JW Garden has debuted herb gardens envisioned and planted by renowned landscape designer Lily Kwong at three properties – JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa, JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa, and JW Marriott Essex House New York.
Rooted in Marriott family tradition, the JW Garden is inspired by founder J. Willard Marriott who took daily nature walks, as well as his wife Alice, who grew fruits, vegetables and herbs for her Sunday night dinners. Today, JW Marriott hotels around the world grow fresh produce and herbs in their own JW Gardens.
“There is a synergy that exists between JW Marriott’s point of view on well-being and Lily Kwong’s passion for bringing people back to nature,” said Bruce Rohr, global brand leader, JW Marriott. “Our JW Garden program invites guests to enjoy serene spaces and find balance while staying with us – the garden instantly acts as a respite for the mind and spirit and later nourishes the body through its gifts. Lily is further elevating the JW Garden experience and we cannot wait for guests to enjoy her vision.”
Studio Lily Kwong incorporated sustainable practices in each of the gardens, including the use of repurposed, low-emission materials such as stucco, water-conserving techniques such as drip irrigation and mulching, and the omission of spray pesticides and fungicides common in commercial gardens. A signature herb was also selected for each garden. It will be harvested and used throughout the guest experience in products ranging from garnishes and butters in the kitchens to oils and scrubs at the spas.
In addition to the gardens she has planted, Kwong’s expertise will be shared through a JW Garden Toolkit, which will be shared with other JW Garden projects around the world.
JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa: Inspired by the diverse landscape of the California desert, Kwong (shown working in the resort’s garden in the photo at top of post) and her team used native plants and edible herbs chosen for their therapeutic properties. With organically shaped garden beds that morph into hidden seating, the garden features walking paths and shade trees to mitigate the desert heat. It also features a planting palette of endemic sages, desert marigolds, milkweed and wildflowers to provide habitat and ecosystem support to fauna and insects. Signature Herb: Sage. Also Growing: Rosemary, Prickly Pear, Olive Trees. Charitable Partner: Mojave Desert Land Trust.
JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa: In addition to drawing inspiration from the legacy of citrus in Orlando agriculture, Kwong and her team chose herbs with strong aromatic power as scent has a direct route to the limbic system (emotion and memory). Signature Herb: Rosemary. Also Growing: Thyme, Lavender, Chives, Oregano, Mint, Marjoram, Orange, Kumquat, Tangerine, Meyer Lemon. Charitable Partner: Orlando City Foundation.
JW Marriott Essex House New York: Inspired by the hotel’s Art Deco roots, Kwong and her team created a terrarium that serves as a botanical art piece. Sitting in the hotel’s grand lobby, the garden takes cues from the design of Central Park, which can be seen through adjacent windows, and renowned landscape architect Frank Law Olmstead. It sits inside a custom-designed millinery cabinet with nods to the design of the hotel’s façade and interiors, created by a master fabricator (Līmen Studio) using an ancient Japanese Shou Sugi Ban process. Signature Herb: Mint. Also Growing: Lavender, Thyme, Rosemary, Marjoram, Chives, Oregano. Charitable Partner: GrowNYC’s Greening Program.
Herb Garden Kit Curated by Studio Lily Kwong for JW Marriott: This “gift of green” features Halden Garden heirloom thyme, mint and oregano seeds; Kanso planters made of upcycled rice husk, bamboo fiber and wheat husk waste; JW Marriott chef-crafted recipe cards; and a journal collaboration with poet Mia Moretti.