This has been another busy week at the Olmsted Center! Currently I am working on finishing up a Cultural Landscape Inventory for the Zane Grey Museum in the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River. It’s been a lot of detective work just trying to track down sources and bits of history about the site. It’s a lot of fun! There’s also been talk of going back to the Upper Delaware to help with some orchard work at the Zane Grey site.
Our adventure of the week was to the Longfellow House here in Cambridge. We had lovely weather and an engaging tour of both the house and gardens. I’d like to send a special thanks out to the park staff that were so amazing yesterday. Rob Velella was our interpretative tour guide of the house, and he did an amazing job of communicating the histories of the house from the time it was Washington’s Headquarters through the generations of Longfellow’s that inhabited the house. He recited a bit of verse from the various poets that spent time in the house, and we particularly liked this part of the tour! Rob and Sara, one of our CRDIP interns, can be seen below.
Afterwards, we spent a bit of time with Mona Mckindley, who has been in charge of maintaining the new garden on site. In the late 1900s, the garden was renovated by Ellen Biddle Shipman and Martha Brookes Hutcheson for Alice Longfellow, daughter of the poet. Much of the garden had been shaded out and overgrown, but the park received a grant that enabled them to restore the garden to it’s 1900 formal design. Mona and other SCA interns have been working hard to keep up the many layers of colors and textures in the gardens this summer, although the 90 degree days are taking a toll on the plants. Pictured below are Mona and Andre, CRDIP intern, looking at the back of the Longfellow House as seen from the garden.
Mona was very knowledgeable on all aspects of the garden, and shared some amazing smelling plants with us, which is one of the major elements found in the garden.
Seen here are the landscape drawings that included Ellen Biddle Shipman’s original plans, and the restored garden plan. One of my favorite things about Mona is that she writes notes all over these drawings. So, as she discovers species that are more climate appropriate and that work better in the garden, she writes her notes in this plan.