Preservation Projects Program
Since 1989, the Garden Conservancy has helped more than one hundred exceptional gardens across America survive and prosper. A select few become preservation projects of the Garden Conservany, a long-term collaboration and commitment on both sides.
Our current preservation projects are listed on the left; click on each garden for information about that garden and the Garden Conservancy's work with it.
How we work
The Preservation Projects program brings structure and focus to the preservation of important and historically significant private gardens across the United States and the role they play in people's lives. It applies sound preservation and conservation principles to the task and finds ways to transform these gardens into protected and well managed public entities. In partnership with individual garden owners as well as public and private organizations, the Garden Conservancy provides the horticultural, technical, management, and financial expertise needed to sustain these fragile environments and ensure long-term stewardship of natural assets so essential to the aesthetic and cultural life of our communities.
Exceptional gardens most often begin as private affairs, the life work of passionate, dedicated, and remarkably talented gardeners. A select number of these are capable of flourishing for generations as public gardens, and it is the Conservancy's role to facilitate their historic and aesthetic preservation as well as public visitation. The Conservancy's Preservation Projects program takes a leadership role in the transition of these gardens from private to non-profit ownership and management.
When an outstanding garden becomes a preservation project of the Garden Conservancy, the owners of the garden and the Conservancy embark on a rigorous process that involves the structuring of legal strategies and conservation easements to protect the property from development. Master plans for stabilization, preservation, interpretation, horticultural management, and public access are developed. New organizational and financial strategies are implemented to build sound governance and fiscal foundations. Often, interim management is required. The Conservancy may take a direct management role, assuming responsibility for managing the garden, hiring staff, administering programs as well as managing the financial well being of the garden. The Conservancy provides support such as bookkeeping, personnel management, fundraising, public visitation, planning, and promotion. It extends its involvement and ongoing advisory services over time to ensure quality and stability.
Designation as a Preservation Project entails a long-term collaboration and commitment of time and resources on the part of the garden owner and the Garden Conservancy. The garden owner is expected to participate in establishing the organization that will manage the garden.
In selecting projects, the Conservancy assesses the horticultural, design, and cultural significance of gardens. We strive to preserve gardens representing a diversity of styles, periods, and designers. Selection criteria also include aesthetic considerations such as setting and design, use of plants, quality of architectural features, and the integration of the garden into its natural and architectural setting. The quality of plants, uniqueness of the collections, and the diversity and variety of habitats are critical horticultural factors. Gardens of local or national significance and those illustrating the development of a region or the special relationship of people to the land are also valued.
We also evaluate the feasibility of sustaining the garden beyond the owners’ involvement, its suitability as a public garden, and the garden’s ability to accommodate improvements such as parking, office space, and public facilities, which are necessary for it to function as a public garden. We assess community support and the availability of individuals willing to assume an active role in preserving the garden. Availability of qualified professionals to help with the preservation, maintenance and future management is an important consideration.
For more information about the Garden Conservancy's garden preservation programs, call 845.424.6500 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.