Monday, March 1, 2021

This Month in the Garden: Long Island Places and Garden Memories-A Few of my Favorite Things

 Welcome to This Month in the Garden!
I have been gardening all my life, but it has been in the past ten years or so that I have taken an interest in garden photography. With camera in hand, I try to capture the best of every garden I visit and have a massive library of those "special memories". I am sharing some of my personal favorites with you today, a selection which holds a special place in my heart.
Temple of Love at Old Westbury Gardens
One of my favorite botanical gardens here on Long Island is Old Westbury Gardens, located on the north shore along the ‘Gold Coast’. Old Westbury Gardens is one of the most beautiful estate gardens I have ever visited, and continue to re-visit. In the entrance to the gardens is a 23-room mansion, built in 1906 for American lawyer and businessman John S. Phipps, his wife Margarita Grace and their four children. Opened to the public in 1959, the mansion is surrounded by 200 acres of meticulously manicured grounds, formal gardens, woodlands and watersheds. This photograph is of the beautiful and romantic “Temple of Love”, a gazebo constructed of marble and wrought iron, located along the lake right behind the mansion. Today, the gardens and mansion are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Lotus Flower Old Westbury Gardens
I have taken hundreds of photos of these gardens, and this is one of my favorite captures, one of a Lotus bloom in the pond at the Walled Garden during summertime.
 North fork Sunflower Maze, Mattituck, Long Island
This photo has a very special meaning. If you are familiar with my third book, Dream, Garden, Grow, there is an entire chapter about the meaning of sunflowers, and it was sparked by a single visit to eastern Long Island. After viewing a story on the local news about a sunflower maze opening to visitors for the first time, I told my husband that I had to go there. I had memories of taking car rides out east with my parents and seeing huge fields of sunflowers, and always had a desire to stand among the huge flowers. Unfortunately, in those days, the public was not given access. That day during the summer of 2018, when a childhood dream came true, was something I wanted to share. I started writing and the memories flowed out onto paper.
Tool Shed Peconic River Herb Farm
Another special place is the Peconic River Herb Farm here on Long Island. The farm was established in 1986 along the Peconic River on the eastern end of Long Island in Calverton, New York, and consists of 14 acres of display gardens, eight greenhouses, a garden shop and picnic areas for visitors to relax and enjoy the view. The owner Cristina Spindler’s husband built most of the structures on the farm and this photograph of the old fashioned tool shed is one my favorites!
Hydrangea Walk Peconic River Herb Farm
At the farm is this hydrangea walk, which leads to a view of a frog pond and the Peconic River. Unfortunately, the arbor was destroyed during one of the last storms, but I have the photo to remember it by. 
Avalon Park & Preserve, Long Island
During a visit to Avalon Park & Preserve for the first time last year, this labyrinth and sculpture really intrigued me. This private park, located on the north shore of Long Island in the town of Stony Brook was created to celebrate the life of Paul Simons, a native Long Islander, who always had a deep appreciation for the outdoors. His life was prematurely taken away in 1996, and the abandoned 7.5 acres of residential land was purchased for Avalon Park in his memory. Knowing the story behind the park, this bronze sculpture of the “broken” man climbing the wall immediately became very meaningful to me.
Letters to Heaven Sculpture Avalon Park
Another intriguing piece of artwork at the park is this giant metal sculpture in which the artist included a slit in the side for visitors to write letters to loved ones, send prayers, or share a thought. I had never seen anything like it before and I did insert a note. The day at Avalon Park and Preserve created a new memory.
Lotus Pond Verderber’s Nursery
If you ever get to visit Long Island, one of my favorite places to visit is Verderber's Nursery on the north shore of the island in Aquebogue. The grounds resemble a botanical garden with acres of plants arranged according to type or environment needs, water features, a pond with wildlife, gazebos, and even a selection of  unusual birds to visit. A lotus flower blooming in one of their water features caught my attention and the camera on my cell phone came in handy!
Frog Pond Verderber’s Nursery
I even had the pleasure of seeing this rather large Bullfrog, that even posed for the photo shoot. Going back and looking at these captures brings back fond memories of a great day out east last summer and a lovely visit to my favorite place!
Bumblebee on Coneflower
I have always enjoyed watching bumblebees as they gather nectar from flowers, The above photograph was taken with a macro lens some years ago, is in my photo collection, and one I go back to look at often. This very photo also made it into my second book, Landscape Design Combinations
Bumblebee Visitor
Here is another bumblebee capture. They do love all the pollinator friendly flowers in the garden!
Monarch Butterfly on Butterfly Bush
As you can see, we are getting into my collection of garden visitors. Monarch Butterflies frequent the Butterfly Bush that resides along the back patio area. This is one of my favorite captures.
