December 9, 2016
Dear Friends of Untermyer Gardens,
It's been just a few years - but together we can celebrate the Walled Garden's emergence as a reborn Garden of Eden. This is, in fact, what a Persian garden represents. We thank you for being a part of this work and hope you will continue to support our miracle on the banks of the Hudson.
With the restoration this year of our second major garden feature, the Temple of Love, we wonder whether we haven't spun off another vision of paradise. With its five waterfalls and six cascades, the sound of the water alone is enough to transport you to another world.
Faced with the imminent ruin of some of our mosaics, we embarked on an emergency repair operation. These mosaics have been relaid, resecured, regrouted, cleaned, and sealed. They are precious, almost unique, in American gardens.
The gate house along the Aqueduct was near collapse, so we have rushed to reinforce it with new steel, timbers, and concrete. We want to preserve this as a stabilized ruin, so will have to decide how much of the graffiti to remove. Loose stucco will be removed, with the underlying brick remaining exposed. Fittingly, this will become the setting for a Ruin Garden.
All of this work, as well as the horticultural endeavors of our six gardeners, is supported solely by private philanthropy. Every gift - large and small - from each of our more than 500 supporters is received with gratitude in our one-room office.
So far as we know, Untermyer Park and Gardens is the only great garden in America that is free to the public. Because of this, the crowds stream in, much as Samuel Untermyer would have wanted. The public is embracing the rebirth of this garden. Our decision in 2015 to stage a Grand Holiday Illumination, with the garden ablaze in colorful twinkling lights accompanied by soft music from the Jewish, Christian, Islamic, and Zoroastrian traditions, was a sensation. We have greatly expanded this year's Illumination, which begins with the opening ceremony tonight at 6:00.
What a privilege it is to have a part in restoring the grand vision of a great man who wanted to give something precious to the people. The noble majesty of Untermyer's garden inspires us every day. Thank you for ensuring that our gardens bring enjoyment and wonder to all who visit.
We look forward to your continued support and hope you will consider making a donation this year.
Stephen F. Byrns
President, Untermyer Gardens Conservancy
All about Untermyer Gardens: history and horticulture.