Recreating Historic Garden Beds

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Wyck Historic House, Garden, and Farm is home to America’s oldest rose garden still in original plan. Included in the garden are the original rose plants from the 19th century design, as well as plants from the 18th century kitchen garden. Several roses in cultivation today were thought lost until they were discovered growing at Wyck, and all specimens of these varieties in commercial trade descend from Wyck plants.

When I took the position of Horticulturist and Landscape Manager at Wyck in March, I took care to make sure that before I made any drastic changes to any of the beds, I gave the garden to chance to tell its own story, and to see how plants popped up here and there to let the story unfold. As the season progressed, I noted quite early that the perimeter beds surrounding the main historic rose garden parterres were spotty and lacked form and design, with a serious weed seed bank to boot. I applied for the assistance of the Longwood Gardens Graduate Program Professional Outreach Project, was awarded the aid on behalf of Wyck, and have been working with the students on re-imagining and designing these large perimeter beds over the course of the summer.

Based on records from the Wyck Papers that the students researched, we will soon be installing these new designs using historically accurate plant palettes that once existed on Wyck grounds. We will also soon have new garden signage, proper plant labels, and a plant collection database as a result of this project. I am thrilled with the project’s progression and am excited to witness its outcome.

Installation days are this Friday and next, 9/19 and 9/26. I will be sure to post the “after” pictures as soon as I have them! Next season will be a truly beautiful sight in the the Wyck gardens! If you want to play a part in this evolution, volunteers are always needed if anyone is interested. I will leave you now with some before pics!

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View of Germantown Avenue bed awaiting its new additions.
Ground view of the Walnut Lane perimeter bed “before.”



New beds coming soon!
Two benches will be added to the perimeter. A future home for one!
“Before” picture of the bed just inside the Germantown Avenue fenceline.