Rose Standish Nichols (1872 – 1960)

Perhaps even more astonishing than her splendid home is the story of Rose herself. Rose was a writer; a suffragist, and peace activist at a time when women were expected to marry. Forgoing marriage, Rose devoted herself to a career in garden design and writing. In addition, Rose dedicated herself to the pacifist movement by involving herself with the League of Small Nations and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. Upon her death in 1960, Rose left her home and its furnishings to become the Nichols House Museum.

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Garden Designs

Garden Design
by Rose Standish Nichols

Rose Standish was enthralled by the Beaux-Arts style, which is evident in her tranquil, cohesive and approachable garden designs. Rose designed approximately seventy gardens across the continental United States. While she worked in Georgia, Arizona and California, most of her work appeared in Lake Forest, Illinois. Though known more for her style than innovation, Rose was able to mimic famous gardens and make them feel at home adjacent to twentieth century architecture.

For a comprehensive listing and description of all known and attributed garden designs by Rose Standish Nichols, please click here.

The photographs reproduced in this section are courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution, Archive of American Gardens, Garden Club of America Collection unless otherwise noted.

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Rose's Books

Rose's Books
Books by Rose Standish Nichols

In addition to design, Rose wrote three books on the history of garden design; English Pleasure Gardens (1902), Spanish and Portuguese Gardens (1924) and Italian Pleasure Gardens (1928). Using pen and ink drawings, Rose illustrated her first two books with her favorite details from noted gardens. Rose's third book was illustrated with photographs taken by the author.

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Portuguese Gardens

Articles by Rose Standish Nichols

Articles Articles by Rose Standish Nichols

In addition to her three books, over the course of fifty-five years, Rose also wrote numerous articles on gardens and interior design for house and design magazines such as House Beautiful, Horticulture, and House and Garden.