Boxwood Restoration at Longfellow House – Washington’s Headquarters NHS


Our second project took place at Longfellow House – Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site. This is the house in which George Washington and Henry Longfellow resided at. George Washington lived in the house for 9 months, during the siege of Boston. Then in the 1800’s, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow lived in the house beginning in 1837 until his death in 1882.

The project this week for our team was to restore the Korean boxwood in the formal garden that experienced severe dieback due to harsh weather conditions in recent years. By replacing the boxwood we were helping to keep one of the park’s most significant features presentable and attractive for visitors.

Our technical expert from the park was gardener, Mona McKindley. Mona’s role was to lead our team in replacing the boxwood. Mona has been working with the National Park Service since 1991. She began her career as a park ranger and then transitioned into the maintenance division. She has worked at various parks throughout the country including the White House!


Gardener, Mona McKindley and Park-based Intern, Nancy Huang

Mona taught our group many new techniques and how to use various tools to get our project complete. One technique was to dig a trench alongside the Korean boxwood and then replace with the new Japanese variety to ensure we were replanting the boxwood to keep the garden beds symmetrical. After planting the new variety of boxwood we added compost to the soil to allow the plants nutrients and room to grow. After finishing the boxwood restoration, we helped clean up the garden by removing invasive species and pruning boxwood throughout the garden.

Digging the trenches



The outcome of the project was a success! We were able to replace 141 boxwood plants in the garden. The highlights of this project was learning how to plant the boxwood and our teamwork to accomplish the project. The only challenges we encountered were the extreme weather conditions that week from rain to excessive heat!

Our finished product!



5 responses to “Boxwood Restoration at Longfellow House – Washington’s Headquarters NHS

  1. The results are very impressive! The LONG garden is an incredible resource and it is great to have the Branching out team assist in keeping it in good condition. Excellent work.


  2. Nancy – I love the photos! What a difference you and the field team made in the garden. Look forward to replacing more boxwood in the future!


  3. Very good overview. That is the life of a gardener, fixing problems and working in inclement weather.
    We have been watering the plants and tending to the new boxwood since the Branching Out crew was here. I have seen some new leaves come out on a few of the new shrubs!
    So far I have pruned some of the boxwood in the center of the garden – West side. I will finish next week. Then it will all look more cohesive.


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