UN Garden Restoration, Nutley, NJ

2009 - Eagle Scout Project by Tyler Huey

By Anthony Buccino

When the Nutley Chapter of the American Association for the United Nations sought to create “a symbol of the UN itself – people working together just as nations are struggling to work together in achieving world order”, citizens and groups rallied to meet fundraising efforts and bring the garden to reality in 1962.

UN Garden, Nutley, NJ, 2009 by Dorothy HueyLocated in the north section of Kingsland Park, between a split in the Third River, the UN Garden peninsula points across what is called both Yantacaw Pond and Kingsland Pond to the dam at Kingsland Manor.

 With help from the Nutley Home Garden Club, the Nutley AAUW Chorus, and Boy and Girl Scout organizations, nearly 60 trees plus shrubs and flowers were planted in the Kingsland Park peninsula. The trees represent the many nation members of the United Nations.

 A six-foot Venetian glass mosaic replica of the UN emblem was created as an anchor to the site. Visitors are greeted at the entrance to the peninsula area by UNITED NATIONS GARDEN 1962 MARKER GIVEN BY EDGAR SERGEANT.

 According to an article entitled UN Garden Drive For Funds Seeks To Reach Everybody in Nutley, published in The Nutley Sun on April 13, 1961, one hundred and more specimens were contributed by Nutley citizens, many of them using the opportunity to honor some friend or kinsman.

 The paper noted that the garden is quite unique in the United States in its aim to bring together specimens of trees and shrubs from as many member countries of the UN as possible.

The 10-acre Kingsland Park has large, open spaces favored for picnics, handicap accessible playground area, a baseball field, field house, walking/bike track, and a gazebo donated by Nutley Rotary.

But the years have not been kind to the United Nations Gardens in Kingsland Park, Nutley

 As the various garden support groups faded over the next four decades, maintenance was left largely to a few overwhelmed gardeners and the town’s parks department. By 2008, the UN Garden had fallen into neglect as the groups that strongly supported it in its heyday nearly five decades earlier dwindled. 

 Resident and Boy Scout Tyler Huey noted, “Nutley’s U.N. Garden is the first of its kind in our area but it is in bad shape.”

 The teen, then a member of Troop 142 at Vincent Methodist Church, proposed as his Eagle Scout project to Nutley Parks and Recreation Superintendent Thomas A. Pandolfi, “cleaning the existing mosaic tiles in the world globe mosaic in the center of the park, as well as replacing the missing tiles, reestablishing the paths leading to the globe, trimming the hedges around the globe so they are not over grown an out of shape, and picking up trash in both the surrounding rivers and island.

 “I will also identify trees with help from John Linson, the Nutley forester, and place markers on them, plant a butterfly garden near the front of the park, plant new trees and remove dead ones, and place a sign showing the layout of the park.

 “I will work on the mosaic globe with Patty Vangieri of the Glass Gallery in Nutley, who is a professional glass and mosaic artist. She will help me refurbish the globe, free of charge, because of her passion and belief in this project.”

 Huey stated in his November 2008 proposal to the township, that the Nutley Community Preservation Partnership, citizens and the community of Nutley would benefit from the project.

 “Overall, my goal is to restore the garden to its former glory, mirroring as closely as possible its original plan, and to reunite the community with the garden and raise its profile throughout the area. I envision the garden as a showcase for the township.”

 When all the T’s were crossed and all the I’s dotted, Huey implemented his his main goals: to first clean up the arena using the help of my troop, Cub Scout packs, and family members. The cleanup and tree identification began in spring 2009, with all the restoration and upkeep lasting about five months finishing in time for park’s fiftieth anniversary. The mosaic globe restoration was expected to be complete in summer 2009.

 In June 2009, Huey told Meghan Grant of the Nutley Sun, “I was thinking about doing an ecological project.”

Huey told the paper one of his goals was to rid the area of invasive species of plants that invaded the garden “to bring the garden back to its former glory.”

