Saturday, August 1, 2020

Long Island Attractions Virtual Garden Tour

Welcome to This Month in the Garden. While many of us seek to take refuge in the garden, many of the public gardens are either closed, on a reservation only basis or limiting the numbers of visitors during these challenging times. Contemplating what to write about for my next post, and while dreaming of returning to these gardens myself, the thought of a virtual garden experience came to mind. I hope you enjoy your visit!
Old Westbury Gardens

The first garden we'll visit on our tour is Old Westbury Gardens. Old Westbury Gardens is located in the town of Old Westbury on the north shore of Long Island. The grounds were the former home of John S. Phipps along with his wife Margarita Grace Phipps and their four children. John Phipps (1874–1958) was an American lawyer and businessman and heir to the Phipps family fortune, along with being a shareholder of his father-in-law's Grace Shipping Lines. He was also director of the Hanover Bank United States Steel Corporation W. R. Grace Company. Phipps had purchased the 160-acre farm on Long Island where he built a large mansion surrounded by breathtaking gardens. The daughter of John and Margarita Phipps re-opened the vast estate following the death of her parents and it is currently run as a non-profit organization open to the public
Thatched Cottage
One of the highlights of the estate is this charming Thatched Cottage, which was constructed for the Phipps youngest daughter as a playhouse. The cottage style garden surrounding the cottage consists of an assortment of  blooms, timing a new display for each season.
Walled Garden

Another favorite attraction is the magnificent Walled Garden with its wrought iron gazebos and evergreens for structure, a beautiful lotus pond and an abundance of every kind of bloom you can imagine. The gardens are carefully planned to supply a constant and ever changing sequence of color.
Temple of Love
The "Temple of Love", a marble and wrought iron gazebo overlooking the main pond on the estate, makes for a romantic setting. If you look closely you can see the reflection of the mansion in the distance. 
Planting Fields Arboretum
The next visit on our tour is Planting Fields Arboretum, 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.
Italian Garden Planting Fields

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.
Play Cottage
This adorable pink playhouse surrounded by a cutting garden built for the youngest child and only daughter Natalie is one of the sights to be seen on the estate. 
Dahlia Garden

On the estate are many cutting gardens and the Dahlias are magnificent this time of year. 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. Over 400 varieties of dahlia are tended to and Dahlia Society members donate over 2000 hours a year maintaining the gardens.
Meet the Coe Family (Photo Credit: Planting Fields Arboretum)
Avalon Park & Preserve
Next is Avalon Park & Preserve, a private park and preserve located on the north shore of Long Island, across from the Grist Mill on Harbor Road in the town of Stony Brook. The park and preserve were created to celebrate the life of Paul Simons, a native Long Islander, hiking enthusiast and cyclist, who always had a deep appreciation for the outdoors. After his life was prematurely taken away in 1996, the Paul Simons Foundation was formed, and an abandoned 7.5 acres of residential land was purchased to become the future site of Avalon Park. The goal was to celebrate the life of Paul Simon's and his love of nature by creating a natural habitat for future generations to appreciate and enjoy. While the park is managed privately, it is available to the public.
Letters to The Sky

One of the main park trails leads to this giant mirrored sculpture. The phrase Cartas Al Cielo, which is printed by a mail slit on the front, is roughly translated as "letters to the sky". Visitors are supplied with note cards and pencils, allowing them to insert letters containing their deepest thoughts into the enclosed sculpture.
In the center of the park is this labyrinth leading to a central circle, symbolizing wholeness and eternity, no beginning or end. Above the labyrinth is a sculpture of a "broken" man climbing the rock, an emotional tribute to life of Paul Simons.

Peconic River Herb Farm
Last on our tour is The Peconic River Herb Farm, established in 1986 along the Peconic River on the eastern end of Long Island in Calverton, New York. The farm consists of 14 acres of display gardens, eight greenhouses, a garden shop and picnic areas along the river for visitors to relax and enjoy the view. The farm is a huge draw to visitors from all over and as the name implies, they are known for their extensive variety of herbs, which you can purchase and grow. While there, you may want to take in all the beauty the location has to offer by strolling through the gardens. The story of the Herb Farm began in the late fall/winter of 1986 while the owner, Cristina Spindler was looking for a small farm/garden where she could set up a business selling garden related products. It all started with a small 14 x 24’ hoop house to grow vegetable and herb plants and the farm grew by leaps and bounds to what it is today. 
Potting Shed
Cristina and her husband Michael built this adorable potting shed along with several greenhouses to support all the plants on the farm. 
Hydrangea Walk
I hope you enjoyed This Month in the Garden for August, and be sure to stop by on the 1st. and 15th. of each month as I continue to share gardening tips, information and horticultural adventures! (Linking with: Floral FridaysMacro Monday 2Ruby Tuesday and Image-in-ing Weekly Photo Link-Up.

For gardening info and tips: Visit my Author Page/Purchase My Books  😊
Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening,© Copyright 2010-2020. All rights reserved. 


  1. Oh my!You have brighten up my day!Just wonderful...

  2. I remember you taking us to some of those places before, Lee. I would love to visit all of them, but especially The Peconic River Herb Farm. I have a thing about potting sheds. P. x

    1. I am hoping that someday GardenComm will do their yearly conference on Long Island. We have so much to offer in the way of gardens!

  3. Beautiful! What a gorgeous place.
    Thank you for sharing these wonderful photos at

  4. Each garden with its details;
    All Wonderful!
    I loved meeting, beautiful sharing.
    Good August entry.

    1. Hi Janicce. I am so glad you enjoyed the garden tour. Each place has its own beauty.

  5. What an interesting labyrinth, with a sunken center!

    1. The labyrinth is so unusual and beautiful. The sunken center is a nice touch. I am glad you enjoyed the photos.

  6. I liked the Walled Garden and the pink Play cottage, Lee. This cottage reminds me one embroidery I wanted to do.The gardens are different but they are united by the love to nature of their owners.
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. They are my favorites Nadezda and are the first things I go to visit whenever I go to the gardens!

  7. What beautiful places!
    Thank you for the tour :)

  8. It is always an enchanting experience to visit in your garden.I am starting a link up party from today pertaining to anything about Gardening .It would be my pleasure if you join this party and share about your garden.
    Here is the link

    1. I am so glad you enjoyed the virtual tour Arun. I will check out your link party!

  9. Oh Thank you so much Lee for joining the link party ...It would be my pleasure if you join it every week.Stay healthy stay safe and join my link party every week.Thank you.


Thank you for visiting. I love reading your comments and knowing you have been here, and will try to reciprocate on your blog. If you have any questions I will try my very best to answer them. As always...HAPPY GARDENING!


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