By Robert Burgess
Senior Communications Manager
Despite dealing with the hardships of COVID-19, this spring the Horticulture Team was able to make many improvements in the Lawn Garden. Some guests will notice as new plants grow into their new spaces and others changes will blend in indiscernible even to staff, volunteers, and regular visitors.
Guests may notice new perennial plantings like the wild geranium above.
In other spots, horticulture staff have added colorful annual displays.
One subtle but impactful addition has been opening up the borders of the Lawn Garden to create windows that draw the visitor’s eye to different parts of the grounds. Horticulture Director Mark Richardson calls this technique borrowing from the viewshed.
When Mother Nature throws a curveball, damaging longtime plantings like the rhododendrons that were between the Lawn and Secret gardens, our horticulture experts jump into action to create stunning, diverse collections of annuals and perennials.
Some of the plant maintenance happens behind the scenes, like the extra care given to this Elizabeth Magnolia. The horticulture staff noticed slow growth and leaves tinted yellow instead of dark green. So they jumped into action, using an air spade to remove the compacted clay soil around the roots. They then backfilled with light, nutrient rich soil and then added new ground level plantings. Visitors can watch as the tree responds over the course of the growing season.
Perhaps the most notable change isn’t technically in the Lawn Garden. But the new accessible path that connects the Garden Within Reach to the Lawn Garden makes a dramatic difference. The path winds past the Cottage and Vegetable gardens and enhances all three spaces.