Saturday, May 31, 2014

Springtime at Old Westbury Gardens-Long Island, New York

Old Westbury House
I recently had the pleasure of returning to Old Westbury Gardens on the north shore of Long Island for a springtime visit. The majority of my visits to these magnificent gardens have been during the summer months so it was a nice change to see what blooms are occurring at the end of May.  It was another wonderful visit and I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate the unofficial start of summer along with friends.  There is much to see so come take a stroll with me in the beautiful gardens!
Old Westbury House
The tour starts at the mansion in the heart of the Gold Coast with its beautiful architecture consisting of marble columns and wrought iron grill work highlighted with gold foil accents.  Behind the mansion is a majestic lake that leads to the location of the Temple of Love, which is one of the first places I love to visit.
Bridge Old Westbury Gardens

A beautiful curved bridge crosses over and reflects in the lake creating the perfect serene setting.  Further down the path is the Temple of Love, a beautiful marble and wrought iron pergola overlooking the water.  The back of the great mansion can be seen in the distance.

Temple of Love Old Westbury Gardens

A brick path leads through a maze of natural vine pergolas towards the lilac garden, rose garden and various demonstration gardens.  At this time of year the lilacs are just finishing and the rhododendrons and azaleas are in full bloom.
Pergola Old Westbury Gardens May

Along to the Lotus Pond the Wisteria vines above the pergola are in full bloom in May.
Wisteria on Pergola at Lotus Pond Old Westbury Gardens
The courtyard gardens are so lovely at every visit with sprouting fountains and the beautiful lotus pond and blooms.  At this time of year in May there are an abundance of Giant Allium, Iris, Peony, Poppies and Rhododendron along with urns filled with newly planted annuals.
Old Westbury Gardens May-Giant Allium

Pink Iris Old Westbury Gardens May

The blooms are so magnificent at the gardens and it is amazing to see numerous varieties of iris and peony all in one place.  I especially found these iris to be breathtaking.  I also enjoyed getting "up close and personal" with the vibrant peony below.
Peony Blaze Old Westbury Gardens May

Rhododendron Blooms Old Westbury Gardens May
Rhododendron Blooms Close Up Old Westbury Gardens May

Planter Old Westbury Gardens May

Poppy Old Westbury Gardens May

The poppies and allium were amazing reaching to about four to five inches in diameter. The purple center inside this poppy is a work of art.
Purple Allium Old Westbury Gardens May

Peony Buckeye Belle Old Westbury Gardens May
Peony Cora Louise Old Westbury Gardens May

Purple Iris Old Westbury Gardens May

Peony La France Old Westbury Gardens May

There are so many varieties of Peony in the gardens that I had to do some research to find names for some of them.  Each one is more beautiful than the next with blooms up to eight inches in diameter and some with the aroma of a mild fragrance.
Old Westbury Gardens Thatched Cottage Garden (May)

Here we are at the Thatched Cottage which was the play house for the only daughter of the Philipps family who lived here back in 1910.  I re-live my childhood with each visit and the array of blooms vary with each passing month...making for a sweet display.   

Old Westbury Gardens Thatched Cottage Garden (May)

Giant White Allium Old Westbury Gardens May

Geese and Babies Old Westbury Gardens May

While walking the gardens we encountered a rare treat....a mother goose and her babies by the pond.  I took several photographs and was clicking away as they all started to retreat...making for the perfect ending photo for this post.

The End!

I hope you enjoyed your visit to the beautiful Old Westbury gardens.  

As Always...Happy Gardening!

Author: Lee@A Guide To Northeastern Gardening, Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day & Foliage Follow-Up May 2014: The Garden in all Its Glory!

