At Rocky Hills, in Mt. Kisco, New York, planting among the stone walls began more than 50 years ago: mature specimens of black walnut and ash, complemented by recent additions of weeping beech, dawn redwood, stewartia, dogwood, and an impressive collection of magnolia and conifers. The beautiful 13-acre property and strolling garden in the northern suburbs of New York City is the product of an old-world sense of stewardship and the patient artistry of Henriette Suhr.
In 1956, Henriette Granville Suhr, innovative head of Bloomingdales' furniture and interior design showrooms, and her late husband, William, a renowned art conservator, acquired a farm called Rocky Hill, almost thirteen acres in all, as a weekend retreat. They added an "s" to the original name and call their Mt. Kisco, New York property, Rocky Hills. Neither had gardened seriously before, but their new hobby turned into absolute passion and over the years they transformed wild woodland and meadow into one of the country's most distinctive gardens.
2016: Rocky Hills is purchased by Barbara and Rick Romeo.
2015: Henriette Suhr dies on March 17. In October, the Rocky Hills conservation easement was transferred to the Westchester Land Trust, protecting Rocky Hills in perpetuity as green space. The Garden Conservancy and Westchester Land Trust partner to continue presenting the Rocky Hills Environmental Lecture series at the Chappaqua Library.
2014: In December, Henriette Suhr is honored by the Town of New Castle for her lifelong dedication to preserving her gardens and other public spaces.
2013: Westchester County's Parks and Recreation department announces that is no longer able to take on future management of Rocky Hills. With the mutual agreement of the County and the Garden Conservancy, Mrs. Suhr dissolves the original agreement with the County.
2012: Horticulture magazine's "Gardening Life" profiles Henriette Suhr. A short video interview (below) with Mrs. Suhr encapsulates the history of Rocky Hills.
2011: At the New York School of Interior Design, Henriette Suhr and Marco Polo Stufano present a "conversation" (video below) about her "half-century in the garden" and the influences of her interior design career on her work outdoors.
2010: The New School, New York City, hosts a President's Forum, March 10, with its distinguished alumna Henriette Suhr. On April 14, the Friends of Westchester County Parks presents Mrs. Suhr its Best Green Friend Award.
2009: Henriette Suhr is honored by the Foundation for Landscape Studies with its Place Maker award.
2007: The New York Times calls this wonderland a "Living Legacy."
2004: The Friends of Rocky Hills is established to raise public awareness and support for the garden through educational programs and tours.
2001: House & Garden magazine features "Spring Promise" at Rocky Hills
2000: Preliminary strategies are drawn to eventually transition this privately owned space into a public garden. A conservation easement is granted to the Garden Conservancy and the Rocky Hills Advisory Board is formed.
1984: William Suhr passes away.
1977: Henriette and William Suhr leave Manhattan and make Rocky Hills their permanent home.