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Prospect Garden
There is a story about a Harvard alumnus asking a Princeton man whether, lacking a law
school and a medical school, Princeton at least had an arboretum. "Our entire campus is
an arboretum," was the Princetonian’s reply.

That point is nowhere more evident than in Prospect Garden. The grounds surrounding the
house present an array of trees, bushes, plants and flowers from the commonplace to the
exotic. Planting in the garden began shortly after the house was completed in 1849, with the
help of an Englishman named Petrey who brought the Cedar of Lebanon, the Hawthorn and
the Yew that stand near the tower on the west side. The cedar is a magnificent specimen
and one of the highlights of the garden.

While the garden has been shaped and changed over the years by Prospect’s various owners
and residents, many of its trees predate the house, notably the Tulip trees and the American
Beech, which are native to the area. The Tulip trees, which are the largest in the garden, are
members of the magnolia family and produce inconspicuous green, tulip-like flowers each June.
The American Beech is especially handsome in the fall when its foliage turns a deep bronze color.

The flower garden at the rear of Prospect was laid out in approximately its present form by
Mrs. Woodrow Wilson after her husband had the iron fence erected around the garden’s
perimeter. Mrs. Wilson was the one who laid out the garden in the shape of the University Seal,
so that, when viewed from above, the pathways define the shield outline. Mrs. Wilson also
supervised the planting of the evergreens, predominantly Canadian hemlock, that serve as a
backdrop for the flower garden. The flowers are changed at regular intervals throughout the
growing season.

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