Janice Parker
Landscape Architects

JPLA

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This was a great, old residential site that we renovated and reimagined for a wonderful and famous actress, a true legend: one of America’s sweethearts. The site was difficult, the local herbivory—deer, rabbits, voles and more—had eaten all the native undergrowth, while the tall trees were storm-damaged and weakened. The stream and pond were silted and dying, and the amount of invasive species was quickly increasing.

There was a 250-year-old elm tree in the center of the entry circle. This tree was the main reason for purchasing the property. It was so profound; I caught the arborists holding a prayer circle around the tree; it was threatened by the surrounding weak and leggy pine groves. During Hurricane Irene, a pine came down and sliced the majestic elm in half. It was heartbreaking. However, the tree was resilient. After all, it has been around since the Red Coats came through. We didn’t touch it and it started to regenerate vigorously. Now, if you hadn’t seen the full tree, you would not know there was one half missing. (Again the lesson—if you respect and pay close attention to the natural world, it will repay you in bountiful ways.) Give nature respect and a chance to repair itself, and you have remarkable results.