Part 3: Sandy’s Garden Tour–Onto Hyde Park!

Hyde Park Gardens, Finally!!!!

Continuing westward from Hilltop House in Amenia, we find we’re in an off-year for the biennial garden tours conducted in Hyde Park in the odd years, 2011, 2013, etc. Good news for us as we can tour on our own schedule—have a leisurely breakfast here on our renovated stone porch before heading out—and not deal with the crowds. The bad news is that gardens on tour dates like actors well rehearsed tend to be ready for the show.

The Beatrix Farrand Garden at Bellefield, the Rose Garden adjacent to his home site, and the Vanderbilt Mansion are all parts of the Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Library and Museum site at 4097 Albany Post Road, Hyde Park, New York 12538. In very close proximity is the Vanderbilt Mansion, for which, in 1940, then President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the enabling legislation to become part of the National Park Service. Vanderbilt was established as a monument to the gilded age, an historic era in America rather than a tribute to any one person or family, today, all clustered together as the NPS historic site in Hyde Park. (And with Val-Kill—the only National Historic Site dedicated to a First Lady a few miles away, plan a day or more to view it all.)

Beatrix Farrand garden in Spring

Beatrix Farrand garden in Spring

Of particular interest and often overlooked by visitors not of the garden variety is the Beatrix Farrand Garden. Farrand, America’s first woman landscape architect, was hired in 1912 to design a series of three gardens descending from the elegant 18th century house (now called Bellefield headquarters for the National Park Service) of her cousin and his wife. Enclosed by hedging and native stonewalls, visitors can glimpse our oldest surviving example of Farrand’s work: flanking flowerbeds of annuals selected for color harmony, bloom sequence, and texture — a technique Farrand helped spearhead. Other areas included a rose garden, a lilac and fruit-tree allée, a boxwood parterre, and something I like, a kitchen garden. Farrand also designed several gates, which have been rebuilt from her original sketches.

In all, over 200 acres of formal and “romantic” or naturalistic landscapes, from high ground to Vanderbilt’s riverside trails are free for the wandering and are open from sunrise to sunset. (To tour the houses is a rose by another name—there is a fee.) There are even pod-casts, and cell phone tours, which you can find of the nps website that help one navigate the landscape.

http://www.nps.gov/history/places.htm

 

 

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So You Want to Own a Bed & Breakfast? Read this and call me in the morning.

The Porch Before

The Porch Before

OldDetailI hear from guests often how much they dream of owning a Bed and Breakfast, and this is my antidote to relieve those symptoms. The wooden pillars and the wide wood planking sitting atop the porch rail were original to the house. The wood was rotting and I knew that something needed to be done. Every time I would water the hanging pots I knew that I was causing more wood rot and knew that something would have to be done sooner rather than later. My contractor’s first suggestion was to wrap the wood in copper. The idea sounded kind of cool, but I couldn’t picture how it could be done neatly and tightly enough so that water wouldn’t get under the copper. Besides the fact, that it was way too expensive. I asked for other options. He came up with stone to replace the horizontal wood; I was sorry I didn’t think of it myself. The new pillars are fiberglass. Although I was sad to get rid of the wood barrel pillars, I knew it was the best option, again because of the rotting, termites and all the other things you worry about what with wood and how best to upkeep it. Now I take the hose and water my pots and rinse off the wall and stone caps and don’t have a worry at all. As you can see from the pictures, it was an enormous undertaking.

Removing the pillars, I loved those wooden things!

Removing the pillars, I loved those wooden things!

PillarsOld

Propping up all around. View from where the breakfast porch is.

Propping up all around. View from where the breakfast porch is.

Fixing the masonry

Fixing the masonry

New Pillar in

New Pillar in

Porch complete, new back beds.

Porch complete, new back beds.

The Beautiful After waiting to be planted

The Beautiful After waiting to be planted

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