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June 2006


FEATURES

Hide & Seek
by Tovah Martin
photographs by Curtice Taylor

BORN AND RAISED IN TEXAS, GEORGE SCHOELLKOPF, OWNER OF HOLLISTER HOUSE IN WASHINGTON, TENDS HIS GARDEN LIKE A NATIVE SON

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He always begins with an apology. About his birthplace, that is. Although George Schoellkopf has pedigrees as deep as you could care to dig, none are rooted in Connecticut. Instead, his family tree branches from Texas, which only makes him appreciate more acutely the state he lives in now. As far as Schoellkopf can figure, he was born in the wrong place, because the type of gardens he loves wouldn't survive a single scorching Texas summer.

In Washington, Schoellkopf has created a garden that is considered as good as it gets in New England. It has deep roots in history, and pays homage to the landscape. Although Hollister House wasn't the oldest standing house in Washington, it was among that venerable but rickety contingent. Built in 1770, it was originally the home of Gideon Hollister, a farmer who fought in the War of 1812. His house befit a citizen of his stature—it wasn't grand or fancy. In fact, it had no shutters until Schoellkopf arrived in 1978. A paradigm of Puritan austerity, the house's simplicity charmed him. After all, he was selling fine American furniture and folk art in a Madison Avenue gallery at the time.

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