EVERETT – Pick just about any mature tree being installed around the Encore Boston Harbor casino and Patrick Chadwick, the hotel’s top plant guy, will have a story about how it got there.
How about this random 25-year-old scotch pine?
Yes, Chadwick remembers it well.
“Last year I flew from Las Vegas, Nev., to Buffalo, N.Y.,” he begins.
“We drove out of town about an hour and a half, and then we went out into a field under a windmill just like that one,” he says, gesturing to the wind turbine that towers just beyond the Encore site on the Mystic River. “It was about 20 degrees and snowing, and it was a very difficult trek to pick out that tree. I went to a specific place on the planet to pick that specific tree for that specific spot.” He spread his hands to other trees being erected at the site. “Same thing with all these.”
The greening of what was long a polluted former industrial site and the reconnecting of Everett to the Mystic River were among the major benefits Wynn Resorts and its supporters highlighted in the company’s proposal for a resort casino in Greater Boston. State regulators chose the Wynn Resorts project after a competitive bidding process in 2014.
Chadwick, the resort’s director of horticulture and floral, is overseeing the installation of roughly 1,000 mature trees and tens of thousands of shrubs as the backbone of a 6-acre park-like setting along a new riverwalk through the resort property.
Tree species will include various spruce, maple, plum, cherry, and pear. Plans also call for the planting of some 50,000 flowering plants that will be changed out several times a year to create new color schemes with the seasons, and a lawn created by a proprietary type of synthetic grass, he says.
The plant varieties, Chadwick says, were carefully chosen with New England seasons in mind: “We needed to be represented in the landscape for all four seasons. Through the winter we’ll always have color out here with the evergreens. With three types, we have different textures, different colors. Blue and green, short-needled, long-needled, and a bit in between. With the maples we have the great fall color. We have great spring and summer color from the plum. The weeping cherries — think of the cherries you see in Washington, D.C.”
Wynn Resorts will spend about $15 million to create the landscape, he says. That 25-year-old scotch pine alone cost about $30,000 to buy, ship, and install, he says. The outdoor gardens are about 35 percent done.
The $2.5 billion resort is scheduled to open in June. The company announced in May that it had completed its $68 million cleanup of the former chemical plant site.
Chadwick, 34, a big guy with a square of black beard on his chin, has worked for Wynn Resorts for five years. He cared for plants at the company’s Las Vegas complex, beginning as a gardener and ultimately moving up to director. He has transferred full-time to the Massachusetts property and has relocated with his wife and two young daughters to Everett.
Chadwick grew up in the plant business, at his family’s nursery in Helena, Mont., and is so enthralled with trees that he has been known to take trips to see a particular specimen.
“Trees are a passion of mine,” he says. “When I came to Las Vegas from Montana, I transitioned to a brand new palette of trees, which was very exciting for me. I got to learn everything again. Coming to this part of the country, I’ve got to learn everything again for this region. These maples are not something we could grow in Vegas or Montana.
“We renovated all the time [in Las Vegas], but this is my absolutely first build from scratch,” he says. “I’ve been working on this project for two-and-a-half years before I even came here. And seeing it materialize is just fantastic.
“I absolutely love what I do, and to do it at this level is overwhelming. There really aren’t landscapes that get more care than what we do — the time and money we invest in these things. I’ll be testing soil. We have irrigation” fed by collected rainwater. “We’ll have gardeners out here every day.”
When the resort opens, Chadwick will have a staff of 28, including florists. Heavy snow and high wind top the list of things he is worried about, though the species the company is planting were all selected for hardiness and ability to grow here, he says.
In April, Wynn Resorts changed the name of the casino, once called Wynn Boston Harbor, to separate the development from former chief executive Steve Wynn, who resigned in February amid allegations of sexual misconduct. Massachusetts regulators are investigating the company’s handling of the allegations; the investigation is expected to be done this summer.