After being shot, Richie left his career as a corrections officer to become a gardener. He worked his way up in the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation to become director of the Citywide Nursery. While there he cared for the Survivor Tree, a Callery pear that was crushed (but not killed) in the 9/11 terror attacks.
In Beacon, he founded the Sargent-Downing Garden a number of years ago. The project began with Richie’s interest in one particular tree – a Magnolia acuminata (cucumber tree) near the Craig House mansion that his wife Dassi Rosenkrantz particularly loves. His research into the tree led to a fascination with the local Beacon legacy of two landscape designers and friends, Andrew Jackson Downing and Henry Winthrop Sargent.
There’s a reading list to go with this episode:
Apostle of Taste: Andrew Jackson Downing, 1815-1852, by Professor David Schuyler
A Treatise On The Theory And Practice of Landscape Gardening, by Andrew Jackson Downing and Henry Winthrop Sargent
The Mystery Of The Magical Cucumber Tree, by Richie Cabo