Tag Archives: Gardens – Landscape Architecture

The Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan


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Columbia University Press has announced the publication of The Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan, 1811-2011, edited by Hilary Ballon, which includes more than 150 illustrations and a gatefold of the original plan. The book accompanies the exhibit of the same name which just opened at the Museum of the City of New York.

Laying out Manhattan’s street grid and providing a rationale for the growth of New York was the city’s first great civic enterprise, not to mention a brazenly ambitious project and major milestone in the history of city planning. The grid created the physical conditions for business and society to flourish and embodied the drive and discipline for which the city would come to be known. The Greatest Grid does more than memorialize such a visionary effort, it also serves as reference full of rare images and information.

The Greatest Grid shares the history of the Commissioners’ plan, incorporating archival photos and illustrations, primary documents and testimony, and magnificent maps with essential analysis. The text, written by leading historians of New York City, follows the grid’s initial design, implementation, and evolution, and then speaks to its enduring influence. A foldout map, accompanied by explanatory notes, reproduces the Commissioners’ original plan, and additional maps and prints chart the city’s pre-1811 irregular growth patterns and local precedent for the grid’s design.

This text describes the social, political, and intellectual figures who were instrumental in remaking early New York, not in the image of old Europe but as a reflection of other American cities and a distinct New World sensibility. The grid reaffirmed old hierarchies while creating new opportunities for power and advancement, giving rise to the multicultural, highly networked landscape New Yorkers are familiar with today.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.

Fort Ti Offers Garden & Landscape Symposium


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The King’s Garden at Fort Ticonderoga is presenting its first Garden & Landscape Symposium, “Planting the Seeds of Knowledge for Home Gardeners,” on Saturday, April 14. This new annually planned day-long symposium, geared for both beginning and experienced gardeners, provides helpful insights from garden experts who live and garden in upstate New York and Vermont. This springtime event takes place in the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center and is open by pre-registration only.

This one-day program focuses on practical, easy-to-implement strategies for expanding and improving your garden or landscape. The programs are offered in an informal setting that encourages interaction between speakers and attendees. Speakers include:

Emily DeBolt, owner of Fiddlehead Creek Native Plant Nursery in Hartford, New York, “Go Native! An Introduction to Gardening with Native Plants”

Amy Ivy, Cornell Cooperative Extension, “Home Composting Made Easy”

Heidi teRiele Karkoski, Curator of Landscape at Fort Ticonderoga, “The King’s Garden 2012: A Sneak Peek.”

Sarah Kingsley-Richards, Vermont Master Gardener, “What is Wrong with My Plant? Diagnosing Common Pests and Diseases in Garden Plants”

Leonard Perry, instructor and researcher at the University of Vermont, “Perennials: New Introductions & Underused Favorites”

Nancy Wotton Scarzello, herbalist and educator, “The Gourmet Garden: Culinary Herbs & Edible Flowers”

Registration for the Garden & Landscape Symposium is now open. The cost for the day-long symposium, which includes a box lunch, is $75 ($65 for members of the Friends of Fort Ticonderoga). A brochure with the complete schedule and a registration form is available on Fort Ticonderoga’s website by selecting “Explore and Learn” and choosing “Life Long Learning” on the drop-down menu. A printed copy is also available upon request by contacting Rich Strum, Director of Education, at 518-585-6370.

Chris Pryslopski: Hudson River Valley Review Favorites


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In my last post I discussed the variety of topics and writers represented in the The Hudson River Valley Review, but the issue I am most proud of is Autumn 2010 [pdf], dedicated to exploring our region’s role and legacy of Landscape Architecture.

Included in the issue is an introduction to Andrew Jackson Downing (arguably its most influential figure in of regional and national import), an exploration of the creation of the Mohonk Mountain House and its network of carriage roads, the original call for the creation of an Appalachian Trail, Thomas Cole’s creation of his estate Cedar Grove, and a photo essay presenting Bannerman’s Castle. Continue reading

Frederick Law Olmsted:Abolitionist, Conservationist, Activist


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Da Capo Press has recently published Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted by Justin Martin, the author of biographies of Alan Greenspan and Ralph Nader.

Frederick Law Olmsted is arguably the most important historical figure that the average American knows the least about. Best remembered for his landscape architecture, Olmsted was also an influential journalist, early voice for the environment, and abolitionist credited with helping dissuade England from joining the South in the Civil War.

Frederick Law Olmsted is best remembered as the pioneer of landscape architecture in the United States. From the US Capitol grounds and Boston’s Emerald Necklace to Stanford University’s campus and New York’s Central Park, Olmsted was an artist who painted with lakes, shrubs, and wooded slopes. His stature and importance as an architect has been paramount in previous biographies, but his role as a social visionary, activist, and reformer has been frequently overlooked until now.

