According to WILLIAM GRIMES, NYT April 25th, 2013, Stewart Hartshorn–yes that one the school and street is named after, came to out with a fortune in hand from the sales of spring-roller window shades, bought land in Millburn Township in the 1870s, envisioning “a harmonious community for people who appreciated nature.” (for article: NYT). Like him, nature lovers came to the town known as Short Hills. Some of them laid out grand estates, ranking, in size and ambition, somewhere between Gatsby’s and Hearst’s. Few remain, but one, Greenwood Gardens, has been lifted from decades of decay and decrepitude to live a second life as a public park and cultural center. It opens on Sunday.
Astride the western ridge of the Watchung Mountains and overlooking a vast preserve of forest and meadow, Greenwood Gardens is a contemporary garden rooted in the Arts & Crafts and Classical approaches to garden design, with Italianate garden terraces, grottoes, meandering moss-covered paths, allées of sycamore and spruces, ornamental trees and shrubs, and wildflower meadows, among other features, occupying over 28 acres.
greenwood yellen gateJust 45 minutes from Manhattan, Greenwood Gardens is removed from the sights and sounds of modernity. It is a place where people can come together to spend time and relax – whether the definition of relaxation be sitting on bench or practicing yoga in the open air. A visit to Greenwood Gardens can renew your mind and spirit through tours, workshops, and other educational programs.
Entrance Drive and Forecourt
Visitors to Greenwood Gardens will enter along the Sycamore Allée and continue past a cluster of rustic Arts & Crafts cottages to the parking lot. The first feature encountered is a legacy of the Day era, an extraordinary hand-wrought iron-grill gate created by master iron craftsman Samuel Yellin. Housed in the East Pavilion, the nine-foot-high gate depicts a menagerie of flora and fauna, from birds of paradise and parakeets to vines and ferns.
Connected to the East Pavilion is the red brick Georgian house built by the Blanchard family, which serves as an orientation center, its Colonial-styled center hallway opening onto an overlook terrace, where period climbing roses grow on and around a pair of wooden pergolas. From here drop three terraced gardens: the topmost Main Terrace, with waterside iris and carrex blue zinger (Carex flacca); the Croquet Terrace, with boxwood hedges; and the culmination, in the Garden of the Zodiac, where twelve pairs of classical columns are arranged in a demilune around a former reflecting pool.
main terrace view10 18 2012_SMWhere recently the Garden of the Zodiac’s perimeter was planted with evergreen shrubs, now pink peonies (Paeonia suffruticosa) and white goat’s beard (Tragopogon dubius / pratensis) thrive, as well as spikes of cream, pink, and bronze foxgloves (Digitalis purpurea) and an intermittent haze of blue and white catmints (Nepeta grandiflora) and sages. A bronze sculpture of a boy holding two geese by Emilio Angela has been reinstated in the center of the pool surrounded by clematis and roses.
Summerhouse and Teahouse
Footpaths and gardens to the south and east of these main terraces lead to a pair of round perches inspired by the Belvederes built during the Arts and Craft period in Britain. The Summerhouse and Teahouse are constructed of local sandstone with copper coursings around cone-shaped roofs. Their interiors feature walls and ceilings studded with blue, green and brown seashell-shaped Rookwood tiles and floors paved with pastel-hued Fulper tiles manufactured nearby in New Jersey.
Three-foot-tall limestone chess pieces—knight, pawn, queen, and king—line the horseshoe steps leading to the upper level of the Teahouse and the South Axis garden. Here dwarf iris (Iris lacustris), pink dianthus (Dianthus caryophyllus), Siberian iris (Iris sibirica) and small ornamental onion (Allium aflatunense) may be found nestled near four huge stone frogs. Granite Foo dogs are placed at opposite steps to the Teahouse, while an Oriental paperbush (Edgeworthia chrysantha) with little yellow flowers serves as a centerpiece connecting the walkway and the two stone follies.
Grapewalk and Cascade
The Blanchards’ taste for formal garden design may be seen as a visitor follows the Grape Walk toward the foot of the Water Cascade. From here one views the European inspired allée of plane trees and maples and two ponds that are home to swans and waterfowl—both the creation of Peter Blanchard, Jr.
