Update - 1:00 p.m. - Information on cost was added to this story and a correction is appended.
Over the next few years, Kennedy Gardens, which is located across Lake Kittamaqundi from Town Center Plaza, will be receiving a major overhaul.
A project is under way to make the gardens into a lush sequence of plantings, providing attractive views from the lakefront, and acting as a centerpiece for legacy Yoshino cherry trees donated from Blossoms of Hope, according to Jan Clark, a landscape architect for Columbia Association.
“The installation of more than 80 trees, hundreds of shrubs and thousands of grasses and perennials will occur in several phases over the next few years,” wrote Clark in an email.
Plans for the gardens also feature a dock and pavilion, which would look out over the lake.
Currently the gardens and the pathways originally built around them are in disrepair due to a county sewer project that took place in 2012, according to CA. For that project, the county demolished the paths and damaged many of the plantings that were in the garden, said Clark..
“CA will rebuild the pathways very soon, and then the new trees and other plantings can be installed,” said Clark
A prominent feature of the renovated gardens will be three legacy Yoshino cherry trees that were grown from saplings of the original trees donated to Washington D.C. by Japan in 1912. Blossoms of Hope, an organization that works to plant cherry trees around the county, donated the trees to the site.
In addition to the legacy trees, Blossoms of Hope donated another 25 trees, half cherry and half dogwood, which will also be planted in the gardens.
The trees were scheduled to be planted in the fall, and expected to bloom this spring, but due to the construction, their planting was pushed back, said Victoria Goodman, director of Blossoms of Hope.
Goodman said her organization is planning a tree planting ceremony to take place on National Arbor Day this year, April 26.
Goodman said the legacy Yoshino trees will blossom earlier than the other 1,600 Kwanzan cherry trees Blossoms of Hope has planted around the county. The organization deliberately planted Kwanzans, which tend to blossom at the end of April, to provide a second opportunity for tourists and locals to view blossoming cherry trees after D.C.’s trees finish blossoming.
She said the Yoshinos at Kennedy Gardens will provide an indicator of spring in the county.
“Years from now when they grow to a magnificent size,” said Goodman, “there will be three trees that blossom early and they’ll be the very first visual of spring.”
The county also recently planted 150 new trees in the area where the sewer construction took place. Those trees will mitigate the trees lost during sewer construction, according to Clark.
The county will pay for the replacement of the pathway and the first phase of planting to compensate for the damage caused from the sewer construction, wrote Clark. CA will pay for future phases of the renovation from CA’s operating budget.
The county will reimburse CA with a pre-agreed limit of $150,000 for replacing the pathway and restoring vegetation, according to Clark. Capital funds would be required if CA chooses to construct the small dock and gazebo structure displayed in the plan, wrote Clark.
Kennedy Gardens is located on the east side of Lake Kittamaqundi and is a narrow stretch of land that sits between the lake and Route 29.
CA is also in the early planning phases of creating a path that will loop completely around the lake. Learn more about that project here - CA Examining Three Ways to Loop Lake Kittamaqundi Path.
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Editor's Note: Correction - Originally the information in the fifth and sixth paragraphs was attributed to Sean Harbaugh, CA's assistant open space director. In fact that information is from Jan Clark. It has been fixed, we regret the error. - AJ