The classic Cherry Tree Walk at Dumbarton Oaks in DC ... one of Beatrix Farrand's famous landscapes.
Just found out from a column by Robin Lane Fox in last weekend's Financial Times that horticulturist Anne Cleves Symmes -- who recently directed the restoration of Bellefield, an 18th century house next to FDR's former home in Hyde Park, NY -- is making a documentary about Farrand entitled Beatrix Farrand's American Landscapes. It's to be narrated and guided by Lynden Miller, former director of Central Park's Conservatory Garden.
Major support for the film project has come from the Oak Spring Garden Foundation -- and if the final $300,000 can be raised, the film is set to premiere at the NY Botanical Garden in the fall of this year. Spread the word, and make a contribution to the film yourself to the Beatrix Farrand Garden Association.
The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) has released "Landslide 2017," and this year's theme is "Open Season on Open Space."
Battery Park City in lower Manhattan (shown above) is among more than 15 significant cultural landscapes in danger throughout the United States, threatened by development, confiscation, extraction of energy and resources, and other uses.
This year's list includes some of the best-known landscapes in the country, including Boston Common, Jackson Park in Chicago, the James River in Jamestown, VA, the Statehouse Grounds in Providence, RI, and several locations protected by the 1906 Antiquities Act, which allows designated federal lands to be protected as national monuments. President Trump has directed his Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke, to reassess 27 national monuments and potentially redraw the boundaries, which could open the way to mining and drilling on the protected sites.
Please visit the TCLF website to read about all the threatened landscapes and what you can do to help protect them.
And of course it's in New Jersey! Deep Cut Gardens was once owned by Mafia boss Vito Genovese, who bought the 54 acre property in New Jersey in 1935 as a peaceful retreat for his family away from their home in New York City. He obviously spared no expense in turning the site into a magnificent garden that reminded him of his Italian homeland.
He hired Theodore Stout to design the gardens, which included a terraced rockery crafted from Italian volcanic stone, with three pools and a miniature stone Mount Vesuvius that at one time emitted smoke. Lush evergreens and weeping hemlocks with striking contorted trunks complete the scene.
In the distance, there's a rose garden and a pavilion, but the swimming pool has now been filled in.
Two years after he bought it, Genovese, facing arrest, fled to Italy, and the property fell into disrepair.
In 1952, Marjorie Sperry Wihtol (of the S&H Green Stamp family) and her husband bought the property, and during the next 25 years added herbacious borders, a koi pond, a Japanese garden with bonsai, and a vegetable garden. The Wihtols also erected a new house and Library, now the horticultural center. Mrs. Wihtol bequeathed 20 acres of the property to the Monmouth County Park System, and the rest of the site was bought with Green Acres funding. The current Elvin MacDonald Horticultural Library has four thousand books and periodicals on gardening and related topics.
Aside from the designed gardens, you can stroll through a forest and woodland meadows that feature groves of chestnut, oak, maple and ash trees. Specimen trees on this property alone make it worth a visit.
If you, like me, have often wondered why American gardeners are so fixated on British gardens, it's probably because they just haven't bothered to delve into the fascinating story of our own gardens here in the United States. But now, the full story is available through the efforts of the Smithsonian Libraries and Smithsonian Gardens (including the Archives of American Gardens) in Washington DC.
The exhibit covers the American garden from its earliest beginnings to the present day, from east to west coast, north to south and everything in between. Joyce Connolly, museum specialist at Smithsonian Gardens, explained that "Gardens are an important reflection of our culture, traditions, regional differences and design tastes." She added that "The long tradition of gardening in America continues to have an impact on how we design, use and enjoy gardens today."
The show is divided into various themes, ie, Gardening for Science, Gardening to Impress, Gardening for the Common Good, Gardening as a Link to the Past, Gardening as an Enterprise, and Gardening for the Environment.
Gardeners today are heavily into native plants and sustainability. They might be surprised to learn that Irish-born gardener William Robinson was inspired by the natural habitats of North America and first introduced the subject in his book, The Wild Garden, published in 1870.
You'll learn about plant explorers and breeders, famous World's Fair gardens, school gardens and victory gardens, the rise of the lawn and botanic gardens, and much, much more. Best of all, the entire exhibit is now online -- including links to many historic books -- so if you can't make it to Washington, spend a day or so online learning about our country's rich garden history. Check it out here.
Blue Garden at Beacon Hill, Newport, Rhode Island, 1920s Archives of American Gardens, Garden Club of America Collection
Mourning dove (Zenaida macroura) and Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) From Mark Catesby, The Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands (London, 1729-1747) Smithsonian Libraries
Burgess Seed and Plant Co. Seed catalog: Plant a Garden, 1943 Galesburg, Michigan Smithsonian Libraries
Jensen, a proponent of the Prairie style of landscape design, described the landscape as a "community garden" created for city residents "who have no other gardens except their window sills." His design features a reflecting pool and fountain, a terrace with pergolas and a lagoon that he called "a prairie river."
