rhododendrons beneath the birches
Rosebay rhododendrons in bloom in Central Park

Promoting Great Landscaping

The Evergreen Foundation is a non-profit foundation formed under the New Hampshire Non-Profit Corporation Act in 2016 and recognized as a federally tax-exempt foundation under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code in 2017.

The Foundation was formed to “own, operate, maintain, and enhance” Evergreen, the 1-acre woodland garden in Goffstown, New Hampshire, and, according to its by-laws:

  • “To provide training and education to the general public on the principles of naturalistic landscape design.”
  • “To promote exemplary landscape use and design to the public through various means including, but not limited to, publicity, publishing, education, on-site tours and demonstrations and other support for exemplary public and private landscapes.”
  • “To undertake such lawful activities in furtherance of these purposes in New Hampshire and other states. . . .”

The Foundation regularly opens Evergreen to the public without charge, including every year on the first weekend in June, when its 220 Catawba rhododendrons are in bloom, thus continuing a tradition began by Robert Gillmore, the creator of the garden, in 1994. See Opening Dates and Times.

This year Robert Gillmore donated the Birchwood, the woodland garden he created in Montgomery, Vermont, to the Foundation. The Foundation will open the 7-acre garden to the public for the first time on June 9, 10, and 11.  (See Opening Dates and Times.)

The Birchwood and Evergreen are very similar yet very different landscapes. Evergreen is characterized by immense white pines, huge, handsome boulders, and a cascading stream.  (See Garden Highlights.) In contrast, the Birchwood has almost no pines, virtually no rock, and absolutely no water. Instead it has hundreds of namesake white birches, large sweeps of ferns, luxurious carpets of moss, and stunning mountain views.  (See Garden Highlights. )

Both gardens, however, are groomed woodlands with sweeps of hundreds of rhododendrons, both were created on sites with superb natural ornamental assets, and both advance the Foundation’s mission of demonstrating low-maintenance, naturalistic landscaping.

The Foundation also advances its educational mission on its website, which provides not only detailed descriptions of both Evergreen and the Birchwood, but also extensive gardening and landscaping information in its Landscape Lyceum.

The Lyceum includes:

Special Garden Tours and Lectures

Robert Gillmore offers special tours of Evergreen and the Birchwood, as well as lectures on naturalistic landscape design, to garden clubs, landscape associations, and other interested organizations.

Since 1994, when Evergreen was first opened to the public, Gillmore has presented special tours of Evergreen to more than a dozen organizations,1 and has spoken on landscape design to 37 community garden clubs;2 at 31 public libraries;3 and at 13 other forums,4  including the New Hampshire Landscape Association; the New Hampshire Federation of Garden Clubs; the New Hampshire Master Gardeners Association; the Connecticut Master Gardeners Association; the Fells estate in Newbury, New Hampshire; and the New Hampshire Technical College in Concord, New Hampshire.

In addition to Evergreen, Gillmore’s projects include such major residential landscapes as Water’s Edge, in Bedford, New Hampshire; and gardens in Dublin, Fremont, Hillsborough, Manchester, and New Boston, New Hampshire; and Longmeadow, Massachusetts. (See Residential Landscapes Designed by Robert Gillmore.)

Gillmore’s books include The Woodland Garden; and Beauty All Around You: How to Create Large Private Low-Maintenance Gardens, Even on Small Lots and Small Budgets.

Both his books and his lectures are illustrated with beautiful color photographs by Eileen Oktavec.

Gillmore was born and raised in Claremont, New Hampshire; graduated cum laude and with honors from Williams; and has a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia, where he was a Du Pont Fellow.

For more information, or to book lectures or tours, e-mail the Evergreen Foundation at evergreenfoundationnh@gmail.com, or call 603-497-8020.

The Foundation is governed by its Board of Directors: Robert Gillmore, of Montgomery Center, Vermont; Claire A. Baker and Dennis Hooper of Goffstown, New Hampshire; Robert M. Lux of Bow, New Hampshire; and Eileen Oktavec of Montgomery Center, Vermont. Robert Gillmore is president of the Foundation; Eileen Oktavec is vice president; Dennis Hooper is treasurer; and Claire Baker is secretary.

You can contact the Foundation on line at:  evergreenfoundationnh@gmail.com; by mail at PO Box 410, Goffstown NH 03045-0410; or by phone at 603-497-8020.

Tax-deductible donations to the Evergreen Foundation are very much appreciated and may be sent to the mailing address above.

You may also support the Foundation, as a volunteer or donor, by joining the Friends of Evergreen.

The Foundation is a member of the American Rhododendron Society.

1 The New Hampshire Landscape Association, the Francestown Meeting House annual garden program; the Fells estate in Newbury, New Hampshire; the New Hampshire Technical College in Concord, New Hampshire; and the Amherst, Claremont, Dunbarton, Goffstown, and Windham community garden clubs.

2 In New Hampshire, the Amherst, Atkinson, Bearcamp River Valley (Sandwich area), Bedford, Claremont, Concord, Cornish, Derry, Dunbarton, Durham, Epping, Francestown, Goffstown, Hampstead, Hillsborough, Hooksett, Hopkinton, Litchfield, Mason, Merrimack, Monadnock Herb Society (Hillsborough area), Mountain (Conway area), New London, Old Homestead (Keene area), Opechee (Laconia area), Peterborough, Portsmouth, Rye, Salem, Stoddard, Weare, Windham, and Wolfeboro garden clubs.

In Vermont, the Barre, Montgomery, and St. Johnsbury garden clubs.

In Massachusetts, the Concord Garden Club.

3 In New Hampshire, the Amherst, Brookline, Canterbury, Chesterfield, Conway, Derry, Epping, Exeter, Fitzwilliam, Laconia, Lebanon, Londonderry, Merrimack, Moultonborough, Nashua, Newport, Nottingham, Temple, Tuftonboro, and Winchester public libraries.

In Vermont, the Ascutney, Fairfax, Montgomery, New Haven, Newport, Proctor, Royalton, South Burlington, and Wells River public libraries.

In Massachusetts, the Lowell and Lancaster public libraries.

4 The (Vermont) Hardy Plant Club; the Stanley Park Garden Workshops in Westfield, Massachusetts; the Francestown Meeting House annual garden program; and book signings at Barnes & Noble in Manchester, New Hampshire; the Toadstool bookstores in Milford and Peterborough, New Hampshire; and MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, New Hampshire.

Photo by Eileen Oktavec

A cherub looks out over variegated hostas and euonymus in Evergreen’s White Room