Burnett - Garfield House

An Open Letter to the Residents of Southborough

The Southborough Historical Commission is pleased to announce the commencement of work to the landscape at the Burnett mansion in the next two weeks. Over the summer members of the Commission, in particular Michael Weishan, who runs a landscape architecture firm, have worked very closely with owner Mr. Jon Delli Priscolli to assess the condition of the trees on the property.

Jointly, Mr. Weishan, Mr. Delli Priscolli and his arborist have come to the conclusion that the majority (some 65%) of the trees on the property are either past or approaching the point of imminent demise. The causes of this are principally age, lack of maintenance over the last forty years, and further severe damage caused by the downburst Southborough experienced in July.

This will mean that over the next few weeks, residents will see a substantial amount of tree removal at 84 Main. The Historical Commission wishes to reassure the public that we have personally inspected and tagged each tree to be removed, and are working very closely and amicably with Mr. Delli Priscoli to develop the master landscape plan that will see the replanting next spring of what are called “century trees” - large specimens of species designed to give beauty to the property for more than a 100 years.

Additionally, residents should be aware that the three principal “stars” of the previous landscape - the two great beeches and the larch near the house - will only receive some minor necessary pruning. When planting is completed over the next several years, the property will have 20-30% more foliage cover than it does today and regain its reputation as one of the most beautiful landscaped gardens west of Boston.

We remain grateful for your support of historical preservation in Southborough, and will periodically keep you updated on progress as the restoration continues.

Joseph Hubley, Chair