1 folder+ 11 photographic prints; 26 digital images
Mixed archival materials
United States of America, New Jersey, Bergen, Alpine
Grey House (Alpine, New Jersey)
The five acre property had a few old apple trees and pines when the current owners moved there in 1979 and began planting borders of trees around the perimeter for privacy. The major part of the property behind the house, originally built in 1872, is designed as an open space with a formal garden bordered by fastigiate Irish yews, species conifers planted in peninsula beds in the lawn and an orchard for heritage apple trees. Along one side there is a garden shed transformed into a folly with an arched door, two antique windows and a cupola. Nearby there is a large vegetable and pollinator plants garden that was used previously as a nursery for propagating trees and growing bonsai. Many of the mature trees and shrubs were acquired as cuttings or seeds from other gardens and were propagated here. Hundreds of rhododendrons acquired in trade were planted with conifers along the driveway and as a hedge in front of the house to shield parked cars from view.
The tree collection in this garden is extensive, including five-needle pines from Japan, about 80 Colorado blue spruce selected from the 1,000 cuttings grown by the owner, a hedge of arbor vitae also grown from cuttings, and an assortment of trees including birch, quince, crepe myrtle and musclewood grown for their interesting bark. Two peninsula beds in the open lawn are planted with five-needle pines and other conifers. The apple trees in the orchard and a cut-leaf beech are kept pruned to shapes derived from bonsai. Large trees frame views within the garden and towards mountains in the distance. Hedges of yellow bardzilla peonies and gold leaf spirea add color to the predominantly green palette.
An arch cut in the Irish yew hedge leads to the oval formal garden that has two crescent shaped beds of shrubs, roses and perennials. There is a circular bed in the center that has herbs planted in four quadrants bisected by brick walkways. A low stone wall to the side acts as a border and planting bed for a rock garden.
Persons associated with the garden include Brewster family (former owners, circa 1872- ); Braga/Rionda (former owners, until 1972); Mary Braga (garden designer, 1980's).