It is May at last and the gardens are alive with color. Over the past few days the temperatures have elevated into the 70's and even hit 82 degrees one afternoon, allowing buds to burst into wonderful blooms.  I am in my glory especially during the months of May and June when there is so much to be enjoyed in the garden.  I am known to be found with shovel in hand, covered from head to foot in mud, sporting a grin...a state of true happiness and satisfaction.  It is time for another Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Foliage Follow-Up.  Come walk along with me and take a look at what is happening in my May Long Island garden.
Thundercloud Plum
The Thundercloud Plum in now in its third season and is finally coming into its element with the best blooms yet this spring.  The dainty pink blooms are short lived but enjoyed nonetheless and are followed by beautiful deep burgundy foliage that lasts throughout the summer.
Detour!  I came across these gorgeous tulips in my travels.  They were just too beautiful to pass by without a photo opportunity. The color on these is so vibrant!
Viburnum Carlcephalum
Back to my gardens....the Viburnum is all in bloom and the flowers are very large this year with large white fragrant blooms.  
Ajuga 'Bronze Beauty'
The Ajuga and Azalea are blooming at the same time...
Azalea 'Girard's Fuchsia'
displaying purple and fuchsia blooms.
Azalea 'Girard's Crimson'
Another Azalea is playing backdrop to the dwarf cypress in front of it and low spreading Sedum 'Dragons Blood' in the foreground.
Heuchera 'Caramel'
The 'Caramel' Coral Bells are getting all their new growth and are very vibrant in color.  I am still very impressed with this plant.  This particular variety takes both sun and shade and winters very well here on Long Island.
Acer palmatum dissectum 'Viridis'
The Japanese Maple in the front yard has really reached maturity and the trunk gets more and more twisted with time.  It never ceases to fascinate me so take a look under the canopy of the tree and you will see what I am referring to.
Picea pungens 'Glauca Globusa'
Now lets talk foliage.  The evergreens are getting a lot of new growth...
Halenkolea (Japanese Forest Grass)
and the Japanese Forest Grass is looking very full.  
Alchemilla Mollis (Lady's Mantle) 
I finally added some Lady's Mantle this spring and am enjoying its large umbrella like leaves.  When it rains the leaves capture raindrops that sparkle in the sun.  There are some flower buds forming on this one and I anticipate the arrival of blooms.
Juniperus 'Gold Lace' and Heuchera
Around into the front gardens there are two forms of Heuchera, 'Palace Purple' and 'Caramel' next to the golden foliage of Juniperus 'Gold Lace'.
Hosta 'Patriot'
The 'Patriot' Hosta are unraveling their white and green foliage.
Nepeta 'Walker's Low'
The perennials are still slightly behind due to the long cold winter and cooler than usual spring but the Nepeta 'Walkers Low' and Salvia 'May Night' are now forming their flower buds.  The blooms are not far behind!
Salvia 'May Night'
Here is the the front island bed with Skyland's Golden Oriental Spruce, Coral Bark Maple, Barberry 'Royal Burgundy', Nepeta 'Walker's Low' and Juniperus 'Old Gold'.  The Coreopsis and Dwarf Fountain Grasses are also starting to make their appearance.
Front Island Bed with 'Skyland's' Oriental Spruce
Here is the last of the Grape Hyacinths...
Grape Hyacinth
and the Spirea Double Play 'Big Bang' made it through its first winter in the garden and is starting its show all over again.  It started off with vibrant orange foliage that has now turned to gold and huge pink blooms will follow throughout the summer months.  This new addition has certainly become a favorite of mine!
Spirea Double Play 'Big Bang'

I hope you enjoyed the tour of my gardens.  Please visit our hostesses Carol at May Dreams Gardens for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Pam at Digging for Foliage Follow-Up.   I am also linking up to Creative Country Mom's new Home Sweet Garden Party. Thank you for the visit and if you leave a note I will know you dropped by to say hello and I will be sure to visit you as well!  

As Always...Happy Gardening!

