Adirondack Journal — The Gardens of the Adirondack Museum
The Gardens of the Adirondack Museum
The grounds of the Adirondack Museum have changed a great deal since the museum first opened in 1957. However, the commitment to beautiful gardens has remained constant over the years.
Mary Marquand Hochschild, wife of the Adirondack Museum's founder Harold K. Hochschild, carefully designed the first gardens. She created beautiful grounds through nurturing care and the understanding that in the Adirondacks, a "ten-dollar hole" is vital for the success of the "five-dollar plant." Thin topsoil and short growing seasons have long plagued the Adirondack gardener.
While the museum was being built, the grounds were also being carefully shaped. Mary Hochschild's work, along with the truckloads of soil that were brought in, ensured the success of the gardens.
While many plants require extra care and attention, this is not to say there are no thriving flowers in the Adirondack region. A number of perennials return year after year with no additional assistance. Flowers like the pink lupine, blue delphinium, and the Oregon grape flourish here. However, roses and rhododendrons require far more coaxing and are not often seen as practical plantings in this region.
The difficulties Adirondack gardeners face do not stop them from following fanciful pursuits. However, plants still must be carefully selected to ensure they are hearty enough to survive.
A number of non-native plants grace gardens around the region and at the museum. While many bloom at least a month later than in other climates, it is not uncommon to find azaleas, lilies, and peonies along with countless other "transplants" in this mountainous region. With many of the non-native plantings, the importance of Mary Hochschild's idea of a "ten-dollar" hole becomes apparent.
Much like the gardening staff at the museum, gardeners throughout the Adirondacks have always had to make adjustments for tricky planting conditions and shorter growing seasons. While Lucelia Mills Clark's diaries spoke of planting vegetables rather than prized flower gardens, her records typify methods created to overcome short, more difficult growing seasons.
In her April 4, 1906 journal entry, Lucelia Mills Clark who had a homestead near Cranberry Lake, New York, writes that she started cabbage and lettuce indoors in eggshells. As the ground is not suitable for planting at this time of year in the Adirondacks, one must come up with alternate means of starting plants. There is often still snow remaining on the ground in early April when gardeners in other regions have started planting.
While the important feature of the Adirondack Museum's grounds are the flower gardens, a new element was added during the 2008 season. Mrs. Merwin's Kitchen Garden was introduced. Frances (Fannie) Merwin ran the Blue Mountain House, now the site of the Adirondack Museum, with her husband Tyler.
Kitchen gardens were a common feature of Adirondack homes and included vegetables, fruits, and herbs. The museum's Kitchen Garden includes typical staples found in many Adirondack gardens, such as zucchini, lettuce, strawberries, and sage. All of these plants were also found in Mrs. Merwin's garden, which she used to feed guests staying at the Blue Mountain House.
As the museum changes every year so do its gardens. Many different gardeners have tended to the grounds and ensured that Mary Hochschild's vision continues. While the Circle Garden near the View Deck and the Cutting Garden today remain much as Hochschild originally designed them, most of the gardens have changed as buildings are added and the museum's campus has evolved.
Below you can find a sample of plants in the 2009 gardens at the museum.
Gardens of the Adirondack Museum
Visitor Center Garden
|Cranesbill - Geranium sp.||Hay-scented Fern - Dennstaedtia punctiloba|
|Coral Bells - Heuchera sp.||Day Lillies - Hemerocallis sp.|
|Astilbe - Astilbe sp.||Tulips|
|Anemone - Anemone sylvestris|
|Lowbush Cranberry - Viburnum trilobum 'compactum'|
|Winterberry bush - Ilex verticillata|
|Bearberry - Cotoneaster dammeri|
Reflection Pond and Main Building Gardens
|Astilbe - Astilbe sp.||Hay-scented Fern - Dennstaedtia punctiloba|
|Hosta - Hosta sp.||Lily of the Valley - Convallaria majalis|
|Day Lilies - Hemerocallis sp.||Ostrich Fern - Matteuccia struthiopteris|
|Royal Ferns - Osmunda regalis|
Amur Maple - Acer ginnai
Post - n - Rail Garden
|Autumn Crocus - Colchicum speciosum||False Indigo - Baptista sp.|
|Lilies - Lilium (asiatic and oriental)||Purple Coneflower - Echinacea purpurea|
|Japanese Anemone - Anemone x hybrida||Jacobs Ladder - Polemonium sp.|
|Globe Thistle - Echinops ritro||Rudbeckia maxima|
|Yarrow - Achillea sp.||Butterfly Weed - Asclepias tuberosa|
|Lady's Mantle - Alchemilla mollis||Bachelor Buttons - Centaurea montana|
|Cranesbill Geranium - Geranium sp.||Garden Phlox - Phlox paniculata|
|Silvermound - Artemesia schidtiana 'Nana'||Tall Gayfeather - Liatris scariosa|
|Fernleaf Yarrow - Achillea filipendulina||Allium - Allium sp.|
|Tickseed - Coreopsis lanceolata||Balloon flower - Platycodon sp.|
|Fern Leaf Bleeding Heart - Dicentra 'candy hearts'|
|Threadleaf Coreopsis - Coreopsis verticillata|
|Dropwort Meadowsweet - Filipendula vulgaris|
Spirea - Spirea sp.
