Blau House & Gardens Plea: Save Us!

The Westport Country Playhouse’s campaign to raise $2 million — and save the 92-year-old institution — has generated plenty of press.

Across town, a drive to save a different — but also noted — property has gotten far less notice.

Blau House & Gardens — a hidden but beautiful spot, high on a ridge at the end of a 1-lane road off Bayberry Lane — is in danger of being sold.

The gardens were developed over 50 years by the late advertising entrepreneur, Barry Blau. The intimate series of interlocking garden rooms, incorporating native plants interspersed with a blend of exotics — surround a mid-century modern house designed by celebrated theatrical designer, Ralph Alswang.

Since 2017, Emily Blau and Robert Cohen — the BH&G stewards — have opened their special garden for events like signings by bestselling authors, children’s book readings, scavenger hunts, garden tours, horticultural classes and more. 

Last February  they created a 501(c)3 organization as the first step to preserve the property, and expand it for public arts and cultural events, and an artist- and gardener-in-residency program.

Barry and Eileen Blau recently died. The estate plans to put the house on the market by the end of the month.

Blau House, designed by Ralph Alswang.

Blau House & Gardens seeks individual and business benefactors, and/or help from other non-profit organizations. The cost for the property is $1.5 million; securing a 1-acre easement for parking and restrooms offered by the next door neighbor is $700,000.

They ask anyone who can help to email, or call 203-952-3335. To visit the Blau House & Gardens website, click here.

A small part of the vast gardens.

8 responses to “Blau House & Gardens Plea: Save Us!

  1. Does anyone know: Why is this coming to light so “late in the game” … less than a week before placed on market? Emily Blau is part of Blau House & Gardens governance and presumably aware of estate plans…? Can the town help?

    • Bill Strittmatter

      Not new news. Dan posted an article about it back in March. They were looking for $3MM then – $1.5MM for the property, $1.0MM to buy adjacent property and $500,000 for an endowment to help pay for ongoing maintenance.

      As I commented then, if the Blau’s wanted to preserve the property, odd that they didn’t provide for that in their estate planning. And now, interesting that the estate (and heirs) have chosen to sell the property instead.

  2. John Terpening

    I think Earthplace would be the “natural” partner to this property. I think if Lillian Wadsworth were alive today she would have worked to have them joined as a way of showing how nature, landscaping and art are a “natural” extension of each other. The importance of preserving this property cannot be overstated. I would like to see Westport get on the preservation bandwagon and create a tripod of preservation of sorts. Preserve all three…… the Westport Country Playhouse, the Blau House and Gardens and the historical art piece the library promised to re-install “The River of Names”.

  3. CarolAnne Ances

    I recently went on a tour of the property – it’s magnificent and I feel it should remain open for the public to have access. You can easily donate by clicking on the Blau House website link in Dan’s post.

  4. Eric Buchroeder

    Classic Westport extortion.

  5. brad french

    A lot of love and money went into those gardens!

    • Eric Buchroeder

      Most gardens are the result of love and money. This one is the result of love, money and the love of money. You can have one or two but you can’t have all three.