Francis Cabot

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Francis Higginson Cabot
BornAugust 6, 1925[1]
New York, New York, U.S.[1]
DiedNovember 19, 2011 (age 86)[1]
La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada[1]
EducationHarvard College (1949)[1]
Spouse(s)Anne Perkins Cabot (m. 1949-his death in 2011)[1]
ChildrenCurrie Cabot Barron[1]
Marianne Cabot Welch[1]
Colin Cabot
Parent(s)Francis Higginson Cabot
Currie D. Mathews

Francis Higginson Cabot, CM CQ (August 6, 1925 – November 19, 2011) was an American gardener and horticulturist. He founded the nonprofit The Garden Conservancy.

Early life[edit]

In 1949, Cabot graduated from Harvard College, where he was active in Hasty Pudding Theatricals and was one of the four founders of the a cappella singing group, the Harvard Krokodiloes.[2]


After college he began constructing a garden on private property in Cold Spring, New York, above the Hudson River, beginning a lifelong passion for horticulture.[3] Cabot was appointed Chairman of the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx from 1973 to 1976. In 1989, he founded the nonprofit Garden Conservancy,[4] after noting that two-thirds of America's great gardens had been destroyed by development. The Conservancy began with "four acres of giant cactuses, succulents and native species" in Walnut Creek, California, the life's work of gardener Ruth Bancroft.[5]

The organization's Open Days program has opened more than three hundred private gardens to the public throughout the United States [6] and has been active in the preservation of seventeen important private gardens for posterity, including the rehabilitation of the gardens at Alcatraz.[7] Cabot has become renowned for his personal gardens around the world. His own garden in Cold Spring, known as Stonecrop, was opened to the public in 1992 and is now one of the premier public gardens in the United States, encompassing sixty-three acres.[3][8] Its components were influenced and improved in the 1980s by horticulturist Caroline Burgess, who became the garden's director, having previously worked with legendary English gardener Rosemary Verey.[3] Cabot's private garden in the Charlevoix region of Quebec covers more than 20 acres (81,000 m2) and is called Les Quatre Vents.[3] He is credited with introducing a number of plants and grasses to North America, including Japanese blood grass.[9]In Les Quatre Vents, you can find some themathics field like "Le lac Libellule", "le Pavillon japonnais de méditation", "le Pigeonnier", "le pont chinois de lune", "le kiosque à musique", "le potager" and more.

In 2001, he wrote the book The Greater Perfection: The Story of the Gardens at Les Quatre Vents, which was the recipient of the 2003 Annual Literature Award of the Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries and which the Oxford Companion to Gardens referred to as "one of the best books ever written about the making of a garden by its creator."[10] Mr Cabot was also very involved in the preservation of old mills. Heritage Charlevoix, his foundation, bought "Le Moulin La Rémi" in Baie-Saint-Paul, also in Charlevoix. He invested money to rebuild this very beautiful building.

In 2000, he was made a Chevalier of the National Order of Quebec. He was awarded the Veitch Memorial Medal of the Royal Horticultural Society in 2002.[11] In 2005, he was made an honorary Member of the Order of Canada.[12]

Personal life[edit]

In 1949, Cabot married Anne Perkins. They had three children: Colin Cabot, Currie Cabot, and Marianne Cabot.


Cabot died of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis at his summer home in La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada on November 19, 2011. He was 86.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Fox, Margalit (November 27, 2011). "Francis H. Cabot, 86, Dies; Created Notable Gardens". New York Times. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
  2. ^ Notable Alumni of the Harvard Krokodiloes.
  3. ^ a b c d Raver, Anne. "NATURE; In the Lair of a Tender Giant." The New York Times, 2003-09-25, Style section.
  4. ^ Website of the Garden Conservancy. Archived 2008-03-16 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Raver, Anne. "HUMAN NATURE; The Keepers of the Garden's Soul." The New York Times, 1999-11-21, Style section.
  6. ^ Spiegel, Meryl. "Enjoying Pleasures of Special Gardens." The New York Times, 1997-07-13, New York and Region section.
  7. ^ Garden Conservancy Webpage for the Alcatraz Historic Gardens Project. Archived 2007-07-01 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Dobrzynski, Judith H. "The Hudson Valley’s Fields of Joy." The New York Times, 2007-07-13, Escapes section.
  9. ^ Raver, Anne. "NATURE; In the Thick of Great Grasses." The New York Times, 2002-10-17, Style section.
  10. ^ Website of the Hortus Press.
  11. ^ 2014 RHS Awards for Exceptional Contributions to Horticulture Announced
  12. ^ Governal General site announcing Cabot's C.M. Archived 2008-03-26 at Archive-It

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