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Students Learn To Rejuvenate Historic Boxwoods

George Washington Birthplace National Monument

National Park News

During the week of March 1st, George Washington’s Birthplace National Monument hosted a workshop on preserving aged and historic boxwoods in partnership with the Servicewide Training and Development Program – Maintenance Academy, Adams National Historical Park and the Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation, a program of the Northeast Regional Office. 

The workshop attracted more than twenty participants from National Parks in the Northeast, Southeast and National Capitol Regions. In addition, park constituents and members of partner organizations participated in the program.

The historic boxwood at George Washington’s Birthplace National Monument was originally planted in 1931, soon after the site was established by Congress as a national park.  Under the guidance of Director Horace Albright, National Park Service landscape architects planted the boxwood as an integral design component of the colonial revival garden and landscape. 

Dean Norton, director of horticulture at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens and noted boxwood expert, provided a full day of instruction on boxwood culture.  Specific components of the training session included classroom presentations, hands-on demonstrations, and field exercises on boxwood identification, inspections, care and pruning to strengthen participants’ knowledge and skill with improving condition and managing the original historic plantings. 

Under Norton’s expert advice, participants gained practical, field experience by pruning the aged, overgrown and declining boxwood to reinvigorate the deteriorating plantings and reestablish the site’s historic character. 



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