The New York Times

RESTORING BEAUTY TO COURTYARDS

In designing Hudson View Gardens, an apartment complex on Pinehurst Avenue between West 183rd and 187th street in Washington Heights in 1923, the architect George F. Pelham chose the tudor style that was already turning suburban towns into medieval villages and he left more than four of the seven acres for gardens. Half-timbered and stuccoed buildings, with gabled roofs and crenelated towers, surrounded intimate garden courts, while low-rise cottages across an inner drive were built low and stand in a moat of greenery. Professional maintenance of the garden was ended in the 60’s, and little remained but the trees until 1980 when the complex’s board hired Barry Turner, a horticulturist. The complex now spends around $50,000 a year for the garden’s staff and planting material. Gradually, Mr. Turner has transformed the landscaping with vines cascading over staircase balustrades, a new rock garden and lily pond, and with a series of perennial and annual borders lining the drive above the cottage entrances. So densely planted with brightly colored flowers are these segments along the cottage entrances that after the rain, the walk resembles a lush English country lane. Even the old-fashioned lampposts are entwined with morning glories, moonflowers and scarlet runner bean vines that attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Longtime residents are partial to the old roses that survived the period of neglect, and several women bring their morning sewing to the formal rose garden, where bushes grow out of a carpet of alyssum and Johnny-jump-ups. Mr. Turner is also creating a botanical collection with his plantings.

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