Thursday, February 15, 2018

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day & Foliage Follow-Up February 2018: Winter Color & Structure

February 2018 Garden
The winter of 2018 is moving along nicely and it is time once again to step out into the garden and take notice, as this month's Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Foliage Follow-Up have arrived. There is a slight indication of the seasons changing as daylight hours gradually become longer and temperatures rise up into the 30's and 40's. After winter storm 'Kalani' on the 30th of January with 4.4 inches of snowfall, it has been relatively quiet as the garden rests for winter, but there is still lots to see!  Come along with me for a winter tour of my Long Island garden.
Garden Gal Welcoming Committee
Garden Gal, who has resided under the Weeping Pussy Willow tree for many years, is even more visible during the winter months as she greets visitors to the garden with her basket of black Mondo grass. I have had her in the garden for so long, yet she continues to make me smile.
Weeping White Pine and 'Yaku Jima' Grass
Weeping White Pine is holding down the fort with its evergreen foliage as it gracefully cascades over the garden. Dwarf Maiden Grass 'Yaku Jima' lies along side of it and is dormant for the winter months.
Skyland's Golden Oriental Spruce
The newest member in the back left pool garden is the Golden Skyland's Oriental Spruce which I added last summer. It has met all my expectations as far as adding color and interest to the back area and I can see it right from my window at all times. 
Skylands' Golden Oriental Spruce Seed Cones
The newer Skyland's has not produced any seed cones as of yet, so here is a view of the purplish-brown cones from the more mature tree on the other side of the property. I expect the newer tree to start producing cones in the upcoming year or so.
Japanese Golden Sedge & Heuchera Combo
Here is one of the foliage combinations I discussed in my newest book. Even after being buried in prolonged snow with below freezing temperatures, this combination of color with texture continues to attract attention in the back garden.
Colorado Blue Globe Spruce 'Montgomery' Foliage
Evergreens always have been a passion of mine, especially when gardening in a climate that has several months of dormancy. These are the beautiful blue needles on Globe 'Montgomery' Spruce close up. Nature is so creative with her artwork!
Weeping White Pine Seed Cones
Speaking of artwork, I can never get enough of these Weeping White Pine seed cones in wintertime, as they especially stand out against the wispy blue-green foliage of the tree.
Nellie Stevens Holly Berries
As always, Nellie Stevens Holly is producing its bright red berries for winter.
Leucothoe Axillaris
Next to the holly is Leucothoe Axillaris. Its interesting variegated foliage displays bands of yellow and burgundy highlights on top of a dark green background, a color combination which changes in intensity throughout the seasons.
Secret Tree Tunnel-Garden Room 
Every garden should have some mystery! Over the years, the three Arborvitae in the back garden have reached their mature height of 25 feet and have formed a natural tunnel in the middle, where I have placed this boulder. The boulder is actually much larger than it appears, as it is large enough for an adult to sit on and enjoy the tranquility of the spot, plus a full grown adult can comfortably walk into and stand inside the "secret" room. The new garden "room" had just become a reality this past summer, since some inner expired branches needed to be cleaned out. Now the space is a fun area to find solitude and also be discovered by garden visitors!
Rhododendron Bud Sign of Spring
You probably noticed the Rhododendron to the right of the new garden room/tree tunnel. There are subtle signs of spring as the buds start to grow larger.
Western Arborvitae Winter
As you can see, we have had some nice days in February with blue skies. Even though the temperatures are cold, it is still nice to take a walk in the garden to capture some "green"!
Hydrangea Dried Flower
The dried flowers on Hydrangea are nice to admire too and they add some winter interest. I decided not to touch them at the end of the season, since the last few winters have been hard on many of the hydrangea here on Long Island. When we get our March winds, it is likely that any remaining dried blooms will be naturally cleaned from the shrub.
Garden Whimsy
Here is a little more whimsy in the garden as "Garden Boy" tends to his own kind of flowers! I anticipate spring and await the show of foliage and blooms that will appear on the spirea that surround the statue, but that wait is for a couple of months.
Northern Cardinal Visitor
In the meantime, the Northern Cardinals are enjoying the garden...
More Visitors!
and the squirrels are as well!
Weeping Japanese Maple Structure
Continuing on the tour, as we move along to the front of the property you can view the twisting trunk structure on one of the two Weeping Japanese Maple trees that exist there. I have always looked for and admired the inner beauty of plantings and select them for their ability to provide interest, no matter what the season. I look at these tree trunks as a piece of artwork, which is much more visible in wintertime.
Himalayan Weeping Birch Bark
Bark is another form of artwork in the landscape. Here is the interesting bark of Himalayan Weeping Birch. Variegated Sweet Flag provides evergreen interest in the backdrop.
Sedum Rosettes
Signs of spring!!! Here are the first rosettes of Sedum 'Brilliant' showing in the front garden bed, while Hellebore should be blooming soon on the north side of the property.
Hellebore Shooting Star
The Hellebores have bloomed during January in past years, and are running a bit behind schedule as a result of being covered with snow. They look like they are now recovering and will be blooming soon. I'll take the buds for now as they start to open!
February 2018 Garden
I hope you enjoyed this month's tour through my garden. Special thanks go out to our hostesses Carol at May Dreams Gardens, who makes it possible to see blooms on the 15th of every month with her meme Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Pam at Digging for hosting Foliage Follow-Up. I am also linking with some other wonderful hosts and hostesses at Floral Friday Fotos, Macro Monday 2, and Nature Notes at Rambling Woods. Also check out Garden Bloggers' Foliage Day at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides, Wednesday Around the WorldDishing It & Digging It and Image-in-ing weekly photo share every Tuesday. 
Winter Reading:

