With Native Plants!
About The Garden
Named in honor of Lee Wick Dennison (1952-2012), Garden is located on the south end of Zimmerman Park in the Town of Chevy Chase.
This garden thrives in harmony with the natural ecosystem of our local area, which means that it requires fewer interventions to maintain and avoids the negative environmental impacts of conventional landscaping practices.
Who was Lee Wick Dennison?
Lee Wick Dennison was a Town of Chevy Chase resident and consummate volunteer. She was a director at the National Endowment of the Arts helping to bring arts programming to communities all across the United States, a trustee at Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan, a supporter of the Coalition for the Capital Crescent Trail, a member of the Town's Traffic Committee, and a champion of sustainable growth.
An avid gardener, Lee gladly opened up the joyful gardens of her Victorian cottage on Leland Street for the Town's early garden tours. An eager walker, Lee often could be seen on our Town streets and in our parks with her dog, Quantum.
How did the Dennison Garden come about?
For Lee, arts and nature fused to enrich the body and mind as well as helped to create vibrant communities. Reflecting this belief, she left several legacy gifts reflecting her core values:
Her gift to Interlochen Center for the Arts created a year-round recreation and wellness
Her contribution to the Coalition for the Capital Crescent Trail helped build the Neal Potter Plaza along the Trail at River Road
Her extraordinarily generous $100,000 bequest to our Town to support "the beautification and/or maintenance of public space within the Town" has resulted in the Town creating this native plant garden that uses ecological techniques to promote a healthy environment and human wellness.
At a public hearing during its October 10, 2018 meeting, the Town Council formally approved the use of Lee's bequest for the garden, which gives Town residents a new green space for individual and community enjoyment while also providing an opportunity to learn more about sustainable landscaping practices.
The intent is for residents to enjoy, learn from and adapt these sustainable landscaping practices for their own gardens.
Why is the Dennison Garden Located in Zimmerman Park?
The Dennison Garden Working Group (under the direction of the Town Climate & Environment Committee) sought to find a site in the Town that would mirror the planting challenges many Town residents face on their own property and would be convenient and accessible to residents.
The area along Maple Avenue from Lynn Drive to Aspen Street in Zimmerman Park proved to be an excellent location because it offers a variety of growing conditions – from full sun to full shade, from dry areas to damp depressions, from hillside erosion to flat open lawn.
It is large enough to include a path to traverse the garden and a gathering area for staging events and activities. The area has the additional advantage of attracting considerable Town resident foot traffic.
What is the "room" concept behind Dennison Garden?
As you walk through the garden, you will see signs for four "rooms" that represent the varied local planting conditions. Each room features native plants adapted to specific conditions - from sun to shade and wet to dry. The four "rooms" are:
Shaded Woodland Edge
Formal Patio Garden
Sunlit Pollinator Habitat
Sloped Stream Bank