Heather Garden Restoration

In 1924 the Olmsted Brothers identified a hollow on the north border of the property that would become the site of the Heather Garden. The garden functions as an unexpected formal landscape feature cradled within a forest and lawn. Native to the moors of Northern Europe and the British Isles, the concept of a Heather Garden entered the Olmsted Brothers design repertoire in the 1920s, with the Planting Fields garden serving as one of the earliest examples. Other Heather Gardens by the Olmsted Firm include a feature at Fort Tryon for John D. Rockefeller, Jr. completed in 1935, and Heather Gardens as far at Tacoma, WA and as near as Syracuse, NY.

Identified as one of the nine early action items of the Cultural Landscape Report (CLR) completed in 2019, the restoration of the Heather Garden is Planting Fields’s signature Olmsted 200 project. Different from other landscape restoration initiatives that can take decades to reach maturity, the restoration of the Heather Garden offers near immediate impact, requiring one complete season for the plants to reach their peak. All our landscape restoration projects are underscored by a commitment to sustainable design. The plant material of this garden has been expanded to include azaleas and spring bulbs that will make the space a destination year-round. Innocenti & Webel were engaged to develop plans for the garden restoration informed by the original Olmsted plans. The project scope included seven main components: installation of drainage, regrading and contouring of the soil grade, installing new soil to defined specifications, removal of designated trees, renovation of hardscape features within the garden, sourcing and planting of new plant material, and development of a long-range maintenance plan.

The Margaret Sullivan Heather Garden was completed and opened to the public on April 26, 2022.

See below for a photo album of the Ribbon Cutting.