Connected \\ May 23, 2019

PEM properties in bloom

As the spring and summer seasons progress, visitors to Salem as well as residents will be seeing some exciting changes to several of our historic landscapes. Work will be focused on three gardens: the Federal Garden in the Essex Block, the Ropes Mansion garden and the Cotting-Smith Assembly House garden and grounds. We will soon be onboarding a new Head Gardener, who will oversee the revitalization of the historic gardens and expand public programming and the visitor experience with our landscapes.


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Ropes Mansion garden, 1915-1916. Peabody Essex Museum.

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© 2017 Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Bob Packert

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© 2018 Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Bob Packert


The Federal Garden behind Plummer-Daland will be revitalized with new, historically appropriate plantings. Additional green space will be created behind Daland House. The badly deteriorated brick garden wall dividing the Federal Garden from the Andrew-Safford garden is currently being completely reconstructed. This includes the impending removal of a problematic sycamore-maple tree, where its roots have caused major problems to the garden wall, and its crown has encroached on the historic Andrew-Safford House.


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©2008 Peabody Essex Museum. Photograph by Walter Silver


The Ropes Mansion garden will be extensively replanted with dozens of varieties of plants and flowers, all of which are historically accurate to the time of the garden’s heyday in the early twentieth century. This is all part of the re-use of the restored potting shed and greenhouse, and extended public programing for the garden.  A linden tree near the northeast rear corner of the mansion has unfortunately developed severe structural decay and is an imminent threat to the mansion and potentially, public safety. It must be removed this spring. However, we will be attempting to save the large silver maple at the north entrance to the garden by extensively pruning it to improve its health and extend its longevity.

© 2018 Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Bob Packert

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© 2016 Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Allison White


The Cotting-Smith Assembly House garden will also get extensively redeveloped this season with taming the overgrowth and adding many new plantings. This garden restoration is part of greater plans for the Assembly House. Stay tuned as this summer and fall the building will again be used for exciting public programs and private uses. Watch as our landscapes begin to come to life this season!

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© 2018 Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Bob Packert

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© 2018 Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Bob Packert

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