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A Gem Preserved
Protected Parkland Continuously Restored

by Tamara Belt, Principal, Hawthorne Garden Design

A Gem Preserved

The Tregaron Conservancy in Washington D.C. is home to several design features, such as this staircase, that must be protected and restored periodically. Landscape architecture firm Hawthorne Garden Design donates design services to keep the area beautiful.

The Tregaron Conservancy is a nonprofit organization founded in 2006. As owner and steward of 13 acres of protected parkland in Washington D.C., the Tregaron Conservancy is restoring and maintaining this important historic landscape for the benefit of the public.

The 20-acre Tregaron Estate (originally known as "The Causeway") represents the most important surviving landscape collaboration by noted architect, Charles Adams Platt, and renowned landscape architect, Ellen Biddle Shipman. At the height of her career, Shipman was known as the "dean of women landscape architects" in America. Her garden at Tregaron was by far the largest of her woodland landscapes and is one of only two known examples of this type of "wild garden" design in the country. Tregaron is the only country estate designed by Platt in Washington and one of only a handful of his surviving estates nationwide.

A Gem Preserved

Workers from a local landscape contractor company, Outdoor Illuminations, often donate services to the Conservancy, clearing debris and restoring landscape features that age poorly.

In 1979, the entire estate, including the landscape, was designated a Landmark of the District of Columbia. Tregaron was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989 and is a contributing feature of the Cleveland Park Historic District (1986).

As chair of the landscape committee for almost ten years and recently elected vice-chair of the board, Tamara Belt has been able to give back to the community with her skills as a landscape designer and owner of Hawthorne Garden Design. When features of the Conservancy begin to age or fall apart, Belt offers up her design expertise to restore the feature or add something new to the land. It is through her volunteer work that she establishes priority areas for rehabilitation and renovation, creates preservation and sustainability goals and seeks donations with many of her corporate partners, such as Outdoor Illuminations, to assist with the preservation and sustainability objectives. According to Belt, Outdoor Illuminations has been extremely helpful by donating the time of their crews to clear trails, remove invasive weeds and help with maintenance work that is critical to the survival and health of the woodland gardens. Belt's organization is young but has made great progress in preserving this D.C. gem.

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September 16, 2019, 12:20 am PDT

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