After more than two years of negotiation, the North Shore Land Alliance has signed a contract to purchase the Humes Japanese Stroll Garden in Mill Neck from the Humes Japanese Stroll Garden Foundation. This approximately seven-acre parcel, immediately adjacent to the 28-acre former Humes Estate (which the Land Alliance acquired in July of 2015), was conceived more than fifty years ago by Mr. and Mrs. John P. Humes and has been maintained by the Foundation since that time.
The Land Alliance will be purchasing the Stroll Garden via a two-year mortgage extended by the Foundation with the intent of preserving the land on which the garden sits and continuing to operate it as a public garden. Additionally, the acquisition of the Stroll Garden will complete a preserved assemblage of more than 150 acres of environmentally rich lands that include Shu Swamp Preserve and the Francis Pond conservation areas.
The garden, which has been closed for several months, will reopen in the spring. Lisa Ott, Land Alliance President said, “While there is much to be done to maintain the garden, from installing deer fencing and repairing the greenhouse to rebuilding membership and a corps of active volunteers, we are thrilled that the Humes family has allowed us the opportunity to sustain this community treasure. This acquisition will ensure that the Humes Estate remain intact and be preserved and protected from development forever!” The Stroll Garden will, eventually, be joined with the Humes property to create a wonderful and varied outdoor experience.
This unique and historic garden boasts an impressive collection of North American and Asian plants that constitute a beautiful Japanese landscape and impart a meditative experience. The defining feature of the garden is its stepping stone path, inspired by the intimacy of a mountain trail. A walk through the garden takes visitors through various twists and turns, including a “mountain peak,” before ending at the pondside teahouse. The garden experience is heightened by use of native plants, open space and existing woodland: the old-growth trees determine the direction of the path, terracing minimizes erosion and the garden’s native woodland remains mostly intact.
Many thanks to all who have already contributed to this important acquisition. The Land Alliance looks forward to welcoming the community to the Stroll Garden in the spring to celebrate this most exciting acquisition. Until then, we could use some spare hands as well as donations of goods and services to keep the Stroll Garden open and maintained.
For more information and/or to help, please contact the Land Alliance at 516-922-1028.