~As Always...Happy Gardening!~

Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening, © Copyright 2018. All rights reserved.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

This Month in the Garden: Wintertime at the Beautiful Old Westbury Gardens-Long Island

Wintertime at Old Westbury Gardens
The inner beauty of a garden is found as it changes throughout the seasons, and there is a hidden beauty that strikes the senses in wintertime. One of my favorite places to visit on the north shore of Long Island is Old Westbury Gardens. I am more familiar with visiting these beautiful gardens during the springtimethroughout the days of summer, and even into the cooler days of autumn, but had never seen them in wintertime. With temperatures in the 30's and winter apparel on, a gardening friend and I decided to venture out into the winter wonderland of Old Westbury Gardens and take in all that nature has to offer.
Garden Entrance
As we drove up the tree lined driveway to the gardens, the magical tour started, as snow covered branches led the way towards the mansion and grounds. I never really paid much attention to the entry before, so this was a new outlook on how something as simple as a driveway could be so beautiful in wintertime. There was a certain allure that I find hard to describe. We paused and listened to the stillness that surrounded us, and every so often there would be the rustling sound of snow as it fell from branches above.
Westbury House Wintertime
The Westbury House was built back in 1905 by architect George Crawley for John Phipps, the eldest of three sons. His father, Henry Phipps, was one of the partners at Carnegie Steel during the Gilded Age. John Phipps had promised his wife Margarita Grace an English style estate and garden, much like the one she had grown up in. When John and Margarita passed away in the late 1950's, their only daughter Peggie (one of four children) helped to turn the estate into a nonprofit charity in 1958, which opened up to the public in 1959.
Welcoming Fireplace
The mansion has a different look in winter, with garland trimmed columns that lead the way and an inviting fireplace that warms the main room as you walk inside. The large sun room is decorated with holiday trees, with an added touch of cyclamen and daffodils. Volunteers serve warm cookies and hot apple cider on weekends during the month of December for an added touch of good cheer.
Winter Decor
The rooms of the mansion are decorated with care as perfectly placed poinsettias add color to the already beautiful decor. Holiday wreaths, brightly wrapped packages and even a train set upstairs all add to the holiday atmosphere.
Inside the Mansion
Having arrived at the gardens, it was time to venture outside and accomplish what we had set out for... to see the grounds through winter's eyes. The snow and cold did not bother us, as we were captured in the awe over the garden's beauty. It was truly the winter wonderland we had dreamed of experiencing. 
Old Westbury Mansion Back Patio
The outside porch leads to a series of steps on each side that lead to the ponds and gardens below. There are two lakes on the property and a reflecting pool behind the mansion. We walked through the trellised pergola that supports rose blooms in the summer and around to the lake.
Trellised Walkway in Wintertime
The lake was frozen in spots and the reflecting pool and columned pergola in the distance could be seen. The trees made crackling noises as ice melted from them.
Lake at Old Westbury Gardens with Columned Pergola in Distance
Once we walked around the lake, we had to go see the masonry and wrought iron gazebo, which is referred to as the "Temple of Love". It is beautifully located at the far end of the lake with a view of the mansion at the background.
Temple of Love Old Westbury Gardens Wintertime
Margarita Phipps had a passion for gardens and architecture. The gazebo is one of the many structures located on the 200 acre property...
Temple of Love Old Westbury Gardens Wintertime
and one of my favorite places to visit every time I go there.
Winter Views
On the way to and from the gazebo is an arched wooden bridge that takes you from one side of the garden to the other.
Bridge Wintertime
On the way around to the other side of the garden, a beautiful wrought iron gate with gold foil trim is located at the end of the allee, and to the right is the Walled Garden.
Giant Wrought Iron Gate at end of the Allee
The Italianate walled garden is one of the main attractions on the estate. Because the Phipps spent most of their summers abroad, the walled garden was planned for spring and fall interest. Today, under the direction of the horticulturist Lemuel Hegwood, the garden puts on a show during the entire growing season with blooms from early spring until fall, each season more magnificent than the one before.

Walled Garden Wintertime
Seeing just the structures in front of the semi-frozen pond, which is home of lotus blooms in the summer, gave a whole new perspective on this area of the garden. I found it to be quite peaceful and beautiful. 
Walled Garden Wintertime
While I had never walked through the giant pergola and gazebo arches before, I was led to explore. Visiting in the wintertime allowed the focus to go onto the amazing architecture of the structures on the property. I could just picture the Phipps and their guests strolling along the garden.
Wintertime at Old Westbury Gardens
On the way back towards the mansion, we passed through the trellised area once again and stopped to take a long look and absorb it all in. I can still visualize the beautiful gardens and feel the crispness of the air as we tracked through the snow in fur lined boots while bundled up with scarf and gloves. The view of gazebo and bridge with frozen lake, walled garden covered in white and snow gently falling from branches above, followed by the warmth of hot cider, made for a perfect day.
Old Westbury Mansion
I hope you enjoyed seeing Old Westbury Gardens either for the first time or for the first wintertime experience. I found it to be just as beautiful as I had imagined it would be. Old Westbury Gardens is open to the public from April-December and also hosts a variety of events, including workshops and weddings. If you would like to experience a virtual visit to these beautiful gardens at different times of the year, click here on this site and look under Long Island to tour Old Westbury Gardens.
Wintertime at Old Westbury Gardens
For more information visit Old Westbury Gardens

Visiting Hours and Events

Author: Lee@A Guide To Northeastern Gardening, Copyright 2018. All rights reserved