Museum garden to undergo makeover

May 4, 2012
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The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s Monks Garden is slated to undergo a $500,000 redesign and renovation.

“We call the Monks Garden the heart of our outdoor space. [Inside the museum,] you always have a great perspective of the Monks Garden,” said Matt Montgomery, director of communications at the museum.

Michael Van Valkenburgh, who recent work includes the Brooklyn Bridge Park, has been chosen as the landscape architect to redesign the garden. Montgomery said the museum expects to receive in early 2013 the redesign plans, which would then have to be presented to the Boston Landmarks Commission for approval.

The museum has given Van Valkenburgh several mandates to follow, including ensuring some sort of year-round attraction, and to have the garden be in harmony with the historic building and the new wing, according to Montgomery. The new wing opened earlier this year.

Montgomery said the garden will be open this summer, but only some blueberry bushes and pathways remain there after the garden was prepared for renovations during the construction of the new wing. The Monks Garden, which is named after Gardner’s favorite niece, Olga Monks, has not been renovated since the early 1990s, according to Montgomery.

Construction is expected to begin in 2013, with the garden opening in time for the summer’s warm weather, said Montgomery.

The Gardner Museum is located at 280 Fenway.

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