Page 7 - 2017 Preservation Society Summer Gazette
P. 7

A New (Old) Look at Marble House
by Jeff Curtis, Director of Gardens & Grounds
Any time we have to remove an old tree on one of our
properties, it’s not an easy decision to make. Many factors are considered, but paramount to all is public safety. The most recent example is at Marble House, where last year we had to remove three beech trees on the front lawn because of their physical condition.
One was completely dead, the second was over 90% dead and the third was over 50% dead.
All three trees posed an extreme hazard to the public. But with this problem came an opportunity.
Once the decision was made that the trees had to come down, it presented a perfect opportunity to restore the front yard to its original condition. None of the three trees that were removed was original to the landscape. The two trees which remain are original.
The landscape restoration project at Marble House included the installation of an irrigation system and the creation of a grass-covered walkway, with special pavers under the lawn to maintain stability. The effect was to open up the magnificent view of the front entrance of the house from the street, as it was originally designed to be seen.
But we weren't done. The hedgerow along the south border
of the property, from Bellevue Avenue all the way to the Chinese
Tea House, needed a complete overhaul. The work will be done
in phases, over four years. With funding support from the Prince Charitable Trusts, we started the job in March of this year. A number of Norway maples, which had been planted in the period between two major hurricanes in 1938 and 1954, were removed. The one tree that remains is a large American sweetgum. Newly planted trees include two European beech, two American elm and two sweetgum. Rhododendrons which had been removed were also replanted in their original location.
We are grateful for the continued support of the Prince Charitable Trusts, which has funded much of the Preservation Society's landscape work since 1988, when Bartlett Tree Experts was first hired to conduct a comprehensive tree inventory of all
our properties. Over the years we have worked closely together on many landscape projects, and I look forward to partnering with the Trusts for many years to come.
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