Jacqueline Ellis worked as gardener from May 1991 to 2004. She was hired by Head Gardener, Alfredo Siani, and worked for him during much of her tenure. A vivid memory is the family-style lunches, often with Italian cooking, they used to have around the big table in the staff kitchen. Jacqueline remembers lots of laughter and discussions covering a multitude of topics.
A favorite of hers in the garden is the English Oak, believed to date from the early to mid-1800s during the George and Elizabeth Carter period. Nearby is an old cherry tree and Jacqueline remembers Alfredo picking cherries to make a pie.
Jacqueline recalls the Mellon family donating tulip and daffodil bulbs each year. Alfredo drove to the estate and came back with hundreds and hundreds of bulbs, which were planted in the Perennial Bed.
One of her favorite activities was decorating the mansion for Christmas. At first the decorations were simple, representative of the Carter family time period. But one year it was decided to “go big” and so they did, in the Victorian style with lots of embellishments. The mansion’s Christmas decorations, with a new theme each year, continue to be a big draw for visitors.
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