A Visit to Halcyon

On Sunday October 5, 2015, supporters of the Phillips Collection visited a collection of gardens and estates on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Included on this tour was Halcyon, located on the Tred Avon River near Royal Oak, Maryland. Halcyon is the country home of long-time OvS clients Arturo and Hilda Brillembourg.

Hilda greeted the group on the veranda, which boasts commanding views of the Tred Avon. She gave a brief talk on the process of finding the property, working with the architect and OvS. She describes the garden as “the dance of the seven veils.” Hilda also regaled guests with many anecdotes of her good friend, OvS Founding Principal Jim van Sweden, who had passed away almost exactly one year ago to the day. OvS Principal Eric D. Groft spoke briefly about the collaboration with the Brillembourgs and how the property has evolved over the 15 years since the garden’s construction. Using a rendered plan of the garden, Eric described the design and construction process. He then led guests on a garden tour, stopping briefly along the way to describe the secret garden off the master bedroom, the elliptical vanishing edge pool and the radiating brick and bluestone terrace. The tour continued through the formal cutting garden, past the tennis court and several pieces of outdoor sculpture, wind up at the whispering pines on the point of the peninsula.

On the way out, guests toured the recently renovated guest house known as “The Woods.” A collaboration between Architect Salo Levinas (of Shinberg Levinas) and OvS, the garden features a fresh water pond with fountains, boardwalk, and pergola on the rear veranda.