Justin Martin’s research shows Olmsted’s life to be a striking blend of high achievement, prodigious energy, and personal tragedy. He played a crucial role in the early efforts to preserve Yosemite and Niagara Falls, and designed Boston’s Back Bay Fens not only as a park, but also as America’s first wetlands restoration. As a former sailor, scientific farmer, and failed gold-miner, Olmsted brought wildly varied experiences to his works and career. His personal achievements were shadowed however by misfortune — a strained marriage, tense family life, and psychiatric institutionalization.

Olmsted accomplished more than most people could in three lifetimes. As a park maker, environmentalist, and abolitionist he helped shape modern America. At a time when open space is at a premium, he’s left a green legacy in city after city across North America. His early understanding of our need for open spaces, as well as spiritual and physical restoration in nature, has been a significant motivator for generations of environmental conservationists since.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.

200 Years of Landscape History at Hyde Park


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Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Sites will be offering historic landscape and garden tours, free, on the third Sunday of the month offered by the National Park Service and their partner, the Frederick W. Vanderbilt Garden Association.

On July 17, August 21, September 18 and October 16, participants can meet at 1:00 pm at the Vanderbilt Mansion visitor parking area for the “200 Years of Landscape History” tour led by an NPS Ranger. The tour concludes at the Formal Gardens where visitors may join FWVGA volunteers between 1:00 pm and 3:30 pm for an additional 30-minute tour.

Interpreter-guides will discuss the history of the gardens, Vanderbilt ownership and the on-going work by the Vanderbilt Garden Association which was formed in 1984 to rehabilitate and maintain the garden plantings.

Park in the Vanderbilt Mansion visitor parking lot and follow the gravel path on the south side of the mansion. Tours will be cancelled if it rains. Please call 845-229-7770 or 845-229-6432 for status if the weather is questionable.

Minnewaska Preserve June Public Programs


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Minnewaska State Park Preserve has announced its June 2011 Public Programs. Pre-registration is required for participation in public programs, but parking is on a first-come, first-served basis. Early arrival to the Park Preserve is recommended as the Park Preserve may fill to capacity before noon, particularly on weekends. For outings, please wear appropriate clothing and footwear and bring snacks and water. A parent or guardian over the age of 18 years must accompany children wishing to participate in any programs. Unless otherwise noted, all programs meet at the Nature Center.

Saturday, June 11, 10:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Mountain Laurel Walk on Mossy Glen
Park Preserve educator Jillian Koehnken will lead this three-mile hike along the quietly babbling edges of the Peter’s Kill, a stream running through cool hemlock forests and tropical-feeling rhododendron stands along the Mossy Glen footpath. This trail does include some tricky footing, but the return trip along the Lower Awosting Carriage Road is an easy stroll. Pre-registration is required.

Sunday, June 12, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Mountain Laurel Hike on the High Peter’s Kill
Join Laura Conner, Environmental Educator, for this approximately five-mile-long hike that features breathtaking views of the Rondout Valley and more from high atop the High Peter’s Kill footpath. Along the way, the mountain laurel should be spectacular in all their pink and white splendor of bloom. And, the hike will conclude with a walk up the Awosting Falls Carriage Road and past the magnificent 60 feet high Awosting Falls. Pre-registration is required.

Saturday, June 18, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Mountain Laurel and Rhododendron Walk
Join Park Preserve educator Jillian Koehnken for a walk down to the cool edges of the Peter’s Kill stream to look for blooming mountain laurel and possibly even rhododendron. This one-and-a-half-mile loop trail does include a steep hill to climb and also a scenic view over the Rondout Valley and the Catskill Mountains. Pre-registration is required.

Saturday, June 18, 11:15 a.m. – 6:45 p.m.
Lake Minnewaska Beach Opens for Season
The swimming beach at Lake Minnewaska will open today for the swimming season. The small, shale-covered beach, which is located along the northwestern shore of Lake Minnewaska, will be open seven days per week until Labor Day, staff and weather permitting.

Saturday, June 18, 11:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Lake Awosting Beach Opens for Weekend
The swimming beach at Lake Awosting will open today for the weekend only. The swimming season will open seven days per week through Labor Day starting Saturday, June 25th. This beach, which is located approximately four miles by foot or bike from the Wildmere parking area, features a smooth rock slab beach on the remote and beautiful Lake Awosting.

Sunday, June 19, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Terrific Trees for Kids
Bring your children to the Minnewaska Nature Center to learn the basics about trees and why they are so important to us. First, we’ll take a walk on the trails near the Nature Center and kids will play a leaf-matching game. Then, we’ll head back to the Nature Center to learn how to age a tree and participants will make a “tree cookie” of their own life to take home. This program is recommended for children aged six to nine years old accompanied by a parent or guardian at least 18 years of age. Pre-registration is required.

