Greenwood Gardens Newsletter Fall-Winter 2015

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news Fall/Winter 2015

Snapshots from Greenwood’s Past This article features excerpts from a forthcoming publication celebrating the prehistory, history and hopeful future trajectory of Greenwood Gardens: Greenwood: A Garden Path to Nature and the Past, by founder and trustee, Peter P. Blanchard III. Creating Ponds Where Ponds Never Were

Old Short Hills Park, Dad decided that additional ponds would be a great asset.

From our perch on Second Mountain, my father and I looked down on the gently curving, glacially scoured valley below. The year was 1963. His love of ducks and waterfowl had gotten the better of him. Even though Greenwood already had two ponds (already in existence in the 19th century) on land destined to become

Why would a landowner replace a field—a field which had replaced an orchard, which, in turn, had replaced a woodland—with a pond? Motivations are plentiful. A pond brings reflections of sky and clouds and of the nearby forest; its surface conveys the changing moods of weather and season. If

cats-paws or rain squalls do not disrupt its serenity and if ice and snow do not cover it, a pond can provide a pleasing reflection of the broader world around it, including the image of a viewer leaning out over the water’s edge. Most critically, however, a pond provides habitat for fish—carp, sunfish and catfish—and for wildlife, including an array of waterdependent birds: Great Blue Herons, Belted Kingfishers, Wood Ducks and Mallards. Farm residents—Call Ducks, Dutch Mute Swans, Australian Swans and Barnyard Geese also make use of Blanchard Family Archives

photo by Jerry Williams

Peter Blanchard II working in the gardens

the ponds as a place to forage and escape from predators. In its heyday in the 60s and early 70s, the southernmost of the two ponds also boasted a fountain (which burst forth on the push of a button in the master bedroom) and a wooden platform or island for the safety of the ducks and geese. An aerial view of the ponds as they appear today

The Gardens will reopen in Spring 2016.

Watch our website and Facebook page for updates throughout the year.

So, on a fall morning, as a bulldozer descended into the natural hollow and began to carve out the features of two ponds, each with a maximum depth of 15 feet, even a twelve-year-old boy knew that momentous changes were afoot. Over the continued on next page

Snapshots from Greenwood’s Past — continued from page 1 course of many following summers, the aerial maneuvers of dragonflies and the great booming of Bullfrogs repeatedly announced the creation of this new world.

Only the Landowner Cares Enough Stewardship can sometimes be a simple and straightforward expression of caring. It can even be an expression of love. This became evident as I followed my father on one of his regular inspections of the garden. On numerous occasions, I remember him stooping down to collect branches that had fallen on the lawn or on boxwood. I would be encouraged to help by building stick piles before he invariably stated, “Only the owner would do this…” The date of this particular walk was in the fall of 1975, when my father was 63 years of age and I was 24 and just out of college. As we continued our inspection tour, I began to truly wonder who, in the distant and unforeseeable future, would be making “grand rounds” and who would be on “stick patrol” when the Keeper of the Garden had gone. photo by Kate Albright

Board of Trustees Elaine Becker Peter P. Blanchard III Sofia Blanchard Henry P. Johnson Cynthia (Cynnie) Kellogg Susan Lowry Louise Moos Andrew Permison Lezette G. Proud Alexa Scordato Marco Polo Stufano Arthur T. Vanderbilt II Carl R. Woodward III Contact Us Greenwood Gardens 274 Old Short Hills Road Short Hills, New Jersey 07078 Telephone: 973.258.4026 Fax: 973.258.9244 Greenwood Gardens is one of only 18 gardens endorsed by the Garden Conservancy, a national, nonprofit organization founded to help preserve America’s most exceptional gardens.

Funding for the restoration of Greenwood Gardens has been made possible in part by the Garden State Historic Preservation Trust administered by the New Jersey Historic Trust/State of New Jersey.




Through the dedicated efforts of staff, board, volunteers and members, Greenwood’s landscape continues to unfold through the seasons, revealing its beauty and its secrets. My father would be extremely pleased to find the community strongly supporting what he so treasured.

