Monday, January 4, 2016

Edsel & Eleanor Ford House wins prestigious Chairman's Award

The Edsel and Eleanor Ford House is known to be a historical gem. But now it is the landscape that surrounds the home which is being honored by the Michigan Green Industry Association as the 2015 winner of its esteemed Chairman's Award. 

The annual award is given to an organization that contributes to the quality of the environment and magnificence of the landscape.

A beautiful look at the landscape surrounding the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House which was recently honored by the Michigan Green Industry Association as the 2015 winner of its esteemed Chairman's Award. Photo courtesy of Edsel & Eleanor Ford House.

"We are extremely honored to be receiving the Chairman's Award," said Karl Koto, director of landscapes in a press release. "This award is a testament to the continued skill and passion of our landscape team. It was Eleanor Ford's wish to preserve the estate for the enrichment of the public and receiving the Chairman's award reflects the dedication of the entire organization to conserve this magnificent estate and its historically important landscape."

As Koto explained when planning their family home, Edsel and Eleanor Ford wanted a setting that provided both wide-open and intimate outdoor spaces that would accommodate everything from sports and relaxation to nature and family gatherings. This was achieved through the work of Jens Jensen, one of America's foremost landscape designers and conservationists. Between 1926 and 1932, Jensen, who is known as a master of the naturalistic approach created a design that combines woodlands, meadows and wetlands in such a natural way one would never know it was man made. His design also engages all five senses through the sight of many colors and shapes, the sound of water running, the smell of flowers in bloom, the taste of berries and the serene feeling that comes with being surrounded by nature. 

The beauty he created on the historic property that includes 43 acres of turf, 1.25 miles of roads, 1.5 miles of paths and 7,000 feet of shoreline is maintained by a team of six full-time, one part-time and two seasonal landscapers. Among the work they do to maintain its beauty is the annual spring planting of more than 5,000 new bulbs. In 2015, more than $2 million was spent on upgrades that included mending a bridge and storm-water management system.

"We are extremely pleased to be able to honor the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House with this award," said Diane Andrews, executive director of the Michigan Green Industry Association. "The grounds are the epitome of 'magnificence of the landscape!'"

Previous winners have included Domino Farms, Frederik Meijer Gardens and the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy.