United States of America, New Jersey, Essex, Nutley
Mountsier/ Hardie Gardens (Nutley, New Jersey)
Two suburban New Jersey gardens across the street from each other, behind conventional Colonial Revival houses, are linked by the friendship of the owners and their garden designer, Richard Hartlage. The Hardie garden features dense plantings of vividly colored tropicals and outsize grasses, most planted in containers to extend their outdoor growing season.The surrounding high wall was painted cobalt blue to bring the sky into the garden and to set up a contrast with the oranges, yellows and greens of the plants. The approximately 40-foot square plot slopes down seven feet from the back door to the colonnaded garage added in 1992, which led to the design and installation of this garden. Steps lead from the deck directly behind the house to another level with a dining table and chairs, with more steps leading to the hot tub concealed under a deck and garage where brick stands between the columns hold more planted containers. Sculptures on plinths and a decorative metal screen by artist Douglas Wilson have been sited among the plants.The exuberant back garden, which recalls the owner's South African roots, contrasts with the more sedate front garden where white caladiums, elephant's ears and ornamental grasses are planted in neat beds, referencing English Victorian carpet bedding.
The Mountsier garden has more conventional green spaces - open lawn, curvilinear lines and tall clipped hedges separating garden rooms. Starting with an inherited half-acre property smothered by overgrown rhododendron, pieris, and mountain laurel the owner gradually purchased adjacent properties and replaced those houses with smaller structures. Beginning in 1992 Hartlage designed the current 2.3 acre property to showcase more than 100 outdoor sculptures, some seen through openings in the high hedges. An eight-foot high lookout tower is camouflaged by clipped hornbeam, and a grove of Norway maples from an appended property is fronted by a 160-foot curving berm planted with four kinds of Japanese grasses. The front garden has star magnolias, Japanese snowbell trees and clipped American boxwood hedges.
Both gardens have participated in The Garden Conservancy's Open Days. There are no images of the Mountsier garden in this series.
Persons associated with the garden include: Richard Hartlage (garden designer, 1992- ).
The folder includes worksheet and photocopies of articles.
Garden has been featured in "The Grass is Green on Both Sides" by Anne Raver, published in The New York Times, September 18, 2008 (accessed at nytimes.com, April 24, 2014); "The New Jersey Jungle" by Richard Hartlage, published in Garden Design, February/March 2005, pp. 48-53