Philadelphia's Rodin Museum sits on the city's Benjamin Franklin Parkway and just unveiled a massive renovation of its gardens by the landscape firm Olin. We take a tour of the newly renovated gardens.
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Philadelphia's Rodin Museum is on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, which serves as a museum mile for Philadelphia. The Parkway was designed by Jacques Gréber, the same landscape designer who designed the original plan for the Rodin Museum's gardens. Born in Paris, Gréber modeled the Parkway after the Champs-Élysées in his native city, starting the boulevard from Philadelphia's City Hall and ending at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Prior to the renovation, several people mentioned to me that the Parkway had become so densely overgrown with trees in front of the Rodin Museum that many people did not even know that the museum was there. Olin's hope is that the museum's garden, nestled within the new landscaping of the surrounding areas and the Parkway itself, will create a focal point for the eye as Philadelphians walk or drive by the Rodin Museum.
The trees in the gardens—including those outside the courtyard, which border the Parkway and the sidewalk—were assessed by the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania and any unhealthy trees were removed. The entire five acres of gardens had new plantings of native species (including those specified in the museum's original landscape design) put in, including a mix of trees and shrubs including winter-blooming witch hazel, virburnum, fragrant sumac, bush honeysuckle, fothergilla, and American beautyberry.