Planting Fields Foundation (“the Foundation”) and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (“NYS Parks”) announced today that the restoration of the Beech Copse, an important early action step from the 2019 Planting Fields Cultural Landscape Report (CLR) originally planned for March 2020, will take place this spring.
Completed with the help of Heritage Landscapes, LLC, the CLR recommends nine (9) early action steps, the first of which addresses the Beech Copse, a central Olmsted Brothers design element located on the East Lawn at Planting Fields. The Foundation’s landscape team and NYS Parks will supervise the removal of 12 diseased and declining beech trees, an imperative and unavoidable preventive measure to protect surrounding, healthy plant life and revitalize an iconic, yet deteriorating landscape feature. 22 new beech trees, currently stored and cared for in the Production Greenhouse at Planting Fields, will be replanted by Wonderland Tree Care in the same area before the end of April.
“While building Planting Fields, W.R. Coe traveled to his native England where he observed a distinctive grove of beech trees that he decided to replicate in the landscape of his American country estate,” says Gina Wouters, Planting Fields Foundation Executive Director. “Thanks to a generous donation from a Planting Fields Foundation Trustee, the new trees will be replanted in the same configuration as the original grove, allowing us to preserve the historic intention and composition as it matures over the next decade.”
Adds Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park Director, Vincent Simeone, “What makes the grove so unique is its distinctive, intertwined pattern of both green and copper European Beech trees, giving ita patchwork appearance with varying leaf colors at different times of the year. Unfortunately, over the past 15 years, the grove has declined significantly due to hurricanes, ice storms, heat, drought, and disease. Of the 22 original trees, only 12 remain. Most are in poor condition, infested with disease, or in the final stages of their lifespan. Because of its deteriorating condition, it is time to replace this important landscape feature for future generations to enjoy.”
The Foundation’s landscape team and NYS Parks are working together on other early action steps of the CLR including the restoration and rehabilitation of the Main Entrance Drive, the Heather Garden, and the Carshalton Gates and Carshalton Drive landscape. Already underway since last fall, work at the Carshalton Gates includes clearing the vista towards the gates by selective pruning and removal of invasive plants, and new hardscaping of the entrance drive. Additional improvements recommended by the CLR including installation of sitewide wayfinding and interpretive signage will begin in 2022.