The Olmsted Network recently lost two devoted supporters and vital advocates for Olmsted parks and places: Rudy Favretti (1932- 2023) and Sharon Casdin (1939-2023).
Rudy Favretti (1932- 2023)
Rudy Favretti, much like Frederick Law Olmsted, was born and raised in Connecticut and influenced by its landscape beauty. He earned horticulture degrees at the University of Connecticut and Cornell and took his first job at the University of Connecticut as an Extension Garden Specialist.
Rudy’s father was an expert craftsman dedicated to the preservation of historic buildings. Rudy, however, turned his attention to the care and preservation of historic landscapes, launching a professional design practice that pursued commissions at Monticello, Montpelier, Mount Vernon, Strawberry Banke, Bartram’s Gardens and Shelburne Farms. At the University of Connecticut, Rudy created a highly regarded program of landscape architecture and he was instrumental in setting guidelines for the restoration of historic landscapes. He (and his wife) wrote numerous books and articles which have enlightened and informed the landscape restoration community.
Rudy was a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects and recipient of The Garden Club of America’s Historic Preservation Medal in 1990 for “outstanding and unique work in the restoration of a large number of historic gardens on the east coast.” His remarkable collection of plans, drawings, client files and over 4000 photographs resides at the Smithsonian Gardens’ Archives of American Gardens Collection and Records. You can enjoy it here: https://sova.si.edu/record/AAG.FAV
Sharon Casdin (1939-2023)
Much like Rudy, Sharon Blaisedell Jones Casdin spent her early years in Connecticut, growing up on the delightfully named Appletree Trail in Westport, CT. She was known for her “independent spirit, her unfailing aesthetic eye, her unstinting generosity and her keen wit.” Working in NYC, first as a stylist and photographer in the advertising trade, she later became fascinated by floral design and opened her own shop. She and her husband Jeff had three sons, Adam, Alexander and Eli and spent many happy years restoring a 1760s home in the Berkshires and developing its beautiful gardens.
In addition to serving on the National Association for Olmsted Parks board, she was a member of the President’s Council of the American Horticultural Society, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees, Horticultural Society of New York and member of the Chairman’s Council and Corporate Trustee of the Trustees.