Monday, April 20, 2015

Duke Farms

In 1893, James Buchanan Duke started to buy land next to the Raritan River in rural New Jersey. His vision was to create a farm similar to those in NC where he had grown up.  Eventually he had assembled 2,700 acres of farm and wood lands that contained 45 buildings, 9 lakes, 18 miles of roads and 1.5 miles of stone walls.
When Duke died in 1925 his 12-year old daughter, Doris, gained control of the property after suing her mother. She restored it and moved in at the age of fifteen. She was very invested in the property and made it her main residence. She incorporated innovative ecological farming methods, and in 1958 created and designed a unique botanical display known as Duke Gardens.  In recent years the farm has fulfilled Doris' vision as an environmental showcase and learning center. 

Spring is late on the east coast this year.  Trees were still barren with just a hint of green buds.  Radiant magnolias added a vibrant flash of color to the muted spring tones.  Still, it was beautiful to walk along the paths, and take in the splendid estate.

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