Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of the historic Princeton Nursery Lands, for the enjoyment of present and future generations. From 1911 to their departure in 1995, Princeton Nurseries cultivated up to 1500 acres of land centered in Kingston, New Jersey and operated a thriving wholesale tree nursery. Several unique varieties were developed here, with a special focus on trees for city landscaping. Hundreds of trees remain on the property, both as showpiece specimens and as tree rows and windrows, a characteristic feature of the property. When Princeton Nurseries left Kingston in 1995, much of the beautiful landscape adjacent to the D & R Canal and the historic village of Kingston became vulnerable to development.
Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands was established in 2000, and has worked since then to support the ongoing efforts of local and state partners to safeguard this historic landscape. We are proud of the supporting role we have played in the protection of over 240 acres of the former Princeton Nurseries to date. This includes scenic landscapes and historic properties that have been preserved by South Brunswick Township, New Jersey Green Acres, Princeton University, Wm Flemer’s Sons, Inc. and Plainsboro Township.
Our mission is challenging – we seek to preserve and restore this scenic historic and cultural landscape to its former glory by facilitating the restoration of greenhouses and historic buildings, the removal of invasive plants, maintenance of trails and links to surrounding open space, building public awareness by leading nature and history-oriented walks and talks, and obtaining funding to achieve the preservation, education and restoration goals above.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
**Become a member**
**Become a volunteer**
**Join us for walks, talks, workshops, cleanups, trail maintenance and field trips**
Your support and generosity are needed in the ongoing efforts to protect and restore this scenic historical landscape. We urge you to become a member of the Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands today. For more information, and for volunteer opportunities, visit http://fpnl.org/ or call 609-683-0483.
Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands
P.O. Box 113
Kingston, NJ 08528-0113
Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands Homepage
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OBITUARY FOR WILLIAM FLEMER III
William Flemer III of Princeton died April 22, 2007 at University Medical Center at Princeton. He was 85.
He was president of Princeton Nurseries from 1972 until 1992 in partnership with his brother, John W. Flemer, who died in 1982. Princeton Nurseries was founded in Plainsboro in 1913 by his grandfather, William Flemer Sr.
In its heyday, Princeton Nurseries encompassed 1,200 acres in Plainsboro, Kingston, West Windsor, Princeton and South Brunswick and was the largest nursery in the world — and one of the most innovative. Mr. Flemer achieved international renown in the nursery and horticultural professions through his innovative selection and distribution of improved cultivars of shade and flowering trees. Best known among his introductions are October Glory red maple, Princeton Sentry ginkgo, Shademaster honeylocust, Green Vase zelkova, and Greenspire linden. Mr. Flemer planted the well-known forsythia hedgerow that lines the entrance to Princeton on Washington Road, while his grandfather introduced the Princeton elm variety that is planted there.
Born in Princeton, he attended Miss Fine's School, Nassau Street School, Princeton Country Day School and The Lawrenceville School, graduating in 1940. He entered Yale University in the class of 1944 and graduated with a bachelor's degree in botany in 1946 and a master's degree in botany in 1947.
His college education was interrupted by World War II. In 1942 he joined the 603rd Engineer Camouflage Battalion, one of four units of the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops. Shortly after the Normandy landings, the 603rd moved to the Normandy beachhead, and after the breakout at St. Lo, saw service in France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Holland, and finally in Germany. Its mission, which has only recently been declassified, involved deception on a large scale in counter-intelligence activities, and the unit is now referred to as the "Ghost Army."
On completion of his Yale University education, he married and returned to Princeton where he resumed work at Princeton Nurseries. While he will be best remembered for his many plant introductions, he was also active in many nursery industry associations. He was president of the New Jersey Association of Nurserymen in 1959, of the Eastern Regional Nurseryman's Association in 1964, and the National Association of Plant Patent Owners in 1965. He was president of the American Association of Nurserymen in 1969, and of the International Plant Propagators Society in 1972.
He was twice chairman of the U.S. National Arboretum Advisory Board and served on the White House Grounds Committee of the AAN for many years. He was a member of the board of directors of the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University. He was a fellow of the Royal Horticultural Society. Locally, he was president of the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association from 1956 to 1966. He served as senior warden for both Trinity and All Saints Episcopal churches in Princeton.
He wrote several books and numerous articles on plants and nursery work, including "Shade and Ornamental Trees in Color" (1965) and "Nature's Guide to Successful Gardening and Landscaping" (1972).
He received many awards and citations from horticultural and gardening associations for his life's work. Among those are the Hall of Fame Award from the American Association of Nurserymen, the Gold Veitch Memorial Medal from the Royal Horticultural Society and the Medal of Honor from the Garden Club of America. Other awards include the Thomas Roland and Jackson Dawson medals from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, the Arthur Hoyt Scott Garden Award, and the Catherine H. Sweeny Award from the American Horticultural Society.
He was a naturalist and ornithologist with an encyclopedic knowledge of plants, birds, and other wildlife. He was an avid trout fisherman and expert in fly tying. He enjoyed canoeing, gardening, bird watching, travel, and the music of J.S. Bach. He and his wife traveled often to Puerto Rico for bird watching.
He was fluent in German, French, and Spanish.
Son of the late William Flemer Jr. and Emma Wilkinson Flemer, he is survived by his wife of 58 years, Elizabeth S. Flemer; children, Louise W. Gross and Harriette "Heidi" D. Hesselein, both of Allentown and William Flemer IV of Princeton; and nine grandchildren.
A memorial service and requiem Mass will be held noon Saturday at All Saints Church, 16 All Saints Road, off of Terhune Road, in Princeton, with a reception following at the church.
He was buried in the Flemer family plot in the Kingston Cemetery in a private ceremony on Wednesday.
Memorial contributions may be made to the New Jersey Audubon Society, www.njaudubon.org, and The Nature Conservancy, www.nature.org).
1972 Princeton Nurseries Property
Map - courtesy of Doug Kiovsky
pnl1972.pdf (409 KB)
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