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Pop-Up Event: Tour of Bob Gutowski’s Garden (Morning Tour)
Friday, June 02, 2023, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM EST
Category: Pop-Up Events

Downsizing 668-Fold – from Public Paradise to Private Paradise

Imagine having the 167-acre Morris Arboretum as your home garden then moving to a house on a quarter acre with no gardens at all. That’s exactly what Bob Gutowski and his wife Madelyn did six years ago. That’s extreme retirement downsizing!

Bob Gutowski, retired Morris Arboretum Director of Education, Urban Forestry and Visitor Experience, worked at the Morris Arboretum for 35 years, living and gardening most of that time on the Arboretum’s Bloomfield Farm. There, next to the historic grist mill, he developed and cultivated an American Iris Society display garden and Historic Iris Society display garden, as well as curating the woody plant collections and other gardens around the Miller’s Cottage. The iris plantings alone were larger than the garden he now tends!

When Bob moved to his 1915 house in Erdenheim, the property was mostly turf, used by the prior resident dog, and some overgrown perimeter shrubs punctuated by ailing poplars. There were some keepers, including a dogwood, hedges, and Rhododendron and other shrubs ready for renewal pruning. Soil renewal is ongoing.

Today the only remaining turf is in the paths – created for curious wandering and garden tending. Plant collections include iris, hellebore, hosta, geranium, violets, peonies, daffodils, and many other spring bulbs. Spring natives are followed by summer and fall blooming meadow plants. There is a notable shrubby meadow and emerging woodland edge with room for a hardy banana. Terraced vegetable and herb gardens take the sun in the back yard and provide yard-to-table produce. Dye plants provide yard-to-yarn spinning materials. While hardy perennials dominate, self-sowing plants have an important role, most notably Aquilegias, dill, verbena, poppy, and chamomile. A lot goes on in a little space with something blooming in every season.

Beyond the beauty of the landscape, the diversity of the plantings makes the whole garden an intentional creature-scape. Birds, butterflies and bees, toads and chipmunks - are all welcomed and provided for. Bunnies are accommodated - in some areas. And the grandchildren dig here! This is a curious gardener’s realm, full of the joy of gardening moments.

Bob Gutowski's Garden Open to members only.

Registration is required. $5 per attendee. Maximum number of attendees is 15.

This event is full, to be put on the waitlist contact Laura Axel at [email protected].

Registration closes May 30th. No rain date is scheduled; in the event of light rain bring an umbrella.

Maximum number of attendees is 15.

Address and parking directions will be sent to all registrants in their confirmation email.


Contact: Laura Axel at [email protected]