Born in Fair Haven, Connecticut, to the Reverend Peter Augustus and Julia Post Jay, descendants of John Jay, one of the Founding Fathers of our nation, she studied architecture at MIT and Harvard University's Bussey Institute. She began her practice in New York in 1908 and referred to herself as a garden architect. Her work consisted primarily of residential work in New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. A specialty of her practice was gardens designed in the Japanese style. She took a world tour in 1912 and spent the following three decades lecturing extensively on international gardens illustrated with slides from her travels. During World War I, she worked with the U.S. Army Garden Services in Versailles, France, and, in 1931, she published The Garden Handbook which summarized her practice, travels, and lectures.