. Beyond the special hierarchy of the formal garden lies the pastoral grove. In their scheme for Villa Philbrook, the architects were clearly inspired by Villa Lante, an Italian country estate north of Rome designed by Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola in 1566.
In 2002, Howell & Vancuren completed plans for a major garden renovation with the approval and support of Elliot Phillips, son of Waite and Genevieve Phillips. This new era in the life of Philbrook’s gardens was completed in 2004, creating a lush, fresh look for a botanical treasure and true work of art.