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Pam's Garden, 1963-2010

Garden Club of Englewood
Physical description:
2 folder+ 34 35mm slides (photographs) + 19 digital images
Mixed archival materials
United States of America, New Jersey, Bergen County, Englewood
New Jersey
Pam's Garden (Englewood, New Jersey)
With time, energy and talent a steep one-third acre suburban lot was transformed into a private, leafy sanctuary terraced on three levels with stone steps, a brick patio, rambling walkways, three reflecting pools with a waterfall between two of them, and a distinctive collection of ericaceous ( acid-loving) shrubs, including some rhododendrons hybridized by the owner. The garden was overgrown and Norway maples, ashes, mulberries and other weed trees had to be cleared out before the transformation could begin. The grading was done by hand, with the owners moving soil in wheelbarrows. A brick patio was built directly behind the house and ground covers, rhododendrons, azaleas and mountain laurels were planted. Native rocks were gathered on excursions to the country, flagstones were reaped when the town replaced its sidewalks, and stone capstones were salvaged from an old school building that was to be demolished. The owners used the rocks to build the walls that define the terraces, built steps from the flagstones, and used the capstones as pedestals. Eventually they built and planted their first reflecting pool on the lowest level. A redwood tree was planted to disguise a telephone pole and English and American ivies were grown over chain link fencing as living borders that kept dogs out of the garden.
A long narrow driveway connects the house to the street and the bed running along one side was planted with spring bulbs, flowers, and shrubs. The rest of the perimeter of the property was planted with evergreen hemlock, rhododendrons, yew and English holly for privacy. There was a small patch of grass planted on each level of the garden that acted as a breathing space between dense foliage plantings. Since the soil was acidic most of the flowering in this garden was early in the season as rhododendrons, foxgloves, and other shrubs, bulbs, and trees bloomed sequentially from April until July. In the heat of summer the garden was a shady, green compilation of shapes and textures.
The owner built a Nearing frame for propagation of hybrid rhododendrons. The frame stays closed so the seedlings are kept warm and moist. Some grew to size and were planted in the garden. Evergreens and other trees were pruned up to let in light for under-plantings. Plants that thrived in Pam's Garden grew in mostly shady and acidic conditions, although heath did not survive the heat of the New Jersey summers.
Persons associated with the garden include Harden (former owner, 1940s-1956); Pamela and James Proctor (former owners, 1956-2010).
The folder includes worksheets, photocopies of articles, plant lists, and other information.
This property is featured in "A Perfect Example of What an Amateur can Achieve" by Joan Lee Faust, The New York Times, May 8, 1966; "Oasis" by Jane Pepper, Plants Alive, October 1979; "On Several Levels" by Margaret Parke, Horticulture, May 1988
Local number:
Data Source:
Archives of American Gardens

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