Author: Lee@A Guide To Northeastern Gardening, Copyright 2014. All rights reserved

Friday, May 9, 2014

Structural Elements in the Landscape: Natural Stone

In the past several years garden planning has turned to even more of an emphasis on outdoor living space, extending the indoor living space outwards in order to serve a specific function.  Throughout history, natural stone has been used around the world for building due to its beauty and durability.  As a designer I have used a combination of natural and man-made materials in creating outdoor spaces and nothing leads to a more natural setting than (well you guessed it) natural stone itself.  Natural stone is elegant, low-maintenance and timeless.  It is known for its selection of various colors, structures and textures that vary slightly in each piece so that no two stones are ever exactly alike.  Natural stone ages well and retains a natural patina which only adds to the beauty nature gave it. 
Pennsylvania Moss Rock Wall
One of my favorite natural stones to use is Pennsylvania Moss Rock.  Pennsylvania Moss Rock is easily accessible in the northeast and adds interest to a variety of landscapes ranging from back garden beds to front foundation plantings, woodland gardens, cottage gardens, perennial borders and more.  The stone adds natural beauty to the landscape and may be purchased with or without the moss growing right on it.  The moss is easy to maintain with regular watering and adds that extra touch.  Moss Rock is available in a large range of sizes depending on your landscaping needs.
Pennsylvania Bluestone Border
A popular stone used for raised walls is Pennsylvania Irregular Bluestone.  It's color ranges from mainly blue to grey with occasional tinges of browns and greens.  It comes in one to three inch slabs which can be neatly stacked to form a decorative stone border as shown in the above photograph...
Pennsylvania Bluestone Wall
or as a stacked retaining wall adding dimension to a foundation planting as seen here. The wall is serving several functions, including improving grade of the property, separating the garden bed from the lawn area and adding a decorative touch to the landscape. 
Irregular Bluestone Patio
Another use of Irregular Bluestone is for the creation of an informal outdoor patio as in the two photographs shown.  This natural look fits well into a woodland or cottage garden setting and the homeowner will be able to enjoy lounging around a fire pit...
Pennsylvania Bluestone Patio
entertaining guests or perhaps enjoy some quiet time reading a book.

NY Bluestone Patio
This New York bluestone patio is constructed on a concrete base with mortared joints for a more formal look along with the beauty of natural stone. The shades of this stone range from a blue base color to a mix of brown, green, grey, and purple accents along with a natural cleft surface. Informal gardens surround this space with a mixture of evergreens and perennials.
Crab Orchard Stone Patio 
This patio is constructed of Crab Orchard Stone, a beautiful natural sandstone which comes from the quarries in Tennessee.  Even though a sandstone, Crab Orchard is exceptionally hard and weather resistant due to its high silica content. The stone's natural colors range from buff to tan, pink, yellow and golden-brown.  The yellow and brown swirls that give the stone its unique appearance are formed from iron stains and natural weathering.

Irregular Bluestone Backyard Path
For an informal backyard path huge slabs of irregular bluestone can be placed into a surrounding lawn as seen here with this path leading from the back gate to the deck and pool patio area or to perhaps leading to a secret backyard garden (below).
Irregular Bluestone Garden Path
 For a more formal look bluestone treads can be used.  This labyrinth design features a combination of both manufactured pavers and natural stone.
 Natural Bluestone  2' x 2' Treads and Bluestone Gravel

 The use of hardscape has increasingly become a more functional aspect of landscape design and is used in a variety of ways from basic walkways, driveways and patios to garden paths, fire-pit areas, retaining walls and garden borders.  Going even further it is used in the construction of veneers, lampposts, benches, outdoor bars, fireplaces, kitchens and outdoor decorations.  Modern technology has allowed manufactures to replicate the natural look of stone in a multitude of beautiful paving materials.  Depending on your taste and budget you may choose to go with either natural or manufactured materials or a combination of each. Either way the timeless elegance of natural looking stone is here to stay.

As Always...Happy Gardening!

Author: Lee@A Guide To Northeastern Gardening, Copyright 2014. All rights reserved