Meadow and Ponds
At the terminus of this view, adjacent to the ponds and punctuating a field of wildflowers, is a fabulous wrought iron gate designed by Carrére and Hastings for the Frick residence in New York. All the outer edges of the Garden, in fact, will be devoted to natives: sugar maple (Acer saccharum), tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera), oaks, hickories, native dogwoods, native azalea, Virginia sweet spire (Itea virginica), native hydrangeas, native wild trillium (Trillium erectum), Jacob’s ladder (Polemonium reptans), Virginia blue bells (Mertensia virginica), and coral bells (Heuchera sanguinea).
Barn and Pasture
Tucked away in the southeast corner of Greenwood Gardens is a barn and pasture that has been on site for more than a century and is home to goats and a variety of farm birds. Note: The Barn Complex is closed to visitors.
Mondays and Wednesdays, April 1 – November 20
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Volunteer at Greenwood Gardens
Volunteers are helping Greenwood thrive by donating their time in the garden. We welcome individuals of all levels of experience. The Greenwood Gardens Green Team meets Monday and Wednesday mornings from 9:00 – 12:00 p.m. to work in the gardens. For more information, please contact Louis Bauer at 973-258-4026 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sundays, May 26 – October 29
1:00 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
Guided tours of Greenwood Gardens are available weekly from May through late October. Experience seasonal blooms on a 45-minute walking tour. Content will rotate weekly in horticulture, history, and conservation. Tours are available every Sunday at 1:00 p.m. Free to members; $10 non-members.
Tuesdays, June 4 – September 24
9:15 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.
Summer Yoga Series
The American Yoga Academy and Greenwood Gardens present Yoga in the Gardens. Classes are for everyone, whether you have been practicing yoga for many years, or this is your very first experience.
For all sessions, wear comfortable clothing (sweats, shorts, or yoga pants). All you need is a yoga mat and a towel.
Individual Yoga Class: $20
Monthly Class Packages: $60 ($15 per class)
Season Package: All Tuesday classes for $200 ($12 per class)
Sunday, April 28
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Join us for a lively opening day in the gardens featuring a self-guided tour, a scavenger hunt for visitors of all ages, and a 2 p.m. performance by the Princeton Katzenjammers, the nation’s oldest co-ed collegiate a capella group. Refreshments will be served on the terrace. Free admission, no reservations required.
Thursday, May 2
8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Join NJ Audubon Naturalist, Dave Hall, for a birding tour of Greenwood Gardens in search of spring migrants. Explore several habitats including hardwood forest, conifer stands, ponds and meadows. We will also venture into South Mountain Reservation to see who is stopping over. $6 members; $8 non-members.
Hedge and Topiary Pruning Workshop
Saturday, May 4
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Learn the practices of proper pruning techniques needed to establish and maintain hedges and topiary shrubs. In Greenwood’s outdoor classroom, Louis Bauer will explain the principles, tools, and terminology, and demonstrate commonly used pruning techniques on a variety of landscape plants. Free to members; $10 non-members.
Hurricane Sandy and the Natural Assault on Trees
Sunday, May 5
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
This woods and garden walk will investigate various environmental stresses on tree health, with a focus on the recent damage caused by Hurricane Sandy. This is an interpretive program seeks to enhance participants’ ability to read the natural landscape and to enjoy that process. Part of the walk will be off trail and on very uneven ground. Appropriate footwear required. Binoculars and magnifying glasses recommended. $10 members; $15 non-members.
Garden Tour: Horticulture and Design
Sunday, May 5
1:00 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
Experience seasonal blooms and learn about the decisions behind Greenwood Gardens’ colorful plant palette on a 45-minute walking tour. Free to members; $10 non-members.
Garden Photography Workshop
Saturday, May 11
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
This hands-on workshop will explain techniques for taking better photographs. Using Greenwood Gardens as an outdoor classroom, you can practice and receive immediate feedback from a master instructor. The workshop will include a tutorial on your camera’s function and a closing session on image editing. $40 members; $45 non-members.
Yoga at Greenwood Gardens
Saturday, May 11
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
The American Yoga Academy and Greenwood Gardens present Yoga in the Gardens with world-renowned yoga instructor, Claire E. Diab. This class is for everyone, whether you have been practicing yoga for many years, or this is your very first experience. The class will be fun, informative, and nourishing for your body, mind and soul.
This complimentary class kicks off the Summer Yoga Series at Greenwood Gardens. Space is Limited!
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