A Lifetime of Trees: Arbor Day in Llewellyn Park

Llewellyn Park Tree

The stately old trees are the first thing you notice when entering the historic Llewellyn Park neighborhood in West Orange, N.J.

The trees are huge, they are old, they are gorgeous and they are everywhere.  But if you look closely, many also are struggling.  Trees don’t live forever, and Llewellyn Park’s beautiful wooded landscape is showing its age. On April 21, the community’s residents are celebrating Arbor Day (which is actually on April 22) by getting together to plant new trees to ensure that this jewel of classic landscape design endures for future generations. 

Llewellyn Park is the oldest planned community in America and the nation’s finest example of an architect-designed romantic landscape — and the trees help make it an extraordinary place to live. Many of the trees were planted more than 150 years ago and are reaching the end of their lives. In response, the community is getting out their shovels on April 21 to add fresh, new trees rejuvenating their historic forest.

Llewellyn Park’s residents enjoy a true community where the kids and adults get together for holidays and community events.  It is also a modern community that embraces its special historic status. Now they are working together to ensure that those historic tree roots are rejuvenated with young growth.

As part of an ambitious reforestation plan, the community’s residents will plant 400 trees and shrubs native to New Jersey: Red Maple, Redbud, Elderberry and Black Chokeberry. What’s so remarkable is that all this is being done by on a strictly voluntary basis by the residents themselves.  It so refreshing to report that the residents of this community have taken it upon themselves to gather together with posthole diggers, trowels, mallets and a mountain of mulch to execute an ambitious reforestation plan in their beloved neighborhood.

Llewellyn Park is a truly unique place. It was an idea conceived by pharmaceutical entrepreneur Llewellyn S. Haskell in the 1850s.  Just 14 miles outside of New York City, Llewellyn Park is a special enclave of 173 homes and estates situated among 425 acres. The landscaping, designed by renowned 19th century architect Andrew Jackson Davis, is in the romantic style of New York City’s Central Park and features winding paths, rare ornamental trees, shrubs and flowers. The community also is the location of Glenmont, the home of Thomas Edison, now a national park museum open to the public.

Arbor Day traces its roots to 1872, when MortJon Sterling of Nebraska conceived of the first Arbor Day. He felt that Nebraska’s landscape would benefit from the wide-scale planting of trees, and that year, residents of Nebraska planted one million trees. Since then, the message for this upcoming holiday is unchanged and simple: plant a tree.  Llewellyn Park has taken that message to heart. After a hard day’s work, the residents will be treated to a picnic lunch provided by the Llewellyn Park Ladies Association. How lovely.  And even more lovely is the idea that this special landscape will be rejuvenated and reinvigorated for the next 150 years.

If you would like to observe or participate in Llewellyn Park’s Arbor Day Celebration please contact Bill Westheimer – pr@llewellynpark.com 212-431-6360 – learn more about Llewellyn Park at https://www.llewellynpark.com.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. What a great idea. Maybe we could do something like that here in Montclair next year?
    I know there is a volunteer organization already, but perhaps an event like this would enable people to get involved by helping to donate time in addition to money?

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