The garden was not to be distinctly Italian nor French nor English. It was to be Yaddo.
– Katrina Trask, 1905
The Yaddo Gardens are free and open to the public year-round, from dawn to dusk, with the exception of Travers Day during the racing season; on Travers Day, typically the last Saturday in August, the gardens are closed.
Spencer Trask gave the Yaddo Gardens as a gift to his wife Katrina in 1899. Though the Trasks consulted landscape architects and gardening manuals, the design was theirs alone. Here, as elsewhere on the estate, the Trasks showed themselves to be restless experimenters.
The gardens are situated on lower and upper terraces divided by a pergola. The lower part, which includes the Rose Garden, is more formal, and reflects Italian and French Renaissance influences. The upper part, located above and beyond the pergola, is a woodland rock garden, a style that came into fashion in the late nineteenth century. Both gardens have fountains.
The Trasks stipulated that the Yaddo Gardens be open for the enjoyment of the public. However, by the 1980s, harsh weather and episodes of vandalism—even theft—had taken a toll. In 1991, Saratoga Springs resident and Yaddo board member Jane Wait founded the Yaddo Garden Association. Under her leadership, the all-volunteer association brought the gardens back to life and raised funds to restore statuary and ornaments. The YGA remains a vibrant part of the Yaddo community.
The Gardens are among the most popular attractions in Saratoga Springs and receive over 50,000 visits annually. We are deeply appreciative of the YGA, as well as the students in the area BOCES program, for their efforts.
To learn more about the Gardens, please consult the following articles:
Patti Croop, “Gardens of Delight,” Hudson Valley (1999): 27-29.
Theresa St John, “When a Child Names a Garden,” Historic Gardens Review (2016): 14-18.
Katrina Trask, “The Garden of Yaddo,” Country Calendar (1905): 708-711.