SADDLE RIVER, NEW JERSEY GARDEN
Prior to our visit, the identity of this garden and the name of the owner were kept secret from us. We were met by John Mohr from Iseli Nursery, together with Kenny Yeager and his brother Mike of Hickory Hollow Landscapers, who built the six-acre garden and have maintained it for 15-20 years. We entered via the front garden, in which say a large, modern white house,wide drive and masses of stone landscaping. The garden was planted with largest specimen conifers: Pinus Strobus ‘Pendula’, blue Picea Pungens, Chamaecyparis Obtusa ‘Templehof’, Picea Abies ‘Pendula’,Xanthocyparis Nootkatensis ‘Green Arrow’, Juniperus sp., Procumbens Nana’,other low growing conifers, hostas,ferns,and many ground covering sedums.
The masterpiece of the front area was a Cedrus Atlantica ‘Glauca Pendula’, which looked like a cross between a giant blue spider and a waterfall, planted on a bank and sweeping down the rock face to the drive. At an estimated 20ft. from the top to drive, and least 60-70ft. wide, this has to be the perfect specimen.
At the side of the house were garage doors in a wall leading to a service area of some type; at the top of the wall, Juniperus Procumbens had been planted and allowed to cascade down like a waterfall, breaking up this appendage to the house.
We passed around to the veranda area of the house, where we saw a large kidney-shaped swimming pool flanked by the house on one side and towering rock faces on two more sides. this area of the project tool five years to finish. With large volumes of water cascading over the waterfall, a total of 24hp of pumps are required to provide the flow. to put that into perspective, my mid-sized nursery requires just 3 pumps of 1.5hp each for all its irrigation needs.
Once again, the area was planted with mature, well shaped conifers and acers, underplanted with Sedum. The fourth side of the pool was a grassed area, mainly used by the owner’s old english sheep dogs, which is returfed in the growing season every six weeks due to the dogs’ mess. This whole area is backed with a bamboo screen to provide privacy as the next-door house is only 75 ft away in this direction.
We crossed a bridge over the pool and passed between the rock faces to the upper part of the back garden where stone steps lead down toward a large pond and island, through a mixed planting area containing more specimen conifers, large, mushroom-shaped acers and mixed herbaceous plants comprising manly Hosta and Hemerocallis, with specimen grasses and more sedum.
The pond area is planted with deciduous trees and shrubs such as copper and weeping beech (Fagus), Cercis. sp. Cercidiphyllum sp,.grasses and Hosta. Two beautifully twisted-stemmed, weeping beech are growing here, one on the side of the pond, the other on the island; they were brought in as large specimen plants with 13ft root-balls and lifted into place with a 300 ton crane. Other specimen trees have equally interesting histories; for example, one came from the set of the film ‘War of the worlds’.
We were the first private party ever to visit this private garden, for we thank Charles, John Mohr from Iseli nursery, Kenny and Mike; and of course special thanks to the owners for allowing us to visit. this was a garden where, clearly, money is no problem. It has been used to make an almost perfect garden, the like of which I shall probably never visit again.