Thursday, May 21, 2020

A New Vision Emerges at Greenwood Gardens—A Hidden Treasure in Short Hills, NJ!

Dear Friends,

Despite the unusual and limiting circumstances we have all been facing, Greenwood Gardens has fortunately been able to continue its long-planned efforts to complete renovations that will greatly enhance and transform our historic site.

You have likely already read about the major renovation of two historic water features and staircases, as well as the addition of a parking lot, rain garden and new ticket booth. Perhaps less well known are the extensive landscape renovations that have been simultaneously undertaken throughout the garden. Exciting examples of these horticultural changes taking place include the Forecourt Oval Garden and the Reflecting Pool Terrace. It has been mesmerizing to see these landscape designs unfold!

Inspired by the original pictured in the exquisite image from the Day era c. 1920 (above, left) the new design for the Forecourt Oval Garden (above, right) features Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Gracilis,' a compact, upright, tree form of Hinoki cypress as the evergreen accent for the border with its open pyramidal form and the native dogwood cultivar Cornus florida ‘Appalachian Spring’.
This dogwood is a natural hybrid that was found growing in the wild on the Catoctin mountains in Maryland at Camp David, the presidential retreat, and was chosen for its disease resistance.  Soon, the dogwoods will be underplanted with a variety of small-leaved evergreen rhododendron and graceful Pennsylvania sedge surrounded by a perimeter that will pop with colorful flowering winter heaths.

In our historic Main Axis, as contracted gardeners have worked to translate the renovation plan from paper to the ground, we have watched with great anticipation as the intended vision emerges, powerfully and intoxicatingly.

The D-shaped pool on the Reflecting Pool Terrace, its graceful arc and cleanly delineated steps now fully formed, waits patiently for its basin to be filled with water and surrounding landscape adornments to be installed (above). The soil ringing its outline has been painstakingly graded in preparation for a blanket of sod, now installed.

Two young, but stately cherry trees (below, left) have recently been moved into place on either side of the staircase from the Main Lawn down to the Reflecting Pool Terrace, standing at the ready to greet visitors. Now, from the virtual nursery of new plants stored temporarily at the west end of the Croquet Lawn (below, right), the gardeners select, one by one, the next specimen to be placed in the ground—artfully, yet, according to plan.

We will continue to share updates on the garden as it continues to be transformed.  In the meantime, all of us at Greenwood wish you a safe and healthy Memorial Day weekend.
From the Garden,

Abby O'Neill
Executive Director