United States of America, New Jersey, Morris County, Madison
Kerkeslager Gardens (Madison, New Jersey)
Kerkeslager Gardens is primarily English in style with 15 distinct areas on about two-thirds acre with a brick Georgian colonial house built in the 1930s, straight brick pathways and patios, and a glass conservatory near the kitchen. The path into the garden from the garage is comprised of irregular flagstones, with borders of herbaceous perennials and ground covers that lead to a greenhouse surrounded by garden beds. Containers planted with citrus trees winter over in the greenhouse and are brought out in summer to the surrounding Italian-influenced garden room. Further on there are deep borders planted with perennials, trees, shrubs and climbing vines that are viewed from serpentine gravel paths. Trellises for roses, climbing hydrangea and clematis on the sides of the garage and garden shed add verticality. This contrasts with the brick hardscape on the formal side of the back garden that echoes the symmetrical design of the house. The formal side starts at the English conservatory outside the kitchen with all the bricked areas on a straight axis leading to the pergola. It has two patios with different styles of furniture, a formal garden with an armillary sphere in the center with four symmetrical flower beds, an arbor gate leading to the next room, and culminates in a large pergola. Installation of the Kerkeslager Gardens began in 1988 by replacing lawn and weed trees, but the area was tilled and left unplanted for two years while the soil was amended to support the lush growth now featured.
In the early twentieth century this property was part of a tennis club, later subdivided for housing. The current owners renovated the house to add larger windows and the glass conservatory from which they can view most of the garden. An herb garden that they considered mandatory was planted near the house and bordered by low boxwoods and roses, and more herbs are planted in pots lining the staircase. A turnaround adjoining the driveway is bordered by large lightweight containers planted with sedum and ornamental grasses.
Persons associated with the garden include: Anne Butterworth Sherman (former owner until 1952); Paul and Mary Dimmock (former owners, 1952 - 1970); Colin and Ellen Browning (former owners, 1970 - 1986); Wesketch Architecture (renovator of house, 1999 - 2000); Brigitte Burke, ASLA (landscape architect, 1988, 1991, 1993, 1996, 2012).
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The Garden Club of Madison facilitated the submission of this garden's documentation.
The folder includes worksheets and photocopies of articles.
This property is featured in "English Style Country Gardens" by Karen Reid, published in New Jersey Country Roads Magazine, Spring 1995, illustration on p. 13; "Picture This" by Curtis Rist, published in This Old House magazine, January/February 2000, p. 51
Smithsonian Gardens, PO Box 37012, Capital Gallery, Suite 3300, MRC 506, Washington, DC 20013-7012