The secret gardens for the rich and famous
Palm Beach, Florida/USA. (2015) – Whenever I am in Palm Beach I love to cruise with my car up and down Royal Palm Way, a beautiful street surrounded by dozens of elegant palm trees, clean and rich looking bank buildings and pricey condominiums. The beauty of this famous piece of land lets you automatically slow down. There is no way you can drive there without enjoying what you see and admiring especially these very special palm trees along the way. It’s not a long ride on Royal Palm Way which leads from South Ocean Boulevard in the east to the Royal Palm Bridge in the west, one of the few connections from Palm Beach to the main land West Palm Beach. But it’s a very enjoyable one and such a treat for the eyes. It was my very good friend Gladys who showed
me this spring that there is so much more to see on Royal Palm Way. The Michigan “snow bird” turns every year into a local in Palm Beach for some month, calls a beautiful place her second
home and knows therefore best where to go and what to do. “Bring your camera, today I will
show you something very special”, she said and revealed one of the many hidden gems she knows about in Palm Beach. Hidden behind walls, on the west end of Royal Palm Way and right before the big Royal Palm Bridge there it was: The Four Arts Gardens, a beautiful place which hardly anyone knows, except the members, friends and visitors of the “Society of the Four Arts”.
The Four Arts Gardens –
A place of incredible beauty and serenity
Almost 80 years ago, in 1938, the Garden Club of Palm Beach planted seven small demonstration gardens on the grounds of the non-profit organization “Society of the Four Arts”. The intention was to help new arrivals to South Florida gardening in the state’s tropical climate. The seven garden represent and illustrate seven different styles of landscaping and provide information on drought and heat tolerant plants.

Today the gardens are much more than only a source of information for gardeners. Also because of the incorporation of the Philip Hulitar Sculpture Garden, The Four Arts Gardens became a place of incredible beauty and serenity. The setting of the gardens is beyond beautiful. Plants, fountains, almost pedantically tended lawn everywhere. Walkways lead to secluded corners with little benches, blossoms as far as one can see. Right in the middle of the area charms a beautiful little pavilion. Even though the seven gardens are more or less a secrete hidden gem, there are plenty people around using the park to get artistically inspired, they draw and paint, photograph the huge variety of flowers and trees or just sit side by side on a bench in one of the secluded areas, enjoying the romantic and harmonious feeling these gorgeous piece of land emits.

The “Society of the Four Arts” is very easy to find, coming from east, right before the Royal Park Bridge leads the “4 Arts Plaza” on the right hand side right to the parking area of the Society’s property. The gardens are open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., free of charge, don’t be late, gates are closed on time!

The Garden Club of Palm Beach created a botanical gem – 
Seven model gardens planned by seven people
The homepage of The Society of the Four Arts gives insights into the founding history of the gardens. Originally planned by seven society ladies and one gentleman the gardens were finally planted in 1938. Each of the founding members took on one project: Mrs. J.S. Phipps built a Spanish façade to demonstrate plantings suitable for a Spanish-style house. Mrs. Joseph F. Gunster created a moonlight garden of white-blooming vines and shrubs. Mrs. Clifford V. Brokaw landscaped an area suitable for a colonial-style house; Mrs. Lorenzo Woodhouse designed a beautiful Chinese garden as a memorial to her daughter. Mrs. Hugh Dillman planted a rose garden; Dr. LeRoy Dow, a jungle garden, and Mrs. Alfred G. Kay used a wall fountain with a Madonna sculpture as a focal point for a garden of small tropical fruit trees.

In the 1950s the gardens’ architectural features were improved, to relate the garden’s separate elements more closely to one another, and to create a master plan which included many rare specimen plants. In summer of 2004, the hurricanes Frances and Jeanne destroyed the Four Arts Gardens which lead to a major reconstruction project. The gardens were re-opened to the public in spring of 2007.

The Society of the Four Arts makes culture and knowledge accessible to the public
The Society of the Four Arts was founded in 1936 by a prominent group of Palm Beach residents to meet the cultural needs of the growing resort community. Its goal was and still is to encourage an appreciation of art, music, drama and literature through the presentation of notable exhibitions, concerts, lectures, films and the maintenance of a library. The Gallery building designed by architect Addison Mizner was modernized and now contains galleries and an auditorium to accommodate art exhibitions, concerts, lectures and films. The Gallery building is open from December through mid-April.
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