A teahouse, formal Italianate garden, pergola, tennis lawn, and fountain can be found in the 2.5 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens surrounding Copshaholm, the Oliver Mansion. Lilies, peonies, lilacs, tulips, daffodils, dogwood, irises, and lilies-of-the-valley are some of the flowers and bushes that bloom in the Historic Oliver Gardens.
The formal Italianate garden was designed circa 1907 by Alice Neale, an interior designer who decorated the Oliver Hotel in South Bend. At one point, Neale suggested removing two large trees from the north side of the sunken gardens to give a more symmetrical look to the area. J.D. Oliver, the man for whom Copshaholm was built, preferred to keep the trees and incorporate them into the design. In time, both trees died. Since 1988, new trees have been planted, with hopes of restoring what J.D. Oliver had envisioned for his Italianate garden.
The gardens are being restored to look as they did in 1915. It is known that the Oliver family used their gardens quite extensively at this time for entertaining, and hosted many lawn socials and tennis parties. Photographs, plant orders, correspondence, and Neale’s blueprints are being used as guidelines for the rehabilitation project.
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