Trade Secrets 2018- Wethersfield Garden

Thankfully the weather held out for the Sunday Garden tours this year unlike Saturday’s Garden and Rare Plant Sale at Lion Rock Farm. Wethersfield Garden in Amenia, NY is a beautifully manicured ten acre garden surrounding the home of the late Chauncey D. Stillman. The gardens were created in a classical style similar to the Italian villas found in the 17th century.

In every direction the Garden takes full advantage of the views and creates rooms and spaces with statues, steps, water features and plant materials. It was created on a north-south and east-west axis by Landscape Architect Bryan J. Lynch and then Evelyn N. Poehler.

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The Garden relies on the architecture of varying shades and textures of plant material that marry themselves into the natural landscape starting immediately upon arrival in the East Garden. Besides the sculpted yews there are Korean dogwoods, azaleas, lilacs, rhododendrons and magnolias. The four corners of this garden feature the most magnificent European Weeping Beech trees trimmed into cylindrical shape. Sorry the Garden geek in me was drooling!

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The north wall in the East Garden features the Cupid Fountain surrounded by a fieldstone retaining wall that supports Sedum, Campanula and Ivy.

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When you look to the south through the Arborvitae Arch which is flanked by two figurines playing pipes the views of the countryside unfold. These statues are called the “Pan Pipers”. This area features Witch Hazel, Hawthorne, Elderberry and Gray Dogwood.

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The reflecting pool has a black interior that allows the surrounding shrubs to reflect onto the water’s surface. The surrounding yews are shaped into globes and cones.

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The Inner Garden was originally designed when the house was built.

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In the Knot Garden the flower tubs on either sides of the steps supposedly were designed by the architect Stanford White so they plant them with white petunias in his honor.

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The Pine Terrace so named for the White Pine in the center of the stone terrace. A goldfish pond with its frogs and Iris and Agapanthas and Clivia that attract hummingbirds.

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The Allee is flanked with Cupid urns that encourage “silence” in the garden. This area features a 12′ wide lawn and a bronze statute “Naiad” by a Swedish sculptor Carl Milles.

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The Trade Secrets Garden tours are always a wonderful opportunity to tour private gardens that we can get ideas from for our own gardens even if only in our dreams.

Anatomy of a new Garden

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Back yard complete

Some artists express themselves with paint, some with sculpture, yarn, wood etc.  I paint with light, color, flowers and capture that with my photography!

I recently moved to a new home and with that move I transplanted tons of plants from my previous houses  and have added new plants to create something special.  When I started in mid-May this year there was nothing on my new property except a lot of water and clover and a few builder installed obligatory plants.  First thing I did was remove the unwanted plants and install them on another property.  With the help of a friend I got a bird’s eye view of my property and began the design of a totally new garden that would be complete in 4 months!  I had plants and shrubs that needed to be replanted immediately as they were being transplanted and beds had to be designed, dug out, turned over, compost and sand added all over the property.

I came up with a layout and started drawing it out on the property so my contractor could dig the beds for me. My goal was to encourage all types of pollinators, birds, bees, (especially Honeybees) butterflies (especially Monarchs) and wildlife.  Four season color and interest were keys to my design. Winter structure was of primary importance as winter in New England lasts for many months. As all plans go, best laid plans changed a little.  We had to move things around a little to accommodate the septic system, clay soil  and water run off.

 

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Initial plans

 

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Grass marked and ready for digging

 

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Front yard starting point- tulips were mine and so was the fountain
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Beds being dug out and amended, plants patiently waiting for transplanting

New large full size trees were ordered and installed, new shrubs, perennials and bulbs added and finally annuals were added to liven it all up.

 

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The first of the large trees are installed

 

The finishing touches were just done this past weekend with the placement of several bird houses. Overall I can truly say I am very pleased with the results as are the birds. butterflies and bees!

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Back yard complete

 

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Grass is being aerated and reseeded this week. Next year the pathways will be bluestone- grass for now!

 

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New Hawthorn ‘Winter King’ Trees, Viburnum and Norway Spruce finally done
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Front pathway through the beds again waiting for BlueStone next year

 

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Clematis ‘Elsa Spath’ on Front Arbor leading to backyard with Climbing Roses and Autumn Clematis

Just waiting for my bulb orders to come in so I can get my Tulips, Alliums, Hyacinths, Camassia, Daffodils and Muscari in the ground.  Of course, it will soon be time to lift the Dahlia tubers and bring those in along with the Agapanthus and Calla Lillies.  I have started freezing my thyme, parsley and making pesto to savor all that yummy Basil all winter.

I have created my own canvas for photography.  I try to find the magic in each space whether on my own property or on a client’s.

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Enjoy the beauty of nature in all of our seasons!  Create items of interest for all 4 seasons. Leave your grasses and seed heads for the birds and you will be rewarded with beautiful sights when the snow lands atop them.

Think of your garden as an extension of your home.  Stage your garden rooms to get the best view!  Look at your garden from inside when you are creating it since that is where it will most often be viewed from.  Is it the kitchen window or your office or from the patio you most often look out onto the garden.  Consider this when adding elements to your garden and don’t forget a place to sit outside once in awhile to enjoy it all!

Remember gardening should be fun and stuff goes wrong for everyone! Still need help?  I have expanded my photography business to include Garden Consulting.  As an Interior Designer for many years and a photographer I then pursued a Certificate in Garden Design and Horticulture so I can help advise you.  Visit my website: www.lensidesigns.com

 

 

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