Oudolf met with the Humboldt Park community in April and presented his thoughts about the garden's new sustainable design, which include plants that can survive the Chicago weather year-round and will not require the use of pesticides. "We will create a community of plants that work well together and look beautiful throughout the seasons," he said.
thru April 16, 2017, "The Landscape Architecture of Lawrence Halprin," Washington DC National Building Museum, 202-272-2448, sponsor: TCLF thru April 9, Orchid Daze, Atlanta, GA Atlanta Botanical Garden, 404-876-5859 thru April 9, The Orchid Show: Thailand, Bronx, NY NY Botanical Garden, 718-817-8700 thru May 14, Orchids: A Moment, Washington DC 21st Smithsonian Orchid Show, Hirshhorn Museum, 202-633-2220 April 22-Oct 29, Artworks & more by Dale Chihuly, Bronx, NY NY Botanical Garden, 718-817-8700
April 1, Heronswood Garden Open & Plant Sale, Kingston, WA 10am-3pm, Guest Speaker Dan Hinkley, 206-842-8922 April 1-2 What's Out There Weekend, New Orleans, LA Free tours of the city's most significant landscapes, TCLF, 202-483-0553 April 5, Urban Tree Care & Planning, Washington DC 12:30pm, Lecture, National Building Museum, 202-272-2448 April 5-9, San Francisco Flower & Garden Show, San Mateo, CA San Mateo Event Center, 415-684-7278
April 10, LA Catherine Mosbach of Mosbach Paysagiste, Philadelphia, PA 6pm Lecture, Penn Design, 215-898-6591 April 15-23, California Native Plant Week, CA Lectures, garden tours, workshops, more. 916-447-2677
April 19, "Art & Nature of LA Ellen Biddle Shipman," Washington DC 6:30pm, Lecture, National Building Museum, 202-272-2448 April 19, "Immersive Landscapes" with LA Andrea Cochran, West Hollywood, CA 7pm, Lecture, Pacific Design Center, sponsor: Garden Conservancy, 845-424-6500 April 20, "Urban Forests" with author Jill Jonnes, Glencoe, IL 7pm, Lecture, Chicago Botanic Garden, sponsor: Garden Conservancy 845-424-6500 April 22, EARTH DAY - Events Everywhere April 22-29 Historic Garden Week, Virginia 250+ gardens, homes, historic sites will be open 804-644-7776 April 22, 13th Great Gardens and Landscaping Symposium, Woodstock, VT 8am-4pm, Woodstock Inn & Resort (note: sold out, but accepting waiting list) April 22-23, Garden Conservancy Open Days Garden Tours: CA, NJ, NY CA: San Francisco East Bay; NJ: Essex County; NY: Dutchess County
April 28-30, 71st Colonial Williamsburg Garden Symposium, Williamsburg, VA 8:30am-5:30pm, "Small Spaces, Great Rewards," 757-565-8937 April 29, People's Climate March, Washington DC April 29, Garden Dialogues, Hempstead, TX 3-5pm, Tour of Peckerwood Garden with landscape architect, TCLF, 202-483-0553 April 30, Garden Conservancy Open Days Garden Tours: CA, NY CA: Pasadena; NY: Lewisboro, NY
May 11, LA Mia Lehrer, Boston, MA 7pm Lecture, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 617-278-5156 May 23-27 Chelsea Flower Show, London, UK
A 200-year-old elm tree in Perth Amboy, New Jersey has withstood innumerable trials: Dutch elm disease, a terrible storms over decades, including Hurricane Sandy in 2012. To preserve the tree's genetic heritaqe, scientists from the USDA's Agricultural Research Service are cutting twigs from the tree's aging branches and flash freezing them in storage for decades and possibly for centuries.
Originally, scientists planned to cryo-preserve seeds from the tree, but upon inspection, there were no embryos within the seeds. Researchers believe the cause was a lack of other elms nearby to pollinate the flowers. So the scientific team decided to try preserving germplasm from twig cuttings.
Plans are also underway this year to obtain viable seed from the elm by using pollen collected from the historic tree or taken from another elm of the same species.
ARS plant physiologist Christine Walters noted that millions of American elms were decimated by a fungal pathogen that causes Dutch elm disease. "Using our genetic resource collections," she says, "we can stay steps ahead of such disasters -- whether they happen to elms, apples, citrus, or wheat."
The Perth Amboy elm was planted around 1815 and it is considered a symbol of the town's strength and its ties to New Jersey and US history. Town resident Thomas Mundy Peterson in 1870 walked beneath the elm on his way to vote at City Hall -- the first African American to vote under the newly-enacted 15th Amendment.
The Cultural Landscape Foundation -- TCLF -- has released the second in its series of online guides produced in collaboration with the National Park Service. The What's Out There Cultural Landscapes Guide to New York City includes profiles of 78 landscapes, from Paley Park -- my favorite outdoor place in NYC -- to Floyd Bennett Field, to the more familiar Central Park, Ellis Island, Rockefeller Center.
Each entry has several photos, a description of the site (including who designed it), and profiles of the city's major landscape architects and designers, past and present.
You will not want to miss this fabulous guide ... probably the only one you'll need when you visit the city ... and hey ... you can access the site on your mobile devices.