The backyard view of White River might not be so lush right now, but this classic brick Colonial and its seven-and-a-half–acre spread in Crows Nest enjoy a rich history—and a spectacular setting that will emerge as spring approaches. Formerly owned by gardener extraordinaire Emily Daniels (the IMA’s second-annual Emily N. Daniels Horticulture Symposium takes place Feb. 6), the home comes surrounded by one of the best private gardens in the Midwest, according to Mark Zelonis, one of the IMA’s horticulture specialists.
Gardening enthusiasts from across the country have toured the estate for years, drawn to its exquisite design and one-of-a-kind plant collection that showcases rare varieties like the Katsura tree, native to Japan and China, and the Asian spicebush, typically only flaunted in botanical centers. The expansive grounds accommodate these exotic breeds with winding paths, bridges, ponds, waterfalls, and a stone seating circle, or “council ring,” designed by famed Danish landscape architect Jens Jensen.
Emily’s eldest son, Lee Alig, says his mother (who died in 2012) cultivated her passion for gardening after marrying botanist Gilbert Daniels nearly 30 years ago. Alig says the couple “turned the property into an arboretum of sorts,” collecting plants during their travels around the world. Mail-ordered specimens arrived almost daily. “My mom would be up first thing in the morning and outside all day,” Alig says. “Gardening energized her.”
The interior details of the home also reflect Daniels’s keen eye for design. In 1955, when she was 25 years old and newly married to her first husband (the late Cornelius Alig Jr.), she helped renowned architect Carlton Smith design her dream home. Alig says the 4,408-square-foot house channels Emily’s native New England sensibilities with its two-story marble entry, formal living and dining rooms, and casual kitchen and family room. Not surprisingly, the estate also comes with an attached greenhouse. But it’s the home’s majestic surroundings that make this property a real-estate gem.
Want to Buy It?
Address: 700 Questover Circle
List Price: $1.3 million
Agent: Deborah Dorman, Encore Sotheby’s International Realty
This article appeared in the February 2014 issue.