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After Months of Isolation… Revitalization

A welcome word lingers with possibility after months of isolation: revitalization. Waiting in the wings, or perhaps the bamboo shoots as the case may be, is Lara Netting, trustee at the Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden. Netting is the manager of Hammond’s Revitalization Project, which was to be put into motion this spring as a way of creating a more immersive stroll garden experience for its visitors. The Museum was awarded a microgrant of $5,000 by the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership (CGP) to help accomplish this undertaking.

In a Japanese garden, everything is intentional. Each plant is chosen with purpose. The project will assess the state of the Museum’s current gardens, working with garden design and care expert Charles Sadler to identify key plants and spaces for improvement. Volunteers will work alongside Sadler to mend and develop those portions of the garden in need of restoration. They will also learn pruning techniques for future maintenance, ensuring the garden’s sustainability.

The CGP initiative, available to nonprofit Japanese gardens in the United States, intends to “foster mutual understanding between the U.S. and Japan on a grassroots level.” The Museum plans to host a half-day symposium on November 7 to present the project. Netting will speak on the history of the garden, Sadler on the design of the restoration, and Yann Giguere of Mokuchi Woodworking on Japanese tea house construction. In addition, Netting will present the project at the North American Japanese Garden Association biennial meeting in San Diego this fall. Both events will be determined by circumstances regarding COVID-19.

A stroll garden is intended to encourage contemplation, leading to a deeper understanding of nature – something that many people are yearning for from their living rooms. However for now, the possibility of a newly refreshed garden space has been put on hold. That is, until Governor Cuomo determines that it is safe to conduct business once again. “We expect the Revitalization Project to go forward, even if COVID-19 forces the work to be rescheduled for 2021,” says Netting. Once the project is underway, she says that the work will be documented on the Museum’s website, giving visitors a peek into the process with before and after photos of the key garden plants and spaces.

Mary Alice Franklin is ArtsWestchester’s Communications Manager and ArtsNews Editor. She has also written about art for The Huffington Post, Paste Magazine, Art Zealous, Skinnygirl Daily, Art Times Journal and more.

A version of this article first appeared in the May issue of ArtsNews, ArtsWestchester’s monthly publication. ArtsNews is distributed throughout Westchester County. A digital copy is also available at artsw.org/artsnews.

Gardens at Hammond Museum (photo courtesy of Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden)

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