Mining Rock Garden and Fire Tower Garden
|Creeping Phlox - Phlox subulata||Blue Phlox - Phlox divaricata|
|Spiderwort - Tradescantia ohiensis||Vipers Bugloss - Echium vulgare|
|Wild Thyme - Thymus serphyllum||Nasturtium (annual)|
|Day Lilies - Hemerocallis sp.||Bergenia - Bergenia cordifolia|
|Bracken Fern - Pteridium aquilinum||Myrtle - Vinca minor|
|Purple Trillium - Trillium erectum||Meadowsweet - Spirea alba|
|Sedum - Sedum sp.||Bladder Campion - Silene Vulgaris|
|Perennial Foxglove - Digitalis grandiflora|
Butterfly Garden, Mark W. Potter Education Center and The Great Outdoors Gardens
|Black-eyed Susan - Rudbeckia sp.||Pincushion Flower - Scabiosa sp.|
|Garden Phlox - Phlox paniculata||Bee Balm - Monarda didyma|
|Allium - Allium sp.||Purple Coneflower - Echinacea purpurea|
|Liatris - Liatris sp.||Spiderwort|
|Parsley and Nasturtium (annuals)||Sandstone Yarrow - Achillea millefolium|
|Joe-Pye Weed - Eupatorium maculatum||Meadow Sage - Salvia superba|
|Cotoneaster - Cotoneaster sp.||Vernal Witch Hazel - Hamamelis vernalis|
|Summersweet Clethra - Clethra alnifolia||Blue Rug Juniper - Juniperus horizontalis 'Wiltoni'|
|Juniper - Juniperus chinensis||Red Osier Dogwood - Cornus alba siberica|
|Peegee Hydrangea - Hydrangea paniculata|
Marion River Carry Pavilion Garden
|Interupted Fern - Osmunda claytonia||False Solomons Seal - Smilacina racemosa|
|Ostrich Fern - Matteucia stuthiopteris||Canadian Mayflower - Maianthemum canadense|
|Mountain Wood Fern - Dryopteris spinulosa||Hay-scented Fern - Dennistaedtia Punctiloba|
|Higbush Cranberry - Viburnum trilobum||Lowbush Blueberry - Vaccinium sp.|
|White Spruce - Picea glauca||Mountain Ash - Sorbus americana|
|Colorado Blue Spruce - Picea pungens||Eastern Hemlock - Tsuga canadensis|
|Bearded Iris - Iris||Spurge - Euphorbia sp.|
|Campanula - Campanula carpatica sp.||Hollyhocks - Alcea sp.|
|Beardtongue - Penstemon sp.||Purple Coneflower - Echinacea purpurea|
|Japanese Iris - Iris Ensata||Globe Thistle - Echinops ritro|
|White Coneflower - Echinacea purpurea 'white swan'|
Merwin Hill and Bull Cottage Gardens
|Black-eyed Susan - Rudbeckia sp.||Purple Trillium - Trillium erectum||Solomons Seal - Polygonatum||White Baneberry - Actae pachypoda|
|Indian Poke - Varatrum vivide||Jack-n-the pulpit - Arisaema triphyllum|
|Columbine - Aquilegia||Tall Meadow rue - Thalictrum pubescens|
|Toadshade - Trillium sessile||Pink Lady's Slipper - cypripedium acaule|
|Hosta - Hosta sp.||Blue Cohosh - caulophyllum thalictroides|
|Myrtle - Vinca minor||Colts Foot - Tussilago farfara|
|Comfrey - Symphytum sp.||Purple Threeawn - Aristida purpurea|
|Astilbe - Astilbe sp.||Round-lobed Hepatica - Anemone Americana|
|Day Lilies - Hemerocallis sp.||Spotted touch-me-not - Impatiens capensis|
|Round Leaf Orchid - Amerorchis rotundifolia|
|Maiden Hair Fern - Adiaritum pedatum||Long Beech Fern - Thelopteris phegopteris|
|Christmas Fern - Polystichum acrostichoides|
|Amur Honeysuckle - Lonicera maackii||Red Twig Dogwood - Cornus alba siberica|
Pondside, Roadside and Wetland Gardens
|Astilbe - Astilbe sp.||Variegated Japanese Iris - Iris ensta 'variegatum'|
|Siberian Iris - Iris Siberica||Bugleweed - Ajuga sp.|
|Day Lilies - Hemerocallis sp.||Bergenia - Bergenia cordifolia|
|Ligularia - 'The Rocket'||Sensitive Fern - Onoclea sensibilis|
|Marsh Marigold - Caltha palustris||Hay-scented Fern - Dennstaedtia punctiloba|
|White Trillium - Trillium grandiflorum||Lady's Mantle - Alchemilla mollis|
|Anemone - Anemone sp.||Fireweed - Chamerion angustifolium|
|Milkweed - Ascepias syriaca||Blue Flag - Iris versicolor|
|Royal Fern - Osmunda regalis||White Baneberry - Actae pachypoda|
|Siberian Bugloss - Brunnera macrophylla||Cinnamon Fern - Osmunda cinnamomea|
|Cancer root - Orobanche uniflorum||Biennial Foxglove - Digitalis purpureum|