CRESTWOOD, Ky. (March 2004) Spring has breathed new life into
the multitude of plants, trees and shrubs at Yew Dell Gardens. The
secluded North Camden Lane estate has opened on a limited basis to
encourage an awareness of what Oldham County has to offer on a horticultural
It will take us a while to get to the point where were
open every day, said director Dr. Paul Cappiello. Cappiello
said he is currently concentrating his efforts on building a volunteer
core, assembling a staff and using summer interns to establish a horticultural
program on the 33-acre estate. He is putting all the essential pieces
into place, little by little.
Cappiello (left) with the late
Theodore Klein at Yew Dell Gardens.
Cappiellos main focus is just to get the word out. There
are many people who dont know this wonderful place is here.
He envisions Yew Dell Gardens as one day becoming a horticultural
mecca for display gardens and an arboretum, and as an educational
Yew Dell Gardens was the home of the late Theodore Klein, a local
nurseryman and internationally known plant expert. Always willing
to share his vast knowledge of trees and shrubs, his specialty was
holly and yew plants, which he was constantly researching and developing
new versions. Kleins generosity was shown in the many holly
species he donated to Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest.
After Kleins death, his estate fell into disrepair and was eventually
purchased by the nonprofit Yew Dell, Inc. The group was formed with
the goal of restoring the grounds, and it has raised $2.4 million
in public and private funds toward a goal of $4.8 million.
As part of a series of opening events for 2004, Saturday tours are
scheduled for the second Saturday of every month from 10 a.m. to noon.
The first tour was held Feb. 14, and Cappiello said a large crowd
assembled for a tour that included evergreen hollies, conifers and
witch hazel. These tours were designed to highlight plants that look
best and are blooming at the time of the tour, he said.
These Saturdays are also volunteer days for the many friends of Yew
Dell who assemble on the grounds at 9 a.m. ready to work. Volunteers
have done so much of the work, said Cappiello.
The community has come together in other ways to reestablish the
gardens at Yew Dell. Volunteers have given of their time to work in
the office, and business owners in the horticultural industry have
been tremendously involved as well, he said.
A volunteer committee has been assembled to train interested participants.
Beginning in April, there will be a weekly Wednesday workday beginning
at 9 a.m. to encourage volunteers who may not be able to attend Saturday
morning volunteer days.
A series of lectures held off-grounds also offer a glimpse into the
educational opportunities to be held at Yew Dell in the future. Last
fall, Frank Cabot, noted gardener and founder of the Garden Conservatory,
was the first lecture speaker. Horticulturalist Bill Hendricks headlined
a second lecture. A third is scheduled for 7 p.m. March 11 at Lyndon
City Hall. For $10, guests will learn about Maine wildflowers from
William Mitchell, a professor affiliated with the Main landscape-horticulture
Yew Dells first public open house for 2004 will be held June
13. A plant sale, tours and lectures are also planned for this date.
Cappiello said he is in the process of planning more classes and lectures
for the rest of the year, to offer an early glimpse into
Yew Dells potential.
Cappiello said a charter membership drive was instituted in November
2003, with five levels of membership.
Within the last year, several grants have been awarded to Yew Dell,
Inc. to further restoration efforts. The James Graham Brown Foundation
awarded a $500,000 grant to address many of the physical needs of
the property. Renovation and capital improvements to the gardens and
to existing structures on the estate include the main house where
Klein lived, a mini-castle that was once a pool house, greenhouses
and a rare, historic bank barn.
Cappiello said one of the biggest current projects is renovation
of the bank barn. When completed it will be the largest single enclosed
space on the property, ideal for on-site lectures. Cappiello said
that after meeting with architects, he hopes to begin structure stability
work this summer. All of the buildings need some type of rehabilitation
work, he said.
A $75,000 Gheens Foundation Grant will go toward funding the bank
barn project. Funding from the Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust in
California will go toward signage and the charter member campaign.
The Peyton Samuel Head Family Trust awarded money to be used for labeling
species with permanent display labels, and assessing and renovating
greenhouses at Yew Dell. Contributions from the W.L. Lyons Brown Foundation
totaled $60,000 for rehabilitating the mini-castle, and $20,000 was
received from the Kentucky Division of Forestry.
Local garden clubs have adopted garden spots at Yew Dell, said Cappiello.
Glenview Garden Club, a member of the Garden Club of America, has
awarded $20,000 to Yew Dell for the stabilization and restoration
of a walled, terraced garden behind the main house, said Glenview
Project Committee Chairperson Barbara Sandford. Of the total amount,
$10,000 was awarded immediately, and the balance is pledged contingent
upon the success of the annual Glenview Garden Clubs Garden
Tour to be held June 5-6.
Proceeds for this garden tour are taken from the community and
go back into the community, said Sandford. Many members of the
Glenview Garden Club volunteer and serve on Yew Dell, Inc.s
board of directors.
The Glenview Garden Club has held workshops at Yew Dells castle,
led by Cappiello, said president Ward Tabler. She can foresee many
more educational opportunities in the form of workshops and meetings
at the estate.
Tabler said Yew Dell is really what the Glenview Garden Club
stands for. We place an emphasis on education. Yew Dell is such
a hidden jewel, she said.
Cappiello is also excited about Yew Dells involvement with a
group in the state that coordinates the Theodore Klein Plant Award.
This award promotes new and better landscaping plants for the region,
he said. Its a nice thing to be involved with.
For more information, call (502) 241-4788 or visit: www.yewdellgardens.org.