Posted on October 24, 2019

Creating a Cultural Landscape Report for Madoo Conservancy

Press, by La Guardia Design

Madoo Cultural Landscape Report Article

" The Madoo Conservancy is dedicated to the study, preservation, and enhancement of Madoo, the ever changing, horticulturally diverse garden with historic structures established in 1967 by artist, gardener, and writer Robert Dash in the village of Sagaponack, New York. At Madoo, a unique living tribute to the artistic imagination of its founder, we see to continually engage, educate, and inspire our visitors within this ever-changing entirely organic environment."

-Madoo, A History in Photographs


In Conjunction with Madoo's 25th Anniversary as a public garden, LaGuardia Design Group worked closely with Madoo's Director, Alejandro Saralegui to prepare a Cultural Landscape Report. The goal of LaGuardia's work was to provide formal documentation of the physical attributes of the garden, giving particular attention to the documentation of the unique and specimen quality plant material that characterizes the garden. Due to the ephemeral nature of plants, the inventory serves as an important resource and road map of the organization. The inventory can help inform future improvements and upkeep to the garden as well as maintaining Robert Dash's creative vision for future generations.

A Variety of primary and secondary sources were consulted during LaGuardia's process. Primary archival sources included historic plans, surveys, plats, tax maps, atlases, U.S. Geological Survey maps, soil profiles, aerial photographs, photographs, stereoscopic views, glass lantern slides, postcards, engravings, paintings, newspapers, journals, construction account books, and personal correspondence. Secondary Sources include monographs, published histories, theses, National Register forms, survey data, local preservation plans, state contexts, scholarly articles, and interviews.

To document existing conditions, intensive field investigation and reconnaissance were conducted. LaGuardia sought out expertise from preservation professionals, historians, technicians, local residents, managers, and visitors. The cultural landscape report focuses on issues of comprehensive inventory was recorded in plans, databases, photographs, aerial photographs, and drone videography. All existing conditions were documented to scale.

Working with Madoo's director, LaGuardia documented the site's features that contribute to the landscape's historic character. These include the physical features described above (e.g. topography, circulation), and the visual and spatial relationships that are character defining. Significant detail was given to the identification of existing plants, including genus, species, common name, age (if known) and size, as Madoo did not have formalized inventory of the plant material. The woody , and if appropriate, herbaceous plant material was located on the existing conditions map.