Francis Higginson Cabot III (1925-2011) was a scion of the Boston-Brahmin Cabot family who, according to the famous “Boston Toast,” “talk only to God,” and he spent his early professional life expanding the family fortunes as a partner in an investment and venture capital firm. But he loved horticulture more than making money, having spent childhood summers in his grandmother’s gardens at Malbaie in Quebec. He married Anne Perkins, whose grandfather George was one of the founders of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission; her parents’ property in the Hudson Highlands eventually became home to the Glynwood Center as well as part of Fahnestock State Park. Jointly, the two clans’ Hudson Valley contingent were among this region’s leading forces for conservation.
Frank Cabot inherited the Quebec property, Les Quatre Vents, when he was 40, and began dividing his time between it and the summer home in Cold Spring that he and Anne called Stonecrop. Their intention was always to transform Stonecrop into a public garden; that dream came true in 1992. After visiting Ruth Bancroft’s famous dry garden in Walnut Creek, California, in 1988 and learning that it was in danger of being sold to developers, Cabot decided – at Anne’s urging – to found a not-for-profit group to help save it. That organization became the Garden Conservancy.
To this day, Anne P. Cabot remains a mover and shaker in the conservation movement in the Hudson Valley. In 2006, Frank Cabot received the Garden Club of America’s Achievement Award for “the greatest horticultural accomplishment in America in the last half-century.” And before his death, he was interviewed on film by director Sébastien Chabot about his vision and mission to save and cultivate certain special places of beauty. That interview became the centerpiece of a documentary titled The Gardener, recently completed and about to be unveiled in a screening and discussion at the Moviehouse in Millerton.
The event begins at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 7. On hand for the question-and-answer session will be Gregory Long, CEO/president of the New York Botanical Gardens and a longtime colleague and friend of Frank Cabot, along with designer Bunny Williams. Tickets cost $14 general admission, $12 for Moviehouse members, and can be purchased at the Moviehouse box office at 48 Main Street in Millerton or online at www.themoviehouse.net. To view a trailer for the film, visit http://thegardener-movie.com/trailer.