In 1903, the first landscape architect involved with the Cummer family was Ossian Cole Simonds who prepared a landscape plan for the Wellington Cummer grounds and those of their son Arthur and wife Ninah, who lived next door.
Simonds’ projects included parks, residences, college campuses, and cemeteries throughout the United States, particularly the Midwest. His conceptual plan for the Cummer family compound was drawn up in 1903, but the plan offered little acknowledgement of Florida’s special climate of plants and primarily served as groundwork for the younger generation of Cummers to develop their individual, more personal garden domains.
Mr. and Mrs. Cummer began collecting outdoor sculptures and other ornaments for the English garden, and her garden contains several notable pieces by William Mercer, a sculptor and craftsman known for his sculpted and cast concrete works. When she became interested in adding a wall fountain to her garden, Mrs. Cummer contacted the Olmsted firm with whom she had worked on earlier garden projects.
Mrs. Cummer’s gardens were her own personal work of art. She took extensive artistic license in creating the gardens, and planted the flowers and shrubs that she personally enjoyed.
See Judith B. Tankard, A Legacy in Bloom: Celebrating a Century of Gardens at The Cummer. The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, 2008.