As part of its mission to educate the public on issues related to gardening and conservation, Rumson Garden Club offers free public lectures each year.
On February 7, 2017, Dean Norton, Director of Horticulture at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate in Mount Vernon Virginia, presented a public lecture entitled “Welcome Home George Washington: The History, Beauty, Use And Importance Of Garden Landscapes At Our First President’s Home” at Rumson Country Club.
Even as he led the new country through revolutionary war and took on the the overwhelming responsibility as our first President, George Washington’s mind was rarely far from the lush gardens and majestic views at Mount Vernon. He was very interested in garden design, particularly the naturalistic style of 18th century English landscape designer Batty Langley. He oversaw all aspects of the landscape at Mount Vernon and designed walks, roads and lawns and planted hundreds of native trees and shrubs. His gardens provided food for the mansion’s inhabitants and guests.
All four of the prinipal gardens at Mount Vernon have been researched, restored and replanted, including the upper pleasure garden, the lower (or kitchen) garden, the botanical garden and the fruit garden and nursery. “Our goal at Mt. Vernon is to so accurately maintain and represent the gardens at Mount Vernon, that if George and Martha Washington were to return, they would feel right at home,” said Norton.
In October of 2016, Cindy Zipf, Executive Director of Clean Ocean Action, a non-profit organization based in Highlands, New Jersey which focuses on improving the degraded water quality of the marine waters off the New Jersey/New York coast, present a special public lecture entitled “Watershed Mindfulness - We Are All Connected to the Sea” at Rumson Country Club.
Zipf spoke about the uniqueness and importance of the ocean off the Jersey Shore. She highlighted the on-going efforts to keep it healthy for all to enjoy and the role it plays in the state’s $28 billion clean ocean economy. In addition, Cindy discussed COA’s most recent local work to address pollution in the Navesink River. COA conducted a year-long investigation into the water quality of the Navesink River and wrote the report entitled, “Pathogen Pollution in the Navesink River,” in response the NJ Department of Environmental Protection’s decision to downgrade over 560 acres of shellfish habitat. The report included a Call to Action and launched the Rally for the Navesink, a grassroots no blame-game, find it-fix it campaign to reduce pollution to ensure the river is safe for fish and families. The goal is a new paradigm of watershed mindfulness—we are all connected to the sea.
“Rumson Garden Club is a founding member of Clean Ocean Action (COA)’s coalition and is an essential partner in the success of ocean protection over the last 33 years, said Rumson Garden Club President Liz Card. We’re so proud to have a part in their mission of educating the public as to the importance of cleaning up and protecting our ocean.”
In December of 2015, Bruce Crawford, Director of the Rutgers Gardens, the official botanic garden of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, presented a special public lecture entitled “A Designer’s Love Affair With Trees” at Bingham Hall.
“Without question, everyone loves and appreciates a tree,” says Crawford. “I would also suspect that everyone has a memory associated with a tree. Whether that memory is of climbing a tree, enjoying a picnic beneath a tree or - dare I say - perhaps your first kiss underneath a tree, we all have an emotional attachment to trees. But there are also numerous reasons to appreciate trees for what they can do for the garden and for making your home more enjoyable.”
Bruce Crawford is the Director of Rutgers Gardens and is an adjunct professor in the Landscape Architecture Department at Rutgers University. In addition to managing, designing and developing the 180 acres of the Rutgers Gardens, he teaches and shares his love of fun and unusual plants with students, garden clubs, Master Gardeners, community groups and Rutgers Gardens visitors.
Mr. Crawford’s lecture will center on the benefits of planting and cultivating trees on private properties, which include reducing cooling and heating bills by creating shade and protecting homes from cold winds, creating depth and texture in a garden, blocking noise, and even helping us to live longer!
Many thanks to our fascinating speakers, and we look forward to more!