Contributed by Virginia Condon, F.W. Vanderbilt Garden Association
Photo from gardeners collection shows original garden (pre-1938), including hot houses.
Upper annual beds are planted by F.W. Vanderbilt Garden Association volunteers
We are very excited to be celebrating our 30th year in the garden.
Fredrick W. Vanderbilt died in 1938. Two years later, FDR persuaded the Vanderbilt heir to donate the property to the Federal Government. The country went to war soon after and there were no funds or plans to replace the garden beds. Soon weeds and brush took over the garden beds and vines choked the arbors and crumbling walls. In 1981 a government grant allowed the National Park Service to complete the restoration of the walls and structures, but there were no plans to replace the gardens.
Reflecting pool before restoratio
In 1984, the Fredrick W. Vanderbilt Garden Association was founded by three Hyde Park women, Marion Asher, Louise Martin and Marty Stuart, with the purpose of rehabilitating the gardens. The rehabilitation began in the fall of 1984, with the cutting out and preparation of the upper and lower annual beds. The following spring, the beds were planted with the same plant varieties that Mr. Vanderbilt’s gardeners had used originally. The Cherry Walk and Pool Garden were planted with perennials in 1986. The following year, the rose garden terraces were planted.
New reflecting pool with “Barefoot Kate” and perennial beds
Rose Pergola overgrown with grass and weeds, before FWVGA
More recently, the Boy Dolphin fountain, in the lower garden was restored and the rose beds were replanted. We are now in the process of completing their metal edging, and the Cherry Walk is being restored to its historic layout.
The Cherry Walk, renovated, but prior to further restoration completed recently.
The Fredrick W. Vanderbilt Garden Association is a volunteer, not-for-profit organization, dedicated to the rehabilitation and maintenance of the garden. Funds are raised by the organization, through fund-raising events and contributions from individuals and businesses.
On weekends from April through October there are Greeters at the garden gate to welcome visitors and provide them with brochures for a self guided tour and the toolhouse is open so visitors can view photographs from the Vanderbilt era and albums of the Association’s work over the years. Our trained Interpreters offer free guided tours of the gardens on the third Sunday of the month from 1-4pm.
U P C O M I N G E V E N T S
Fall Festival Plant Sale
Saturday, October 4, 2014, 9am-4PM, rain or shine
Taking place on the lawn next to the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site parking lot. No entrance fee to the grounds. Among the items featured for sale will be hardy mums, asters, flowering kale & cabbage, ornamental peppers, perennials for fall planting, and more!
There is always a need for garden lovers, whether it is working in the garden, greeting on the weekends, helping with fund-raising or donating. If any of these appeal to you please visit our website for more information.