Renovating the James Beard House Garden

James Beard House garden While summer in New York tends to encourage some kicking back, here at the James Beard Foundation we were rolling up our sleeves and getting to work on the renovation of our backyard garden. Beard House guests love to savor a cocktail and canapés in this intimate outdoor area during event receptions in the warmer months, so preserving its charming and cozy feel—including the beloved pig statue and bust of Beard that belonged to him—while also taking care of some much needed repairs and replanting, was our goal. Under the direction of the editors of Garden Design magazine, Paul Keyes of Paul Keyes Associates, and our manager of house operations and house events, Victoria Jordan, the garden slowly bloomed into a lush, efficiently redesigned space over the course of six weeks. Bluestone tiles were torn up and replaced; the gnarly roots of our 80-year-old birch tree, which once threatened to break through the ground, were cut back and redistributed in the earth; and our flower beds received a tidy new family of hedges and plants. Bartlett Tree Experts, True Manufacturing, Barlow Tyrie, Just Terraces, and WingScapes all gifted generous donations to the project. (We’re especially excited about our new True Undercounter Refrigerators, which allows our visiting chefs to set up cooking stations in the garden, and could also double as a container for growing herbs and microgreens in the future. Backyard-to-table cuisine, anyone?) If you want to see more of our garden’s transformation, Garden Design has a detailed, week-by-week account of the project on their website, including some fun time-lapse videos captured by PlantCams that were affixed to the fences surrounding the space. The magazine will also feature the renovation in its November/December 2011 issue.

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