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Wyndham Arboretum is an impressive, 19th century estate overlooking the surrounding nearby Atlantic Ocean, perfectly nestled into the undulating geology of the Newport Peninsula. The mansion was designed by prominent architect William Ralph Emerson, built for philanthropist Rosa Anne Grosvenor. The house sits 100 feet above sea level, protected from maritime winds only by planted and naturalized trees and shrubs. On a clear day, Martha’s Vineyard can be spotted in the southeast.
The current plant collection boosts several mature specimen trees, particularly assorted evergreens that have been thoughtfully sited along a steep ledge and can be seen from many angles throughout the property. Weeping hemlocks, junipers, spruces, and pines of varying textures combine for a captivating effect. An intriguing whip cord Japanese cedar is one of the more interesting members of the conifer collection, along with the species Sawara false cypress, which has reverted from the thread leaf type. Other notable plants include a massive Bracken’s Brown Beauty southern magnolia, a groove of weeping birches, and London planetrees gracefully spreading over a small pond filed with water lilies. Let’s not overlook the row of alternating weeping and copper beech’s lining Brenton Road, creating a formidable screen while also being remarkably beautiful.