Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Planting Fields Arboretum Long Island, NY

Planting Fields Arboretum Late August

I recently experienced some of the most beautiful gardens I have ever seen.  The Planting Fields is a 409-acre public arboretum and historic site that is one of the few remaining famous Gold Coast estates located on the north shore of Long Island.  Located in the town of Oyster Bay, the estate including a mansion and meticulously kept grounds, was the former home of William Robertson Coe and his wife Mary (Mai) Huttleston Coe in 1913.   Planting Fields retains its original historic buildings and landscapes and can be visited year round.

Coe Hall Planting Fields
The property's first mansion burned down to the ground in 1918 and the present Coe Hall, a 65 room Tudor Revival seen here was constructed between 1918 and 1921.  William and Mai Coe had an interest in collecting rare species of plants that formed the gardens existing on the grounds of the estate.  Mr. Coe sold his estate to the State of New York in 1949 for a sum of $1 so that the site could become a historical landmark and arboretum for visitors to enjoy.
Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar Living Arbor

Beautiful mature evergreens such as this single Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar are the pride of the property. Four trees were trained to form an arbor leading to one of the greenhouses on the estate.

Dahlia Garden (late August)
A walk to the Dahlia garden on the other side of the estate proved to be quite rewarding.  Dahlias of almost every variety imaginable grace this plot and are in full bloom at summer's end.  There were so many that it was difficult to choose a select few to show here. Their beauty is indescribable. William Coe had admired Dahlias because of their variety of texture and bold colors.  The present day garden constructed in 1998 is maintained by the Mid Island Dahlia Society and is one of the largest and most spectacular dahlia gardens in the northeast.  I am thrilled that it is here on Long Island.  Over 400 varieties of dahlia are tended to and Dahlia Society members donate over 2000 hours a year maintaining the gardens.

Main Greenhouse

This is the main greenhouse on the premises housing tropical plants such as hibiscus, orchards, ferns, bromeliads, Bird of Paradise, Banana trees and succulents nestled in a tropical gardener's paradise

The 'Italian Garden'

This is one of the reflecting pools on the estate known as the Italian Garden. Mai Rogers Coe originally created the site back in 1913 as one of her favorite places to stroll.  There are over 40 varieties of perennials that bloom sequentially throughout the year to produce a vibrant display of color.

Camellia Greenhouse

This is the Camellia Greenhouse constructed in 1917 that houses the largest collection of camellias in the northeast with over 300 plants on display. In the center of the greenhouse is a beautiful reflecting pool and fountain and in the backdrop is a miniature grotto.

This was certainly a special day for an overly exuberant gardener.  It turns out that while on our August Sunday drive we ended up here at the arboretum on a whim and it became a day to remember.  I did not have my camera so being a very determined gardener I used my cell phone to take these photographs.  I will be sure to visit Planting Fields again next summer and will bring the good camera so that I can engage in some better photography.  If you are ever on Long Island and would like to see these magnificent gardens you will not be disappointed.  They are a welcome sight for the gardening enthusiast or for anyone who appreciates the beauty of nature along with a little bit of local history!

                                                As Always...Happy Gardening!

Author:Lee@ A Guide To Northeastern Gardening Copyright 2011. All Rights Reserved

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day October 2011

The northeastern garden is beautiful in the fall with plumes arising above grasses and shades of gold, crimson and tan emerging in the landscape. It is a transition from summer to winter. The air has a crispness and freshness about it and there are sights and sounds of busy insects and wildlife preparing for the colder months. Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens we are here again to appreciate all that nature has to offer. Come with me as we take a tour of my northeast zone 7 October garden.  

Montgomery Globe Spruce, Hosta and Grasses
The reason I am a gardener is because the garden is constantly changing and there is always something to look forward to. As we walk along the perennial garden the once green foliage of the hosta has turned to amber and the grasses display their delicate wispy plumes against the blue of the Montgomery Spruce in the backdrop.

Salvia 'Maynight' and Visitor

A busy bumblebee gathers pollen from the last of the salvia.

Sedum 'Brilliant'

The Sedum 'Brilliant has turned from bright pink to orange which is a nice touch for fall.

Stachys (Lambs Ear)
After pruning off the spent flowers of the Lamb's Ear its soft white foliage has rejuvenated which adds interest to the perennial bed border. In the backdrop the brilliant golds and reds from the Gold Flame Spirea shine through.   
Perennial Garden in fall
Here is a combination of grasses, hosta, astilbe and lamb's ear along with Montgomery Blue Spruce, Spirea and Blue Star Juniper. It is really starting to look Fall-like.
Hosta Flower and Spirea 'Gold Flame'
A lone hosta flower emerges in front of the Gold Flame Spirea in the garden. 

Heuchera 'Caramel'
The Heuchera 'Caramel' is showing a display of new fall foliage.  'Caramel' is a new addition to my garden this year and is definitely a favorite!

