When one passes by the lush new landscape at the entrance to Encore Boston Harbor next to the Charlestown line, think Buffalo.
Yes, in fact it is Buffalo, New York that has provided most all of the mature spruce and pine trees that weave and wander along Broadway and up to the resort entrance, according to Patrick Chadwick, director of horticulture and floral for Encore.
Chadwick has been with Wynn in Las Vegas for nearly seven years, but moved out to Boston more than a year ago to begin executing a plan for the entrance that was on the drawing board since 2013.
And a majority of the time spent in the early days of executing that plan was in Buffalo.
“We sourced most of those trees from Buffalo, so Buffalo has been very good to us,” said Chadwick. “I hand-picked most of them.”
Each of the trees is placed in just the exact location, Chadwick said, and that was the result of years of study and planning.
“We wanted to create a diverse entrance with a lot of Evergreens because this is New England and that’s northern country,” he said. “There is a lot of thought to it. Everything out there is contemplated and on purpose. We spent a lot of time thinking about where everything would go and at what angle it would be facing. We want it to look like we’ve been here a long time…You don’t just see a green wall set in front of you. It’s a wandering landscape. It’s a place to experience. We have provided a cover to the building because it invites one to explore the landscape. You need to experience the tree by going around it.”
The front entrance is ensconced with trees that are already 25 to 40 feet high, and they include Norway Spruce, White Spruce and the Encore Signature Scottish Pines that run up and down the drive. It has gone from a dirty, dead landscape to a virtual forest that transforms one from an urban area to a contemplated forest.
“We want it to feel like it’s a special place,” he said. “We thought through every part of how the landscape would interact with the guests and the public when we were planning it…It’s meant to transcend the place you’re in.”
The Norway Spruce trees come from retired Christmas tree farms in the Buffalo area. Chadwick personally drove around for hours searching and tagging trees that Encore wished to uproot and bring back to the site.
The Scotch Pines come from another reusable source too.
The trees were promoted by federal government conservation efforts after World War II in the New England area. There are vast fields of those trees now throughout New England in very dense forests. As it would happen, some of those trees migrated outside of the forests and ended up isolated into fields adjacent to the forests.
Chadwick and his team were able to scour the fields in those areas and find wayward, lonely Scotch Pines to bring back to the Encore forest on Rt. 99.
“They have a lot of character and they’ve been wonderfully sculpted by nature being isolated,” he said.
However, what seems to be Chadwick’s favorite area is the entry garden, known internally right now as Oak Plaza.
That plaza is a roundabout just steps from the sidewalk that has a Red Oak tree that is 45-feet-tall as the focal point – with weeping cherry trees, Scotch Pines and other plantings framing it. With benches around the tree and a clear sight-line to the tree’s area, it is a space that Chadwick gave care to planning.
“That tree is a 45-foot tall Red Oak,” he said. “It came from New Jersey and weighed 19,000 pounds when we planted it. I traveled all over New Jersey and looked at many oak trees in the north and south of the state. We settled on this one because it is a tree I would want to stop to look at. I looked at a lot of trees and it was one that I would stop for. That tree called to me…It’s a dramatic area and we want people to experience it.”
Right now, Chadwick and his team are putting in some of the final touches on the outdoor plant, some flowers here and there and mulch around some of the beds. As that winds down, Chadwick said he is simply anxious to see the reaction from guests – a reaction he hopes will come with some major ‘wow’ factor included.