Planting for Next Spring by Sonia Uyterhoeven, Head of Horticulture The umbrella term for all bulbs is geophytes (literal definition: earth plants). Geophytes refer to plants that have developed underground storage systems to get through times of deprivation, whether a cold winter or a dry summer. We toss around the term bulb loosely, when in actuality, we are often referring to several different types of storage structures: true bulbs such as tulips are modified leaves; corms (e.g. crocus) are modified stems; rhizomes are underground stems and the tuberous roots that you find in dahlias are swollen roots. We have planted many wonderful geophytes in the garden in anticipation of 2016. Some are heirloom varieties, such as the diminutive daffodil (Narcissus W.P. Milner) that has been around since 1869. My favorite, the tulip, has made its way into many historical annals. While no longer a currency capable of crashing the market or sold for the price of a home, some tulips such as Tulipa ‘Rembrandt’s Favorite’ with its blueberry colored flames will still make you lose your senses. We are creating glorious

Fritillaria raddeana vintage illustration by M. Smith

polychromatic displays in the Reflecting Pool Terrace and by the Tea House. Some deer resistant bulbs that we will plant this year are the fragrant Narcissus ‘Thalia’ and ‘Sweet Love’ as well as pungent fritillaries such as Fritillaria pallidiflora, raddeana and persica. The Siberian lily (Ixiolirion tartaricum ssp. pallassi) and the ornamental onion Allium unifolium are two others for your deer resistant list.

Letter from Liz Johnson, Executive Director Dear Friends,

photos by Joy Yagid

Letter from Peter P. Blanchard III, Chairman of the Board Dear Members and Supporters of Greenwood Gardens: As the days gradually shorten and life rests or begins to stir under the snow cover, I am reminded that gardens have something vital to teach us, regardless of the season. As I often respond to visitors who inquire about staff and volunteer activities during a typical day at Greenwood, “There never is a dull moment.” Indeed, dull moments, like a sort of weedy growth springing forth on its own, can’t be expected at Greenwood. The soil and climate won’t allow it. A typical response to a perceived dull moment is to sink into a state of boredom. Boredom represents three (hopefully momentary) states of mind: impoverished, unreceptive and disengaged. Greenwood, as a public garden and environmental organization, is devoted to altering those three states of mind and being. The Gardens offer not only repose and inner calm but an invigorating link to Nature in all her phases and seasons. Whether the snow flies or the sun bakes, Greenwood Gardens continually invites us to care about the natural world, both wild and cultivated, and challenges us to engage in understanding and protecting that world. Many thanks for partaking of and participating in the revival of a magnificent old garden! Best wishes, Peter

The gardening slows down as our plants and resident animals approach dormancy. This is our time to exhale and give thanks for the beauty and tranquility of this place. How fortunate I am to work on behalf of the Garden, with such dedicated staff, volunteers, and friends! It takes a community to bring Greenwood Gardens back to its extraordinary historic glory. We appreciate your role in it! As you can see from our own Peter Blanchard’s note reflecting back to over 40 years ago, Peter’s father often wondered who would care about Greenwood as much as he did. Little did he or anyone know just how many people would take “ownership” over this magical place, ‘picking up sticks’ and doing so much more! From time to time, I find myself lost in the moment in the Gardens, wondering what Pauline Day or Dr. Adelaide Childs Frick Blanchard felt when they lived here. I imagine them relaxing on a warm night in the Summer House, or working with the horses they kept on the farm. Yet as we celebrate Greenwood’s fascinating history, we are also exploring and planning its future. Important questions need to be answered, thoughtfully: How will we use our historic buildings and garden features to tell our story? What should be the core benefits and brand of Greenwood? How can Greenwood continue to evolve and grow into the next decade? How can Greenwood best serve its community and constituency? What will be our priorities? As we embark on a strategic planning process to help answer these questions, we will be asking for your help. We couldn’t do this without you. All the best for a warm and peaceful holiday season, Liz

Focus on Trustee

Susan Lowry

photo by Liz Johnson

When Susan Lowry joined the Greenwood board of trustees as a representative of the Garden Conservancy, we got lucky. We benefit greatly from her wisdom and advice, and her enthusiasm is particularly contagious. After working for years in the high-stress world as a television news assignment editor in Canada and the United States, Susan and her family, including three children, moved to New York City in 1995. She earned a degree in landscape architecture over a four year period while raising her young family. The kids made her promise to never do that again! She began volunteering at the Conservatory Garden in Central Park, where she met Nancy Berner. The two garden enthusiasts set out to expose the wealth of gardens throughout New York City. After three years of visiting gardens in every borough, they produced Garden Guide New York City. Their successful 15 year partnership has resulted in more books, Gardens of the Hudson Valley, and Gardens of the Garden State. Greenwood is featured in this one, and more books are on the way. Obviously, Susan has seen a lot of gardens. She has a keen eye for each garden’s special features. What makes a great garden? To her, it’s a sophisticated palette of plants, and understanding extraordinary horticulture. When asked what sets Greenwood apart, Susan replied that “Gardens are a product of their culture, and Greenwood is such a uniquely American garden”. From the excesses of Joseph P. Day’s 1920 era, to the more simple and formal taste of Peter and Dr. Adelaide Childs Frick Blanchard, Greenwood speaks of the times and lives of those who lived at this one-of-a-kind place. Thank you Susan, for your energy and expertise!


