I was recently invited to a private tour of Brookside Gardens (est. 1969) to celebrate Phase II of their fifteen-phase, $2M gateway renovation project. Stephanie Oberle, the Director of Brookside Gardens, treated another blogger and me to an intimate preview of their newest features. After participating in this tour, I completely understand why Stephanie is so eager to share these innovative, attractive and functional upgrades with MOCO residents.
This is probably where you expect me to dive into a vibrant synopsis of the early spring’s lovely blooms. Contrary to the expected, the tour was far from a floral feature edition. Phases One and Two of the Brookside Garden renovations, coined the Garden Gateway project, were focused on providing guests with an improved entry experience – “a welcoming doorway into a special place”. The new entryway, incorporating both natural and man-made elements, is designed around an aquatic theme and boasts so many perfectly nuanced, sustainable elements.
The first feature we observed was a recycled retaining wall. While definitely unassuming, the retaining wall is comprised of a series of modular gabion baskets filled with chunks of recycled cement. The façade contained different colors, sizes and textures of dense, previously used rock; strategically placed to create a beautiful piece of art. This was one of the several methods that Brookside Gardens used deliberately to control storm water runoff. The gabion walls protected the new parking area from runoff while the filtering basin, which resides in the center of the parking area, protects several water elements below from unwanted debris. Next to the parking area is an amazing outdoor boardwalk space with a set of steps leading to a lower area. Below, a relaxing fountain wall with a sitting area, an aquatic pond and grassy areas await guests.
The grassy area features a contemporary piece of artwork by Linda DePalma; an artist who knows how to play on horticulturist versus artistic tension. I can already see this large, golden yellow Ginkgo Canopy as the picturesque backdrop to many upcoming nuptials. Behind the Ginkgo Canopy lies another boardwalk bridge with a close up vantage point of the turtle log in the stream beneath. This beloved branch is a haven where turtles love to sunbathe and children love to watch! You can follow the curved boardwalk to another piece of Linda DePalma’s art: the Ferngate. Not only is this green, artistic piece both aesthetic and functional, but it brings nature to life in a fun, vibrant way. And would this area be a proper Gateway without a gate house? This petite green house structure is perfectly situated to greet each visitor. This is only a subset of what this little area of the garden has to offer. I welcome you to visit Brookside Gardens to find your own favorite features!
Kudos to Brookside Gardens for taking such initiative to incorporate sustainable elements into their renovation. Beautification is relatively easy, but sustainability requires deliberate measures. I hope that other establishments take heed from Brookside’s green cues!
DID YOU KNOW?
1. The grounds of Brookside Gardens are open every day of the year
2. Brookside Gardens provides many free, family-friendly events throughout the year
3. Admission to Brookside Gardens is FREE!
4. The Spring/Summer 2016 Activity Guide is available!
5. Brookside Gardens has a Heart Smart Trail!
Check out some upcoming events:
*4/24/16: Earth Day Festival – 12-4pm
*6/3/16: Parking Lot Party
*June 2016: June Concert Series
Brookside Gardens - 1800 Glenallan Avenue Wheaton, MD 20902
*closest to the Glenmont Station on the red line.
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