Grant wrote that Parks and Recreation Commission Mauro Tucci granted the team permission to place temporary tags on the remaining trees to distinguish their species, and that permanent markers would be installed by the town, and all of the specimens in the garden were tagged for easy identification.

 (Some aspects of the project were not approved at the time: removing and replacing dead trees, restoring garden paths, creating a sign showing the layout of the park and planting a butterfly garden. Also, permanent tree markers have not yet been installed.)

 A team clean-up was held on Saturday, June 27, 2009. With help from the NCPP, friends, family, experts, novices, packs and troops, Huey accomplished his main project to identify the trees with temporary tags, and to fix the mosaic globe. And the byways were cleaned up as well due to the extended Earth Day effort.

 Commissioner Tucci visited the volunteers. He said he will be writing letters to all the countries that donated trees when the garden was established in 1962. Many thanks to Tucci and Nutley Department of Parks and Recreation, for removing the piles of trash collected, as well as providing power for trimming bushes. Also thanks to the late Nancy Gruelich and Joe Colucci for their support and encouragement.

 UPDATE: In the past eight years, the river has accumulated deleterious debris. The long-lasting effects of hurricanes Sandy and Irene, not to mention other heavy storms that bring runoff and other debris down river from upriver, haven't made maintaining a garden any easier. The bushes, flowers and such sure could use more loving gardeners’ hands once again.


Photo Gallery

Photos/archives courtesy Tyler, James and Dorothy Huey

Restoring the Mosaic

UN Garden, Nutley, NJ, 2009 by Dorothy Huey

 UN Garden, Nutley, NJ, 2009 by Dorothy Huey

UN Garden, Nutley, NJ, 2009 by Dorothy Huey

UN Garden, Nutley, NJ, 2009 by Dorothy Huey

UN Garden, Nutley, NJ, 2009 by Dorothy Huey


The Plans

UN Garden, Nutley, NJ, 2009 by Dorothy Huey  UN Garden, Nutley, NJ, 2009 by Dorothy Huey UN Garden, Nutley, NJ, 2009 by Dorothy Huey UN Garden, Nutley, NJ, 2009 by Dorothy Huey  UN Garden, Nutley, NJ, 2009 by Dorothy Huey UN Garden, Nutley, NJ, 2009 by Dorothy Huey UN Garden, Nutley, NJ, 2009 by Dorothy Huey  UN Garden, Nutley, NJ, 2009 by Dorothy Huey


The Works and Workers

UN Garden, Nutley, NJ, 2009 by Dorothy Huey

 UN Garden, Nutley, NJ, 2009 by Dorothy Huey UN Garden, Nutley, NJ, 2009 by Dorothy Huey     UN Garden, Nutley, NJ, 2009 by Dorothy Huey  UN Garden, Nutley, NJ, 2009 by Dorothy Huey UN Garden, Nutley, NJ, 2009 by Dorothy Huey UN Garden, Nutley, NJ, 2009 by Dorothy Huey

UN Garden, Nutley, NJ, 2009 by Dorothy Huey  UN Garden, Nutley, NJ, 2009 by Dorothy Huey UN Garden, Nutley, NJ, 2009 by Dorothy Huey UN Garden, Nutley, NJ, 2009 by Dorothy Huey  UN Garden, Nutley, NJ, 2009 by Dorothy Huey  UN Garden, Nutley, NJ, 2009 by Dorothy Huey

 UN Garden, Nutley, NJ, 2009 by Dorothy Huey

UN Garden, Nutley, NJ, 2009 by Dorothy Huey   

UN Garden, Nutley, NJ, 2009 by Dorothy Huey

The content of this article does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Nutley Historical Society.


Anthony Buccino published several Nutley based books.

UN Garden Drive For Funds Seeks To Reach Everybody in Nutley

Kingsland Park and UN Garden

Walk and Talk Through Nutley Parks

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