Spring Home and Garden


Goldsboro News-Argus - Spring Home and Garden

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The Associated Press The period Mark Twain dubbed "the Gild- ed Age" was one of extreme wealth and ostentation, of robber barons amassing great fortunes, of glaring chasms between rich and poor. It was also a time when some of the nation's grandest gar- dens were constructed. "These were incredibly competitive, extrava- gantly wealthy people with tremendous pride in America. They want- ed the country to be viewed as cultured and grand, and their hope was to create gardens that equaled, and ideal- ly surpassed, the great gardens of Europe," says Todd A. Forrest, vice president of horticulture and living collections at the New York Botanical Garden, founded in 1891. The Gilded Age lasted from the 1860s and '70s to just after the turn of the century. Some of the gardens were meant to be exqui- site private gems, while others, such as the New York Botanical Garden, were intended to edify, inspire and uplift the public. A handful of new and recent books pay tribute to their enduring impor- tance. Because of the high cost of maintaining ambitious Gilded Age gardens, many have long since vanished. Others, however, such as the New York Botani- cal Garden in the Bronx, have been dili- gently preserved, evolv- ing over time, as recounted in "The New York Botanical Garden," edited by Forrest and Gregory Long. Dozens more Gilded Age gardens languished but have been restored and opened to the public in recent decades. "Rescuing Eden," by Caroline Seebohm and Curtice Taylor, and "The Shelburne Farms," by Glenn Suokko, tell of heroic efforts by commu- nities and conservancies to resurrect great gar- dens that had fallen into ruin in the mid- 20th century, usually for lack of funding and attention. "For ages, Americans didn't think much about the glorious gardens of this era, and people are suddenly seeing that there are these stun- ningly beautiful places across the country, and that many had gone neglected," Seebohm said. Her book features Gilded Age gardens across the country, including in Georgia, New Hampshire, Cali- fornia, Kentucky, Maine, New Jersey, Texas and South Carolina. "The brilliant thing is that every single one of these gardens has been resurrected and is now open to the public," she says. "The Rockefeller Fam- ily Gardens," by the New York Botanical Garden's Forrest and Larry Lederman, is a multi-generational story that to some extent traces the changing ideals of American gar- dens. And Sam Watters' "Gardens for a Beautiful America" features metic- ulously identified photos of some of the most opu- lent gardens of the time. One inspiring story of a garden's rise, fall and rebirth is that of the lit- tle-known Untermyer Gardens in Yonkers, N.Y., featured in "Rescu- ing Eden." "It had really fallen into total ruin and was pretty bleak for decades, but the garden, which was one of the truly great gardens of the Gilded Age, is now in the full flowering of its second life, largely thanks to a fellow named Stephen Byrnes," Seebohm explains. Byrnes, who stumbled upon ruins in what remained of the garden in the 1980s, became founder and president of the Untermyer Gardens Conservancy. In its heyday, the gar- den, where Isadora Dun- can once danced and parties and poetry read- ings were held, sprawled over 150 acres with a view of the Hudson River Valley. It was part of a lavish estate belonging to Samuel Untermyer, a New York lawyer who opened it to the public weekly for 25 years and intended it to remain open for posterity. "The piece de resist- ance of the garden was a walled garden with crisscrossing canals," Seebohm says. "But sometimes peo- ple don't think their endowments through very carefully, and when Untermyer died, he left it to the town of Yonkers, which didn't have the means to maintain it," says adds. Thanks largely to Byrnes and the conser- vancy, the garden is now a Yonkers city park. It once again features its stunning Walled Garden, inspired by those of Indo-Persian antiquity, with reflect- ing pools teeming with exotic water lilies. The mosaic floors of the loggia are once again intact. And a long outdoor staircase punc- tuated by Roman-style columns offers dramat- ic, unobstructed views of the Hudson, just as it did in the Gilded Age. 12 — Spring, Home & Garden Thursday, March 16, 2017 2302 Wayne Memorial Drive, Goldsboro • 919-735-6936 www.waynerespiratory.com WAYNE PHARMACY AND RESPIRATORY HOME CARE Go where you want, when you want without worrying about running out of oxygen. 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They wanted the country to be viewed as cultured and grand, and their hope was to create gardens that equaled, and ideally surpassed, the great gardens of Europe.' TODD A. FORREST on the people who first started doing gilded gardens. ■ Some were private, while others were public. 919-735-9263 Call Today For Your Free Estimate! 2403 N. William Street, Goldsboro www.griffingaragedoors.com GRIFFIN GARAGE DOORS COMMERCIAL RESIDENTIAL 110DCT0317L© THIS SPRING LET US HELP MAKE YOUR HOME BEAUTIFUL SHELTER PET & FASHION ICON Amazing stories start in shelters and rescues. Adopt today to start yours. TOAST 325K+ Instagram Followers

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