Green Darner Dragonfly
For this capture, I was in the right place at the right time! We do get an abundance of dragonflies in the garden every summer, but this was one of the largest ones I had ever encountered. There it appeared on a rhododendron while I was walking around the garden. Sparked from this photo and seeing dragonflies each summer, another chapter in Dream, Garden, Grow had materialized!
Canadian Goose
This story behind this photograph is a bit funny. A couple of winters ago, one Canadian Goose landed  in our backyard and I was so excited that I quickly brought out some bread to feed him, since it was so cold and snowy and I wanted to have time to get my good camera and photograph him. Within five minutes, an entire flock of squawking Canadian Geese landed on the lawn. There must have been twenty or so of them and as they ate, they heavily fertilized our lawn. They stayed for hours, not wanting to leave, and it got to the point that they had well overstayed their welcome. I went outside waving my arms and clapping, and after some time, they finally flew off. The next day, the flock of geese flew over looking for more bread. Thank goodness, I didn’t have any!!!
Deer Smithpoint Park
This is one of my favorite photographs and the best capture that I was ever able to get of a deer. I had been working near Smithpoint Beach here on Long Island and had my good camera with me. It was at the end of the day, so I figured I’d drive down to the beach parking area, relax some, and take in the sights. Within minutes, this beautiful doe walked straight towards me, and with camera in hand, she allowed me to take her photo. At the time, I had been working on a chapter about "deer resistant" plantings for my first book, A Guide to Northeastern Gardening. Timing is everything, since this was just the photo I needed!
Elizabeth A. Morton National Wildlife Refuge
This picture is of the first time I was ever able to feed a wild bird out of my hand. We are fortunate to have the Elizabeth A. Morton National Wildlife Refuge, located right here on Long Island in the town of Sag Harbor. The 187-acre National Wildlife Refuge is the home of  many varieties of wildlife, including birds, wild turkeys, chipmunks, and endangered wildlife. The birds feel so safe and and used to visitors, that they will eat seed right from your hand. I love how there is a growing number of  sanctuaries a not too long drive from where we live.
Ruby Throated Hummingbird
This photograph was taken right in our own backyard! I have been putting hummingbird feeders out every spring with great hopes of someday having a visitor. I had a sighting of a ruby throated hummingbird near the end of the summer of 2019, that appeared to be a stop over on the journey down south. Attracted to the Crape Myrtle in the backyard, he found the feeder that had awaited him all summer. After a couple of visits he was gone. This following spring of 2020, I had high hopes that he would return, so I put the feeder out early. All of a sudden, there he was! I believe it could have actually been the same one as the year before, and he adopted the feeder, frequenting it several times a day. Each time I called for my husband to come see the hummingbird, the bird had already flown away, and it became an ongoing joke that I was imaging its presence. The ending of the story was my husband who took this picture!
Mushroom Amanita jacksonii
Have you ever seen a very strange mushroom that you just had to get a picture of it? I spotted this one in my own garden after a heavy rainfall. It popped up overnight and was resting underneath the leaves of a Hosta the next morning. 
Giant Mushroom
This giant mushroom was in a wooded section of a client’s yard. As I was working, I spotted it and found it be be so interesting, so of course I took a picture!
Mother and Child Morning Dove
This is a wonderful story. We were on vacation, and whenever we go somewhere, I take a stroll with camera in hand to capture some sights. As I was strolling the pathway along the beach, this morning dove with her baby were seated on a nearby rock. While the birds would have flown off in fear at home, mother and child remained calm and allowed me to take their picture. I am so glad I was able to capture the moment and it makes me smile every time I look at this photograph.
Long Island Box Turtle
I run across a lot of wildlife on my job. While working with the crew at a client’s house some years back, one of the crew members spotted this turtle and knew I am an animal lover! I got a quick photo, then we made sure he was safe and sound back by his pile of logs.
Welcoming Committee
This photo is one you have probably run across within my posts. It is the garden statue that my husband had spotted while shopping two winters ago and knew that I had to have it. He said it reminded him of the two of us side by side, enjoying the view over a cup of tea. He brought the statue home to surprise me. The statue and the memory have been a special addition to the garden ever since.
My Inspiration!
Lastly, is a flower which had the power to inspire my newest and fourth book, Gardening by Month. The very special bloom captured in January lead to another photograph, which became the cover of the book, and reminds me that the garden can have something to look forward to every month of the year! A picture really is worth a thousand words!

