Gardeners from around the lake area were attracted to a sale of native plants on Saturday, May 5, at the Landing Railroad Station. The event, sponsored by the Lake Hopatcong Foundation, featured 37 varieties of native plants, many of which were sold out by mid-morning.
Buyers took time to chat about their own gardens and admire the landscaping around the station. Foundation board member Tom Wiss, a professional landscape designer, said students from the architecture program at County College of Morris designed a plan for the station lot, but New Jersey Transit regulations caused some alterations. In his words, “too many people had something to say.”
What was originally planned as a demonstration garden for herbs and vegetables is now a perennial garden, Wiss said. All of the plants used in the landscaping are native and were donated by Rohsler’s Nursery in Allendale.
The five chestnut trees that line the perimeter were donated by the American Chestnut Foundation. Wiss explained that the entire region was originally covered with chestnut trees. When the chestnut blight came through, they were harvested and used for building. The Lake Hopatcong Yacht Club on Bertrand Island is made entirely of native chestnut.
Because it is not easy to find the newest blight-resistant chestnut trees, Wiss said, he was very pleased that the foundation was able to get five. Foundation chair Martin Kane speculated about holding a Christmas party with chestnuts from the trees.
The train station is nearing completion as an anchor of the Landing Gateway.
Roxbury Township Ward 1 councilman Richard Zoschak and his wife bought plants for their own garden. Zoschak said the Landing Gateway Committee is meeting with Morris County to discuss a project to replace the Landing Bridge and spruce up the area, which is the introduction to Lake Hopatcong for many visitors. The bridge replacement is slated to start in late 2019 and be completed in early 2020, said Zoschak. He acknowledged that the construction will be disruptive and noted that the waterline work still in progress has been disruptive enough.
Some of the buildings at the main intersection will be removed, according to Zoschak. The county, which owns the road and the bridge, originally wanted a larger span, but local officials insisted on a two-section span. “We want to keep it as historic as possible.”
Some sprucing up is also in the plan. “The ugly fence is off,” Zoschak said, referring to the much-hated chain link fence along the lake. He stated that the wall will be topped with a wrought iron fence, and plans include facing the wall with stone.
Landing Road will be improved, as will the alternative entrance, Shippenport Road. Zoschak noted that the county is “taking the hump out and re-aligning Shippenport” to improve safety due to limited visibility in that area.