Duke Indoor Display Gardens to close

wake-robinApril 22, 2008

For those of you who like to visit special gardens that are open to the public, and especially for those who have enjoyed visiting the Indoor Display Gardens created by Doris Duke at Duke Farms near Somerville in Somerset County, I want to get the word out that we are about to lose this treasured garden. On May 25, 2008, at the discretion of the trustees, the Display Gardens will be closed and their plant collections disbanded. An ongoing slide show of what will be be gone forever can be found at the website below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Save Duke Gardens

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I toured these gardens last year, they truely were amazing.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 11:54AM
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I am trying to get there before they close, but there is always something coming up.
Anyhow it remindes me of anything that is good and working, somebody has to improve it. It looks like somebody needs a recognition or may be funding for doing another politicaly correct enterprise. With so much space over there, I think they can do whatever they want and keep the greenhouses and display gardens, but since it is a private enterprise, they can do whatever. It is a shame, one more garden dissappearing in garden state.
I wish the public had any say in it.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2008 at 7:45AM
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ten_steps_ahead(6 NJ)

Doris must be rolling over in her grave. What a travesty.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2008 at 8:27PM
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this is awful! the gardens are breath-taking and have a number of rare plants. what are they going to do with all of the plants? just plain ridiculous!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2008 at 10:48PM
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As a result of pressure from the website, the New York Times has picked up the story (Anne Raver's column, May 8th) and the Star Ledger has revisited it.

If you haven't been to the savedukegardens.org website and sent an email, please do so, and get your friends to do the same!

The only people who can stop the Gardens closing are people like you, sending emails. Your emails from the site will be delivered as hard copy to the Trustees, some of whom are Good Guys. Emails can and do make a difference in pressuring the Trustees to reverse this bad decision.

Here is a link that might be useful: www.SaveDukeGardens.org

    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 11:14PM
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njtea(NJ Z6)

Anne Raver's column in today's NY Times

Here is a link that might be useful: Anne Raver on the Duke Gardens

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 9:47AM
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Birdsong72(7/Northshore NJ)

We did visit the Gardens in mid April and they are indeed interesting and beautiful. As to their disbursing/disbanding the plant collection (except for those wonderful orchids; that is some collection), I don't believe it to be the end of the world based on what I saw at the Conservatory, read in the Times article or the Valerie Sudol column in the Ledger a month or so ago.

As the Times writer opined; most of the plantings are reminiscent of what one can easily purchase in a box store these days and the gardens themselves are a bit 'pedestrian' from a horticultural standpoint. I'm not going to argue that view whatsoever.

More to the point and where your focus should be on is the changes occuring at Duke. I fully embrace the Duke organization's vision in moving in this direction. It's tremendously exciting and (this change) couldn't have happened at a better time. IN FACT, IT'S LONG OVERDUE.

Sustainability and the beauty and critical importance of 'native environments' as once existed in NJ and which are already in the process of growing towards that goal (at Duke) is fabulous. This is the 'big picture' folks. Habitat restoration of what once was. Sustainability and living, prospering within that environment (thousands of bikers already enjoy the Estate, or hike, paint, bird).

Duke will be many things to many thousands of users; this major horticultural shift is something that is in dire need of a 'jumpstart'; this approach, this 'living' needs to get 'front and center' into our consciousness. Duke's dollars and landscape will allow that to occur and hopefully be the impetus in turning around hellacious land use practices approaches not only in NJ but everywhere.

I wish I lived closer to Duke.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 7:15PM
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njtea(NJ Z6)

Great post, Birdsong72!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 8:04AM
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Birdsong72(7/Northshore NJ)

Thanks Tea. While the Conservatory is an extremely impressive structure that most of us can only dream of having (even but one room), the revised mission statement as being exercised by the Directors is so much more appealing to those of us who understand and love native plants and naturalistic landscapes.

Have a great growing season.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 7:57PM
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If most of us are to move toward the natural and sustainable, all the more reason for us to be able to see what was once a common garden style in display gardens and arboretums.

I have seen too much lost in the pursuit of the newest fads.

I try to keep my own garden as natural as possible. I do not use herbidides, and I plant things like Serviceberry trees, elderberry bushes, and the Virginia rose.

When I go to a display garden, I want to see a display garden.

Let them make their campus a natural environment instead, the way those in Massachusetts turned their Mt. Auburn Cemetery into an arboretum.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2008 at 2:04AM
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Birdsong72, part of what I love about these forums and our own nj forum is the ability to post things and pleasantly disagree with each other. While I think your post was well put, I disagree.
I'm with eibren.While I agree that we need more public examples of fine native plantings that many can visit, I think they could easily use the vast grounds on the Duke estate to show that, and still keep the historical plant collections. Leslie

    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 2:50PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Yes: It sounds like the gardens (including the conservatory complex) are unusual, the new vision for the property while worthwhile is not. Surely there is enough money there to keep the good parts of the old along with doing something new, instead of taking an all or nothing approach that smacks of zealotry.

At another endowed garden here a locally very rare camellia was killed when a curator had it moved out away from the shelter of the house wall and out into the open garden. He wasn't familiar with the variety and it was not to his personal taste, so this long-established asset was lost from the facility forever. Not on the same scale as what is being talked about here but still an example of the same kind of mistaken thinking.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 10:01PM
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