The Constable Hall garden is among the oldest in the northeast and remains in its original form. It has been continuously gardened since about 1820. The existing flower garden was part of a much larger formal garden parterre, perhaps devoted to the culture of vegetables and fruits.
Books still found in the Constable Hall library, some from as early as 1806, are believed to have guided the design. The 16 triangles and walkways form the shape of St. Andrews’ Cross or the flag of St. Patrick. The Constables valued the connection to both their Irish and Scottish roots.
The hedges are partially original; Irish Blackthorn brought by William Constable from Ireland as cuttings. The moss roses, by family tradition, also were brought from Ireland.
The sundial was designed and put in place by James Constable in 1876. James (1847-1898) was a Harvard educated engineer and architect, the son of John who was the owner of the Hall at that time. The pedestal was repaired recently.
In 1984 a Site and Planting Rehabilitation for the Garden was produced by Doell and Doell Garden Historians. This plan still informs the planting and maintenance decisions.
Gina, our Master Gardener, welcomes extra hands in the gardens. Maintaining this beautiful Historical Garden takes the work of many gardeners. It is 100% volunteer.
Starting in 2020 Constable Hall embarked on a multi year project to renovate our beloved garden. Due to the initial generosity of Harry and Grace Risetto and followed by donations from other interested parties, the project is now in full swing.
Accomplishments to date:
- Wendt’s Way Construction has installed historically accurate main gravel paths around the sun dial. By converting from turf to gravel the garden paths take on the proper look of a formal garden, have well defined sharp edges, and are leveled to greatly improve accessibility.
- The old back steps were re-installed and are now level.
- Two new front steps were installed to permit an easier approach into the garden.
- The salt kettle was moved from the front center of the main path to a garden triangle that will feature period herbs.
- Three triangles were dug up to remove invasive species and prepare them for interesting new exhibits.
- The diagonal paths were formally turf. They were dug up, re aligned, and a coarse gravel base was put in. These informal paths may be covered with a softer surface in the future.
Upcoming, as time and funds permit:
- Throughout 2021 the triangles will be aligned to the new gravel paths and re-planted as necessary. The outside paths are being leveled to improve the walking surface. Grass seeding will be necessary.
- Scheduled for 2022 – repair of the hedges, planting of the new themed triangles, drip irrigation system, more edging around the diagonal paths and outside.
Adopt a Triangle Opportunity
Constable Hall is reaching out to the community for help with its Garden Restoration Project. Often referred to as “The Jewel of the North Country” , the 200 year old mansion’s formal garden is among the oldest gardens in the country. In recent years an effort has been made to restore the garden to its 1820’s origins. The garden consists of 16 triangles which form St. Andrew’s Cross design.
Constable Hall is looking for teams of volunteers to adopt a triangle to weed and deadhead for the season. Teams can consist of families, friends, co-workers or organization members. Teams can determine the days and times that work for them and can change to meet individual’s schedules. The team approach gives volunteers a chance to participate in a community service project without committing a lot of time. Everyone is busy in the summer but the team approach allows members to sign up for a slot only once or twice a season.
So, if you like to garden and would like to participate in a bit of history in a beautiful setting, gather a team, set up a schedule and dig in!
Volunteers can donate as much time as they’d like. Ideally 2 hours/ week is best.
- Times and days are flexible to accommodate everyone’s busy summer schedules.
- It’s helpful if 2 or 3 team members works together. By forming teams of 6-8 members, volunteers would only need to volunteer once every 3-4 weeks.
- Adopted triangles will have a sign recognizing the team.
For more information or to sign up for a triangle, contact Gina at 315 348-8280 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks – we need your help – Gina