I hope you enjoyed your visit to This Month in the Garden for the month of March, and I always look forward to hearing from you. Be sure to stop by on the 1st. and 15th. of each month as I share gardening tips, information and horticultural adventures! (Linking with: Floral FridaysMacro Monday 2Our World TuesdayTravel Tuesday, Pictorial TuesdayMy Corner of the World, Friday Photo JournalImage-in-ing Weekly Photo Link-Up and Garden Affair at Jaipur Garden.)
~As Always...Happy Gardening! ~

Author: Lee @A Guide to Northeastern Gardening,© Copyright 2010-2021. All rights reserved.


  1. your garden photography always makes me smile - I 'd love to wander the garden you mentioned and your own garden

    1. Good morning Carol! I am so glad you enjoyed the photos. That was the purpose of the post and I am happy it made you smile!

  2. Delightful photos - all of them!
    Thanks for sharing at

  3. Every picture was wonderful. My favorite was the Mourning Dove snuggling with her little one. It brightened my day.

    1. That one always makes me smile too. It's promising seeing green vegetables and snow together in your garden. I am so happy for you that you were able to harvest despite the winter we are having. Spring will be here soon...well almost!

  4. Great pictures! I love garden art so my favorite is the frogs on the bench. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you for visiting and I am so happy the photos brightened your day!

  5. Wonderful memories and photos. I have to say it....after years and years of chasing them off our property, I despise Canada geese. They are disgusting with their waste and are a real problem in our city, along any and all riverbanks!

    1. Thank you Rita. The geese flew over again the other day and every time I see them I remember that day when I couldn't get them to leave!

  6. Wow, you have some wonderful garden photos. I love photographing my small flower bed each Summer. Mr. Frog is very cute..great photo of him/her.

    1. I am so glad you enjoyed them. I loved your quote in the beginning of your post and maybe that little heart of snow is a good sign!

  7. Your garden photos are delightful! I’m a big fan of garden photography myself, my cloud is full of them!

    1. I am so glad you enjoyed them Robin. I love your views and signs of spring on the way. Your beautiful photos certainly brighten the day!

  8. what a lot of lovely photos! Great captures of the deer and the dove with her youngster.

    1. Thank you! Your photos are inspiring! It's always fun to see those pussy willow catkins announcing that spring is on its way!

  9. lovely photo that a wild bird feeds on your hand....wonderful.

    Have a great day

  10. A beautiful park! Love the frogs :)

    1. I am so glad you enjoyed the views. Your captures of the sunset and wildlife are beautiful!

  11. Thank you for sharing these wonderful places with us! There is so much to see and enjoy :)

    I'm glad to see you this week at 'My Corner of the World'!

    1. Thank you for hosting Betty! I enjoyed your post and the beautiful capture of the birds.

  12. I love Botanical gardens, Lee.
    There are many photos, I watched twice. I liked water plant, Canadian goose and deer.

    1. It makes me happy that you enjoyed the gardens Nadezda. It looks like your vegetables and flowers are coming along nicely, and spring will be here soon! Enjoy!

  13. Wow ! What a beautiful post ! Those bird capture is so stunning and I liked the variety of captures in your post. Beautiful water lilies . Thanks for joining in Garden Affair.

    1. I am so glad you enjoyed it Arun! Thank you for hosting and showing your beautiful blooms!


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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