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Bees, Beetles, & Butterflies Day

In July, we learned all about the important work bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects do for our world. Entertaining and interactive presentations by Tomaro Honey beekeepers and Rick Mikula, “The Butterfly Guy” delighted and inspired everyone. Fascinating specimens provided by Insectropolis, the “Bugseum of New Jersey”, illustrated vividly just how beautiful and amazing is the world of insects. At the end of the day, guests released live Monarch butterflies into the Garden! photos by joy Yagid

photo by Vicki Johnson

photo by Christine Finckenor

In May, Millburn High School Freshmen and their teachers, Susan Synder and Christine Finckenor spent the day at Greenwood. They stretched both body and mind in a yoga class, received horticultural lessons from Horticulture Manager, Brendan Huggins, and helped with spring cleanup in the garden. The students learned the history of this marvelous natural and architectural treasure from trustees Peter Blanchard and Louise Moos. At the end of the day, the students wrote sonnets inspired by their surroundings and experiences at Greenwood. Thank you, Millburn High School students and teachers for spending the day learning and sharing with us!!




In September, Dr. Bob Lyons, former director of the Longwood Gardens Graduate Program, presented a fascinating and entertaining lecture on outstanding herbaceous plants for home gardeners. His slide presentation featured beautiful photographs of plants to consider for their long-lasting flowers, eyecatching foliage, and potential for creating a striking impact in the garden.

History Harvest Celebration Hundreds of guests enjoyed another fun-filled History & Harvest Celebration in October. Local chefs and vendors provided a variety of delicious foods of the season for this popular, third annual event. “The Millburn High School Trio” and “The Leading Tones” a cappella choir of Abraham Clark High School provided marvelous live music through-out the day. Five very special hosts from Greenwood’s past were in attendance this year: Joseph and Pauline Day (residents of the estate during the 1920s–30s played by Peter and Sofia Blanchard), renowned designer of the gardens, William W. Renwick and his wife and daughter (played by Andrew Permison, Dilys So, and Michelle Miller). A very big Thank You! to premier sponsor, Investors Bank, Michelle Miller for her key role as lead volunteer, and all of our other great supporters who made it a very special day! photos by Craig Peters and Kate Albright


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photo by NYBG Staff

Sonia Uyterhoeven Head of Horticulture

A Vernal Pool in the Garden Greenwood horticulturists are very pleased to report that they have successfully established a vernal pool at the top of the London plane allée near the front gate. A vernal pool is a depression in the earth that contains water for a few months in the spring and early summer and has no above ground outlet. By late summer, a vernal pool is usually, but not always, dry. They fill again as the water table rises with fall rains and early snow. They are often covered with ice in the winter months. Plants native to New Jersey vernal pools were chosen for the site and Greenwood’s gardeners and volunteers worked hard to prevent weed species from taking over until the new plants matured and filled in. “We are very pleased that the plants are able to thrive in the setting we have provided,” says Brendan Huggins, Manager of Horticulture. Plants growing at the site include: Asclepias incarnata, Cephalanthus occidentalis, Juncus effuses, Iris versicolor, Limnanthes douglasii, Lobelia cardenalis, Lobelia siphilitica, and Lindera occidentalis. photo by Brendan Huggins

Greenwood Gardens Board of Trustees and Executive Director, Liz Johnson are very pleased to introduce Sonia Uyterhoeven as Head of Horticulture. Through her work in academia, and with the New England Wild Flower Society, The Garden Conservancy, and The New York Botanical Garden, Ms. Uyterhoeven brings to Greenwood Gardens a strong background in history, cultural heritage, horticultural expertise, and preservation. For the past ten years, Ms. Uyterhoeven was responsible for the Home Gardening Program at The New York Botanical Garden, reaching gardeners of all levels on a local, regional and national level and handling media requests from major national publications and local TV and radio stations.

