The Big Picture: Cemetery as Cultural Landscape

Green-Wood presents a four-part lecture series, The Big Picture, which includes some of the most visionary designers and garden managers in the business of landscape design today. All three designers are involved in creating significant projects at Green-Wood and will discuss their projects and other big picture landscapes. On the third evening of the series, Green-Wood will host a panel discussion among horticultural leaders of the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, New York Botanical Gardens, and Green-Wood.

Tickets: $20, $15 for members of Green-Wood or The Brooklyn Historical Society

Green-Wood’s Historic Chapel: enter cemetery through main gates at 25th Street and Fifth Avenue. Click here for our inclement weather policy.

This program is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.


Come In: The Entrance Experience with Matthew Urbanski
Thursday, November 9, 2017 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Matthew Urbanski, a principal in the firm of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA), is the lead landscape architect of Brooklyn Bridge Park, among other distinguished projects worldwide. Urbanski brings his extensive design knowledge to re-think Green-Wood’s entrance – the Come In project – an undertaking currently in the planning phase. Urbanski will discuss the concepts and challenges of working at Green-Wood and other historic sites, as well as a wide range of additional innovative work by MVVA. The Come In project is inspired by the restoration of Green-Wood’s Weir Greenhouse and poses the question, “With the Weir Greenhouse directly across the street from Green-Wood’s grand Gothic archway, how can the landscape serve to connect the two and add meaning to the entrance experience?”


Deep Diving: Green-Wood’s Cultural Landscape Report with Faye Harwell
Thursday, November 16, 2017 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Faye Harwell, founding partner of Rhodeside and Harwell in Arlington, Va., directed an impressive team of landscape designers, historians, arborists, architectural historians, and hydrologists in retracing the history and unique character of Green-Wood’s landscape. By examining thousands of historic records and archival documents and by meticulously studying the landscape itself, Harwell and her team have created an 800-page, two-volume Cultural Landscape Report. The massive tome, which follows the guidelines set forth by the US Department of the Interior, is an invaluable resource for the cemetery. Get the Reader’s Digest version in this lively one-hour presentation that will help you become an expert on Green-Wood too. The firm of Rhodeside and Harwell has worked with pre-eminent, historic landscapes around the world, including the Gettysburg Battlefield and the White House.


Managing the Designed Landscape: Curating Collections in a Time of Environmental Change with Todd Forrest, Melanie Sifton and Joseph Charap
Moderator: Art Presson
Thursday, December 7, 2017 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

How do stewards of botanical gardens and arboreta manage the design projects within their grounds? What happens when landscape design conflicts with and curatorial goals, such as expanding diversity, and increasing specific species or classes of plants? What impact does climate change have on an institution’s plant collection and the plants selected for new projects? Join us for a lively discussion of these questions and more with Todd Forrest of New York Botanical Garden, Melanie Sifton of Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and Green-Wood’s Director of Horticulture, Joseph Charap. Our moderator, Art Presson, is Vice President of Design and Landscape here at Green-Wood.


Historic Landscapes as Venues for Sustainable Design with Larry Weaner
Thursday, December 14, 2017 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

For just under thirty years, renowned landscape designer Larry Weaner has urged America to rethink its love affair with the manicured lawn. Since establishing his firm in 1982, Weaner has pushed for “planned, natural landscapes” that eliminate the need for frequent mowing and other unsustainable practices, advocating native plants that have an ecological relationship to the indigenous landscape. Weaner is now one of the most sought-after and forward-thinking landscape designers in the world. At Green-Wood, he has just completed the first phase of redesigning the tiered slopes (dotted with nineteenth-century mausoleums) alongside the Historic Chapel. Through his thoughtful plant selection, he has introduced flora that might have grown here in the cemetery’s earliest days (1830s), creating a habitat for pollinators and wildlife. In this program, Weaner will discuss how historic landscapes can become pioneers in the field of sustainable design.