Isabella Stewart Gardner never quite perfected her Monks Garden. From the time she moved into her palazzo in the Fenway in 1901 and began cultivating her museum and gardens, she tinkered with the green space inside the high brick wall on the building’s east side. She installed a hill and a brick walkway, added pergolas, and planted more and more annuals and perennials.
Now, as the final touch in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s ambitious expansion and renovation project, the Monks Garden is complete. And landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh, whose new design for the garden was unveiled Tuesday, has kept more to Gardner’s spirit than to her vision.