Beyond the garden...

photo by Scott Koniecko

“It is a wonderful privilege working in the gardens and with garden guests,” says Ms. Uyterhoeven. A committed plantswoman, as Head of Horticulture Sonia Uyterhoeven enjoys the balance between hands-on gardening and interacting with visitors. “It is such an honor, joining the many talented staff during this next exciting phase at Greenwood.”

In June, Executive Director, Liz Johnson (lower left photo) spoke at a workshop on exhibits in public gardens at the annual American Public Gardens conference in Minneapolis. Richard Hartlage moderated the panel. photo by Sandy Fisher




In August, Sofia Blanchard, (upper left photo) co-founder and Greenwood trustee, and Louis Bauer, former Director of Horticulture at Greenwood and currently at Wave Hill, spoke to the Beatrix Farrand Society on Mt. Desert, Maine about the restoration at the Gardens.

Please Support Greenwood Through Memberships & Gifts Greenwood Gardens is a nonprofit organization, open to and supported by the public. Your membership and gifts help to ensure the beauty and preservation of this treasure for generations to come. Here are some of the benefits of being a member:

photo by JOy Yagid

Winter Workshops at Greenwood Gardens The Garden may be closed, but we are still hosting fun workshops for you to create beautiful natural decorations for you home! Holiday Wreath Workshop Tuesday, December 15 Snowdate: Thursday, December 17 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Holiday Garland Workshop Saturday, December 12 Snowdate: Thursday, December 17 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Holiday Della Robbia Workshop Saturday, December 19 Snowdate: Monday, December 21 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Register online at

or phone 973-258-4026 to learn more.

Membership in Greenwood Gardens For more details on the membership benefits associated with each category, please visit our website at or call 973.258.4026, ext. 10. You can also complete your membership online at

YES! I want to join as a member of Greenwood at the following level: ___ Individual $60 ___ Contributor $100 ___ Benefactor $250

___ Patron $500 ___ Greenwood Society $1,000 ___ Garden Fellow $5,000

• Free admission on any of our open days. • Invitations to special members-only events and programs. • Advance notice of and discounted tickets to programs, workshops, and other events at Greenwood. • Acknowledgment of your support in the spring edition of Greenwood News. • Reciprocal membership benefits at more than 300 participating gardens and arboreta nationwide through the American Horticultural Society’s Reciprocal Admissions Program. • A subscription to Better Homes & Gardens magazine. A membership for yourself or loved one gives you the satisfaction of knowing you are helping to ensure the future of Greenwood as well as enjoying the tax benefits of a charitable contribution. Please complete the form below, or call 973.258.4026, ext. 10 for more information.


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Please mail completed forms to: Greenwood Gardens, 274 Old Short Hills Road, Short Hills, New Jersey 07078 Greenwood

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274 Old Short Hills Road Short Hills, New Jersey 07078 Greenwood Gardens is a public garden and historic site preserving and enhancing its gardens, architecture, and landscape for the education and delight of the public.

Three Beautiful Books featuring Greenwood Gardens Rescuing Eden; Preserving America’s Historic Gardens Text by Caroline Seebohm, Photographer Curtice Taylor This handsome book profiles 30 gardens that are being preserved, either by local citizens groups or through generous donations.“Lavishly illustrated … this beautifully produced book will appeal to gardeners and preservationists.” —Library Journal

Gardens of the Garden State Written by Nancy Berner, Susan Lowry, Photographer Gemma Ingalls “An unexpectedly gorgeous book about a much maligned state. It is a collection of essays about 29 public and private gardens all over New Jersey. The variety is impressive and speaks to the diversity of the topography found in the state which is the fifth smallest in the nation yet boasts rolling farmland, mountains, lakes, rivers, seashore, swamps, pine barrens, rocky ridges, and stony hills. The book’s photographs by Gemma and Andrew Ingalls are lovely and effectively expand the often brief text.”—Gardenista’s “Best Books for Garden Lovers”

Coming Fall 2016: Gardens of the Arts and Crafts Movement By Judith Tankard Judith Tankard brings a fresh perspective and a wealth of original research to her subject, one of the most creative periods in the history of modern design. Richly illustrated with period watercolors and drawings, as well as new photographs and garden plans made especially for this publication, this book promises to be an important resource for art and design historians, and a delight to all lovers of gardens.