Crape Myrtle in fall

The flower of the Crape Myrtle is done for the season but the beauty of this tree continues as it produces perfectly shaped seed pods on its branches.  The Crape Myrtle keeps its leaves longer than most other trees and soon they will be a vibrant fiery red.

Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar, Rosy Glow Barberry, Gold Mop Cypress

This section of the garden has a blend of of gold, crimson and blue. The arching branches of the Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar are really starting to cascade like a waterfall over the Gold Mop Cypress.

Dwarf Fountain Grass 'Hameln'
Here is a close up of a 'Hameln' fountain grass delicate. The ornamental grasses really make October a time to look forward to.  They are so whimsical in the garden.

Cherry Laurel and Hakonechloa Grass
The rain and mild weather here has sparked some blooms on the Cherry Laurel for an unexpected surprise.

Fall Color:  Grasses, Sedum and Weeping Norway Spruce

More fun with macros with my camera.  This is a close up of grasses and sedum in front of a Weeping Norway Spruce.

Weeping Birch in Fall
The Weeping Birch (Betula pendula 'Youngii') has a delicate weeping habit and its white bark adds interest in all seasons.  This one is already going into fall mode but the branches will display a nice framework in winter.

Blue Star Juniper, Heuchera and Sedum
Here are blue star juniper, sedum and heuchera.  This garden is visible from my outside patio and there are subtle changes each day as the seasons change.
Hydrangea 'Endless Summer'
Last but not least is the 'Endless Summer' Hydrangea.  There are many varieties and each one has its own uniqueness.  The blooms even look nice well into the fall.  They surely add a highlight to this gardener's day!
I hope you have enjoyed the tour of my garden and will come back to visit.   Thank you for stopping by and please be sure to visit our hostess Carol at May Dreams Gardens who has made Garden Blogger's Bloom Day possible on the 15th of every month throughout the year.   I am also thrilled to be celebrating my 50th blog post on this wonderful Garden Blogger's Bloom Day! 

Happy GBBD and Happy Gardening!

Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all."- Stanley Horowitz

Author:Lee@ A Guide To Northeastern Gardening Copyright 2011. All Rights Reserved

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Labyrinth in the Landscape - Story of A Prayer Garden

Labyrinths have become popular in the design of landscapes in recent modern times.  The history of labyrinth goes back thousands of years as a symbol of salvation and enlightenment.  It is a one way path leading to the center and back again where one can find solitude and peace within.  It is a place for prayer.    As a landscape designer I had the opportunity to design a prayer garden for a local church and it was one of  the most enjoyable and fulfilling projects I have  ever done.  Here is the story of the labyrinth.

I was approached back in 2010 to design a memorial prayer garden where parishioners could go to meditate and pray and enjoy the beauty of nature all in one place.  At the start of the project, I encountered an empty slate of lawn area with a gazebo in the center surrounded by a group of walkways.  The area ended up being the perfect fit for a 30 foot round labyrinth and the gazebo was able to be reused as an additional sitting area on the left corner.   I also felt it was important that the design included benches for guests who would prefer to have a place to rest and partake in prayer.  Once the design was completed it was time to build the labyrinth.  The structure modeled after the Labyrinth of the Cathedral of Chartres in France was constructed out of grey and charcoal Euro circle pavers with sections of different colored stone as areas of accent along the perimeter.  Bluestone treads were placed from the entrance of the labyrinth to the surrounding walkways that were able to stay intact.

Memorialized seat walls and bricks were added to the the labyrinth for visitors to visit, meditate or pray.  Gardens of colorful, fragrant and drought tolerant shrubs and perennials such as viburnum and lavender will  surround the labyrinth on all sides.

The story of the labyrinth traces back to history thousands of years ago.  The sacred geometry of the labyrinth focuses on the numbers four, seven and twelve, each emerging from separate paths.  The central portion of the labyrinth represents a cross surrounded by four sections representing the four gospels and seven is the number of 180 turns there are in each quarter of the labyrinth, also representing the seven liberal arts of medieval education.  Twelve is the number of paths going to the center of the labyrinth representing the twelve month calendar.  As one walks the labyrinth it is meant to be the path of life...a journey to the center of oneself and back out into the world.  Walking into the center of the labyrinth is a symbol for realization and "letting go". Time in the center symbolizes clarity, insight and illumination. Finally, the journey out symbolizes union, initiative and taking control of one's life.  The labyrinth in all is a metaphor for "life's journey".

It has been such a wonderful experience being involved in such a project and seeing the results go from a drafted design to the completed project has been very rewarding.  One can say the whole experience has been both spiritual and enlightening and I know the labyrinth will bring fulfillment to the lives of all those who encounter it.  I know it has certainly brought fulfillment to mine.

Author: Lee@A Guide To Northeastern Gardening Copyright 2011. All Rights Reserved.