I hadn’t visited Skylands for about ten years, and never in the fall. I went hoping to see the last of the fall foliage and instead found stonework that was interesting in its scope and full of ideas.
Formerly an estate developed in the 1920s, it is now the New Jersey Botanical Garden and its stone American Tudor mansion is better known than the gardens as a popular site for weddings.
The stonework at Skylands is incredible and impressive…even if much of it is in need of repair. There is both formal and rustic stonework and sometimes dressed stone is juxtaposed with natural, dry stacked with mortared.
There were two stone features in particular that I loved and was inspired by. The first, a window box clearly displayed the hand and skill of the mason who made it. I’ve never seen one like this and would love to be able to duplicate it in some way.
The other was some bluestone flat work done to surround a planter. The stone radiates out from the central point of the circle, with angular cuts.
Skylands is a place that mostly stands still. A new crabapple allee that had been planned when I was last there has been planted, but the site still screams that it is underfunded and under appreciated.
I was one of seven (I counted) people there on a sunny afternoon, and one of them was mowing the lawn.