Saturday, June 25, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Scrambled Snakes Session for Families
Join Park Preserve educator Jillian Koehnken in the Minnewaska Nature Center for a program about slippery snakes. A brief lesson about the snakes found in the Park Preserve will be followed by our Snake Scents Game, where you are the snake and must determine what is inside a container by scent alone. After this short game, everyone will create their own snake jig-saw puzzle to take home! This program is recommended for children seven years of age and older, accompanied by an adult over the age of 18. Pre-registration is required.

Sunday, June 26, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Four Mile Scenic Loop Hike
Join Laura Conner for a hike along the Mossy Glen footpath, which follows along the edge of the Peter’s Kill stream, and then up a short section of the Blueberry Run footpath to reach the easy-walking Upper Awosting Carriage Road. From here, we’ll walk towards Lake Minnewaska, where we’ll turn down the Scenic Sunset Carriage Road and follow that back down towards the Awosting Parking Lot, our original point of departure. Pre-registration is required.

For information and to register for programs, call the Park Preserve Office at 845-255-0752. Minnewaska State Park Preserve is open from 9:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. through June 5th. From June 6th through July 31st the Park Preserve will close at 9:00 p.m. The fee for parking is $8 per vehicle and there are no additional fees for public programs, unless noted. All fees are subject to change. Minnewaska State Park Preserve consists of approximately 21,000 acres of wild and scenic land located on Route 44/55, five miles west of the intersection with Route 299 in Gardiner, New York.

Fort Ticonderoga’s King’s Garden Open


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The King’s Garden at Fort Ticonderoga opened for the season on June 1 with the colors of the bearded iris and other early blooming perennials and annuals. The garden celebrates the history of agriculture on the Fort Ticonderoga peninsula with tours, programs and special events throughout the season. Opportunities include hands-on family programs, adult learning, daily guided tours and quiet strolls through the scenery, volunteer initiatives, and a garden party.

The first program in the King’s Garden Workshop Series on herbs takes place on Wednesday, June 8th at 1:00 PM – Nature’s Wild Herbs Discovery Walk with local herbalist Nancy Wotton Scarzello.

Participants of this 90-minute walk and talk will tour the Healing Herb Garden and the garden grounds and field edges to learn about the traditional and folkloric uses of herbs and wild plants, identification, and ways they are used today. Pre-registration is required and the cost is $15. The rain date is June 9. For more information or to register, call (518) 585-2821 or email garden@fort-ticonderoga.org. Visit our website for a complete listing of programs in the Fort and King’s Garden, www.FortTiconderoga.org.

The King’s Garden is a restored pleasure garden located on the grounds of Fort Ticonderoga. Tours, educational programs, and demonstrations highlight the beauty and history of the garden throughout the season. The Discovery Gardens outside the walls and acres of manicured grounds offer a setting for exploration and relaxation. The King’s Garden is open June 1 – Columbus Day, October 10, from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm.

Photo: Poppies and bearded irises accent the King’s Garden teahouse located at Fort Ticonderoga.

Wilderstein Opens for the Summer


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Overlooking the Hudson River in Rhinebeck, Wilderstein Historic Site is an exquisite Queen Anne mansion and Calvert Vaux designed landscape, widely regarded as the Hudson Valley’s most important example of Victorian architecture.

Visitors to Wilderstein learn about the history of the estate and its inhabitants, explore the grounds and walking trails, and experience the mansion’s unique architecture and lavish 1888 interiors.

Tours are available May – October, Thursday – Sunday, from noon – 4 PM. Group Tours are welcome by reservation during and outside regular tour hours.

Visit Wilderstein’s website for heir calendar of events, and find them on Facebook.

Boscobel Offers Free Westchester County Day


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On Sunday, May 1, simply show proof of your Westchester residency and admission to Boscobel House & Gardens is free. It’s a wonderful opportunity to get to know one of the Hudson Valley’s most interesting historic sites.

Set upon 68 acres of landscaped grounds, Boscobel House contains a collection of furniture and decorative arts from the Federal period. Collections include rare china and glassware, antique books and fine art, including a Benjamin West painting. An exhibition about the rescue and restoration of Boscobel may also be seen in the Visitors Center at the Carriage House. Continue reading

Garden Tour & Book Signing at Boscobel


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Garden enthusiasts and flora lovers should put down their spades and head over to Boscobel (Garrison, NY) on Arbor Day, Friday, April 29 at 2pm for a presentation by Susan Lowry and Nancy Berner, authors of the new coffee table book, Gardens of the Hudson Valley. Buy the book in the Gift Shop at Boscobel (optional), have it signed, and then tour Boscobel’s gardens lead by the authors themselves. Continue reading