FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 9, 2012
Washington, D.C. – May 9, 2012 — Tudor Place Trustees, neighbors, and other supporters gathered yesterday evening in the historic Georgetown estate’s North Garden to dedicate the National Historic Landmark’s newly restored Box Knot Garden. The project restored the feature to its appearance in 1933, which itself replicated its earliest incarnation.
“This is the first significant garden restoration to be completed at Tudor Place since it passed out of private hands in the 1980s,” said Executive Director Leslie Buhler. “On a practical level, the restoration enables more sustainable horticultural practices and helps ensure this historic feature’s hardiness and growth. On a symbolic level, it exemplifies the high standards we have established for site-wide preservation efforts.”
Such improvements are only achieved through the help of dedicated donors, noted Geoffrey Baker, Vice President of the museum’s Board of Trustees, during the ribbon-cutting ceremony. He thanked J. Bruce Whelihan, Trustee of The Ruth S. Willoughby Foundation, for the significant grant that funded theproject.
Mr. Whelihan praised the Box Knot restoration as a positive step toward ensuring the entire site’s future. A Tudor Place Trustee, Mr. Whelihan noted, “These are exciting times with plans under development to fully preserve the house, collection, and garden and, at the same time, provide exhibition and dedicated education spaces.”
The restoration echoes an effort undertaken in the 1930s by owner Armistead Peter, Jr., and his son Armistead Peter 3rd. They recreated in large part the original 1816 Box Knot once tended by Martha Custis Peter, granddaughter to Martha Washington, and her husband Thomas Peter, the home’s founding owners. In recent years, the garden’s geometric hedges inlaid with rose bushes were increasingly stressed by poor drainage and changing climatic conditions, requiring frequent watering.
Director of Gardens & Grounds Suzanne Bouchard, who guided the restoration, described to attendees how the plant beds were excavated and their shrubs replaced with a new variety of boxwood more suited to D.C.’s climate. Roses, including specimens dating to the home’s earliest years, were temporarily removed and restored to their original locations, where they are now blooming prodigiously.