Views beyond the gardens: how we manage the vistas
This winter, I will be working on the vistas at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden where we maintain three primary views. The first two can best be seen from the Oval Garden looking north toward the Moon Gate. Two vistas flank the Moon Gate offering views of the mountains and the sky. The third vista is the ocean view from the Eyrie Terrace.
Over time young trees grow into the vistas and I selectively go in and remove trees that have the encroaching growth. This process is a team approach that takes some sleuthing but the final decisions on removals are made by Cassie Banning, Director of Farm & Gardens, sometimes with advice of the Abby Garden Committee. Most of the time we fell the trees in the winter when the moss and ground have a protective covering of ice or snow.
The other benefit to removing the trees in the winter is that it is safer to burn the tree branches when the surrounding land is covered in wet snow. We do not always burn the tree branches in place. If it is a feasible, we will remove the trees by hand. When we can get equipment to the site, we will pull out the tree trunks or large branches with machinery using cables and chains.
Why don’t we leave the trees and branches where they fall? At the Abby Garden we do not want to leave fallen trees or branches where our visitors can see them. We also do this work for safety reasons. Since these are vistas that we work on regularly, we need to be able to carry equipment in the wooded areas without having to climb over fallen trees and branches. Sometimes we make brush piles, but again only if we can successfully hide them.
The visible woods are treated much like our garden borders. In the borders, we groom for the flowers and in the woods, we groom for the moss. The next time you visit the Abby Garden be sure to take some time to enjoy the vistas as well as the moss and flowers.
Ethan Klein, Lead Groundskeeper, Abby Garden & McAlpin Farm