The Cherry Walk Tier
One of the highlights of a visit to the formal gardens is a stroll down The Cherry Tree Walk. Located on the third tier, this is a narrower part of the garden that begins with an ornate brick pergola and leads to a formal perennial garden and reflecting pool. Over the years the design of this garden has changed dramatically. Frederick Vanderbilt consulted with more than one garden designer but ultimately hired James Greenleaf, one of the founders of the American Society of Landscape Architects, to design an Italian garden on this third tier, which the Langdons had planted with annuals.
“Characteristically Italian garden effects included the use of symmetry, central walks, terraces, walls, formally clipped hedges, water, statues and evergreen plants.” While some flowering plants were used, the main characteristic of this part of the garden was the foliage.
In 1913, Frederick Vanderbilt engaged designer Robert Cridland to develop new plans for this garden. Many of these designs were executed in this area of the garden, changing it from strictly an Italian style to The Cherry Tree Walk that we know today. It is lined with two different varieties of ornamental cherry trees and flower borders. Over the years the FWVGA has made changes to introduce plantings that more closely match Cridland’s original designs and this work continues.