Our big news is that New York State has awarded us a grant of $500,000 to restore the Persian Pool. We are greatly indebted to Andrea Stewart-Cousins, our impressive state senator and the Senate Majority Leader, to thank for this generous gift, which will make possible our most important and long-awaited restoration project. With an anticipated matching grant from the City of Yonkers and our own fundraising, we now plan to bid out the project this winter and start construction next summer! Mosaics take a very long time to create, so the pool is not scheduled to be completed until 2023.
The race is on to get many garden tasks done before the cold weather sets in. Timothy Tilghman and his team are speeding ahead to erect the hoop house. The concrete foundations have been poured and the steel posts sunk. They support arched frames overhead that indicate the structure’s overall size -- it’s big! This economical but sturdy greenhouse will enable our gardeners and interns to grow a variety of vegetables, herbs and ornamental annuals for our new Vegetable Garden.
Two huge truckloads of plants arrived, with a large number of understory trees and shrubs that will enrich the landscape in our forest and more natural areas. The new copse on the south side of the driveway entrance and a scattering of dogwoods, redbuds, and witch hazel at the tulip tree grove add a small-scale layer below the large trees. With these improvements, we will be able to reduce the amount of mown grass at Untermyer Gardens.
While the potted plants have now been removed from the garden in anticipation of a frost, I would like to comment on a condition that a few people have questioned. The top of the Vista is reached through a narrow gate, which is flanked by large pots, and the foliage from these pots intruded into the passageway in high summer. Was this a sign of neglect by our otherwise diligent gardeners? No, according to Timothy. He deliberately allowed this foliage to spread as a way to compel us to come into close contact with the plants and actually touch them. Plants are our friends!
Autumn is a great time to enjoy grasses and their seed heads. While we have some large clumps at our picnic area overlooking the Hudson, I am more interested in what is gestating in our future Meadow. Just below the Lower Terrace of the Walled Garden, you can see that the gardeners have killed clumps of invasive mugwort as a way to transition to a balanced native landscape of grasses and wildflowers. This meadow will cover several acres, to be unveiled slowly over the next seven years or so.
Finally, please come see some autumnal color before it disappears.
May you all enjoy a festive Thanksgiving!
All about Untermyer Gardens: history and horticulture.