Blithewood Garden: Build the Future

BLITHEWOOD GARDEN is an advanced state of deterioration. The 114-year- old garden shows its age more with each passing year. Whether it be the shifting of the bricks in the paths, or the frost cracks in the masonry and the fountain pool, or the rotting bases on the wooden columns of the pavilion, weather and water have taken a toll on the garden’s infrastructure.

In spring 2016, large sheets of the stucco façade broke away from the back columns of the pavilion, revealing severely deteriorated bricks with almost no mortar. These extremely compromised bricks are the only thing supporting the structure’s impressive copper roof, leaving the entire structure vulnerable to collapse.

In November 2016, the Friends of the Landscape and Arboretum Program at Bard joined forces with the Garden Conservancy to develop an action plan for Blithewood Garden. We’re working together to plan a rehabilitation project to save this beautiful and well-loved garden.

The Garden Conservancy’s role is to assist in project planning and management and guidance on options for rehabilitation. They will also use their national network to raise visibility and provide promotional support for the project. A key element of the plan is the creation of a working group of volunteers who will assist in the real work of getting this project up and running, and then seeing it through to a successful completion. This working group will be essential to the success of the project.

So far, we’ve held several initial meetings, organized our working group, held a promotional lecture that featured well-known landscape architect CeCe Haydock and now we are currently working with an engineering firm to finalize a structural report on the garden’s infrastructure. We need funding to generate repair specifications to guide contractors in the transformation and ultimate stabilization of Blithewood Garden. We also need funding for the actual repair work. We need your interest and support to spread the word, donate funding, help with the work, and ensure that Blithewood Garden exists for future generations.

Blithewood Garden: Build the Future