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Posts Tagged ‘Jill Nooney’

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Photos: Bedrock Gardens

I’m excited that the now-public garden of our friends Jill Nooney and Bob Munger in Lee, New Hampshire, is opening up again after a long hiatus. If you live anywhere near southeast New Hampshire, you are in for a treat when you enter the magical world of Bedrock Gardens.

Although they originally created the wonderland for their family and friends and to display Nooney’s monumental sculptures, Bedrock Gardens is now a nonprofit entity open to all.

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Here is what Robin Sweetser at New Hampshire Home magazine had to say about it recently.

“This year, Bedrock Gardens in Lee is opening for its first full season as a public garden. Owners Jill Nooney and Bob Munger decided in 2007 that, for their garden not to fall into disrepair when they could no longer care for it, they would have to take action to preserve it.

‘The pleasure others derived from the garden — paired with the fact we can’t take it with us — propelled us to try and turn the garden into one open to the public,’ Nooney says.

“Bedrock was already a popular garden destination. ‘Way back in 1998, we started opening the garden two weekends a year as a stage to showcase my outdoor sculptures,’ Nooney says. …

“ ‘For several years, we were open one weekend a month, and when we went to two weekends a month, we had more than five thousand visitors!’ Munger says.

“The most impressive water feature on the property is a two-hundred-foot-long channel dubbed ‘the Wiggle-Waggle’ for the way it curves across the property. …

“The garden has been created on land that was originally a farm dating from 1740. When Nooney and Munger bought the property in 1980, the land had been neglected for about forty years. The couple spent their first years there clearing overgrown fields of poison ivy, saplings and brush.

“Actual landscaping began in 1987; then Nooney and Munger added a ¾-acre pond in 1991. The soil excavated from the pond was used to build a berm alongside busy Route 125 to buffer the road noise and block the sight of traffic. Selective cutting of trees opened up the property even more, and two miles of trails made the wooded areas accessible. …

“Nooney believes that a garden needs to have destinations. At Bedrock, there are twenty-three garden areas linked with paths to form a journey with comfortable spots along the way to sit and enjoy the sights. There are many axis views that draw visitors through the garden. One is nine-hundred-feet long, …

“Becoming a public garden has been a long process; attaining nonprofit status for the Friends of Bedrock Gardens was one of the first hurdles to overcome, taking ten years. ‘The mission of the Friends group is to take over and run the garden,’ Nooney says. The Friends group also established a governing board and brought in John Forti as founding executive director. …

“Forti recently returned to New Hampshire after three years as horticulture director at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. Area folks know him from his years as curator of historic landscapes at Strawbery Banke in Portsmouth and co-founder of the Seacoast Slow Food chapter. ‘His knowledge of plants, the region and its people, in addition to his magnetic personality, make him the perfect person for the job,’ Nooney says….

“ ‘We are just starting to explore how we can add plantings like a fernery, and a children’s garden space that will offer fun and meaningful lessons for families with our own unique twist,’ Forti says. … ‘Above all, I look forward to helping us grow as a land-based cultural oasis and gathering place for the community to find calm and inspiration in a harried and fractious world.’ ”

More here.

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