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Cummer Museum Receives $30,000 toward Garden Reconstruction

May 20th, 2018 · Leave a Comment

The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens recently announced the receipt of two significant gifts from national garden organizations, The Garden Conservancy and The Garden Club of America. These gifts, totaling $30,000, will help fund the reconstruction of the historic Cummer Gardens, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, which were severely damaged during Hurricane Irma.

The Cummer Gardens sustained extensive damage from Hurricane Irma and the subsequent unprecedented levels of storm surge flooding. The lower tier of all three formal garden spaces remained submerged for approximately 24 hours in as much as four feet of water. This resulted in the uprooting of plants, contamination of outdoor sculptures and fountains with corrosive contaminants, detached railings along the river, broken lighting, pervasive salinization of the soil, large amounts of debris, and significant impact to much of the physical infrastructure, including drainage, electric, fencing, and the well that services the landscape. The Museum has engaged WLA Studios of Athens, Ga., as a consultant to guide the reconstruction of these garden spaces.

The Garden Conservancy, the nation’s leading organization dedicated to saving and sharing outstanding American gardens for the education and inspiration of the public, has hosted an annual Open Day in Jacksonville in partnership with the Museum for five years. The Open Days program opens the gates to local private gardens, fueling the public’s passion for gardens and gardening through self-guided tours and special programs presented by experts in many fields. Building on its tradition of helping significant public gardens manage natural and manmade challenges, the Garden Conservancy presented the Museum a $20,000 donation to help fund the garden reconstruction effort.

Since 1999, Late Bloomers Garden Club, a member of The Garden Club of America, has been an important partner in maintaining the Cummer Gardens through financial and volunteer support. Resolving to help ensure recovery of the historic gardens after the unprecedented flooding, the Late Bloomers club submitted a request to The Garden Club of America’s Restoration Initiative, a fund supporting member clubs directly involved in public landscape restoration and conservation projects in communities devastated by natural disaster. The resulting $10,000 grant will fund new plants and work toward reconstruction of the Italian Garden, with the goal of honoring the historic character of the site while making improvements that will prepare it to withstand future storms.

For more information, including hours, visit www.cummermuseum.org.

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