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The 2013 Garden Tour

We welcomed spring surrounded by lovely gardens, immersed in appealing gardening ideas.
We enjoyed a day with people who love gardening and gardens as much as we do.
The Society arranged, on Sunday, June 9th, to make available to the community an exciting collection of six local gardens (plus a special bonus).  These gardens, each with a different theme, were chosen for their unique qualities and to provide an interesting cross section of the plantings and designs available in the area.
The gardeners were all available at each of the sites to discuss their plants and plans.
Thank you to our Sponsors who have made this Garden Tour possible.

The tickets were $25 per person.

The 2013 Gardens

1.  The Plant Collectors Garden      
Although this property is less than 1/6 acre, it’s packed with nearly 290 varieties of perennials, shrubs, and small trees. Specimens have been sourced from all over the country via mail order, as well as regular road-trips to Peconic River Herb Farm in Calverton and Broken Arrow Nursery in Hamden, CT.
       Included are over 5 varieties of Weigela, 6 varieties of Japanese Barberry, 11 varieties of Heuchera, 12 varieties of Hydrangea, 23 varieties of ornamental grass, 27 varieties of flowering vine, and much more.
       The limited space has provided a great opportunity to experiment with creating small tree standards from a few select specimens that are traditionally found as shrubs.
       One of the more choice and unusual specimens is a variegated form of River Birch whose foliage is splashed in irregular brushstrokes of cream. A unique Bottle-Brush Buckeye shows off its long droopy wand-like flowers. Included in the Japanese Barberry collection are 3 columnar forms with different colors of foliage: one in plum, one in chartreuse, and one in rust.
       Come and join us in exploring the beauty of the Front Fence Garden, the serenity of the Pond Garden, the whimsy of the Tear-Drop Garden, the variety of the Dog Bone Garden, and the enticing fragrances of the white-picket fence enclosed Vegetable and Herb Garden. You’ll find much to explore and enjoy.




2.  Manatee Bay--A Garden Legacy
We bought this property seven years ago, relocating from Bay Hills..  To make it “home,” it needed gardens.  In 2006, while the contractor’s crews worked inside, we began the redesign of our gardens, pruning and reshaping evergreens and privet and removing Miscanthus grasses from around the pool.  We planted our favorite perennials taken from our former properties, such as daylilies, “Lullaby Baby” and “Joan Senior” which celebrated our daughter’s birth and my mother’s love of gardening.  Hostas “Paul’s Glory” and “Jack of Diamonds” represented our sons.  We worked into the gardens plants that had been in my parents’ Bay Hills gardens and plants that came from friends.  Mom transitioned a stretch of non-descript lawn to “Nana’s Garden.”  My husband claimed the back side of the garage for misfit plants and his raised vegetable garden.  We commandeered the contractor’s backhoe to dig my perennial garden along the privet hedge.  We kept some of the gardens that we had inherited from earlier owners.  The ornamental junipers, known as the “poodle-trees” flank a structure that was once a children’s summer play-house.  The imposing white pines where planted by the original owners to mark the borders when they built the house after World War II.  Each spring we look forward to the daffodils and tulips that were planted by my friend and a former owner and they are a reminder of her.

Like life, our gardens constantly change.  Over the years the berm garden that frames the pool has been tamed and restructured.  The pond area has been restored and transitioned into shade gardens.  The pond is restocked with koi and goldfish that are descendants of fish that prior owners returned to us.  Storms have savaged the white pines, but they live on.  Nana left us in the Fall of 2011 but her garden continues to bloom.  The gardens that we planned, planted and nurtured make us all feel at home.

3.  The Hillside Hacienda
Inspired by a visit to Monet’s Garden in Giverny, France, this garden was Linda’s 50th birthday wish and it was her husband, Skip, who created this natural eclectic garden.  For two decades Skip has been adding new elements of interest.  All of the construction and planting has been with plants and objects discovered by happenstance or fortune; friends and family have contributed plants from their own gardens and two pieces of iron sculpture, the dinosaurs, are on loan from the NY Tech art department and look quite at home.

In September 1993, four large trees were felled and moved to build berms. A bobcat expert cleared and scraped out a 20’x40’ depression for the surplus swimming pool liner that formed the pond.  A stream and cliff for the waterfall were completed and a nursery closeout provided many large rhododendrons, and andromedas as well as Korean boxwoods.  About five years later, a trip to England inspired the building of the grotto.  Rocks were bought directly from a quarry and were delivered on an 18-wheeler.

The garden compliments the Southwest design of the house and a rustic sculpture of Kokopeli invites you in.  There is a spectacular view from the deck.  The garden has many unique attractions: sculptures, water features, tree house, lily pond, grotto, vegetable garden and more.  A recent addition is the grape and vine arbor and the grove of crepe myrtle and climbing roses.  From there one has a view of the gardens below.

Still a work in progress, this Bay Hills garden reflects the owner’s appreciation for nature and instills a sense of wonder and serenity for all who come to visit.



4.  A Country Home Garden
The original house at 73 Bay Avenue dates back to about 1886.  The land had been part of the Simpson Farm, which stretched from the ridge of Bay Avenue toward the harbor.  In 1919 Fannie Brice, of Ziegfield Follies fame, bought the house so that she could have a “country home” for her family and where she could entertain her friends and famous guests.  She owned the home until 1946 when she moved to California.  There were two other owners between 1946 and 1983 when Lynn and George Pezold bought the house.  They have done a beautiful restoration.

 Originally there was a clear view down the hill to Huntington Harbor.  When Fannie Brice purchased the property it was planted with apple trees that bore abundant fruit. In March, 1920 The Long-Islander reported that the harvest of the previous fall had produced so many apples that Fannie Brice purchased barrels for them to be sent to a New York City orphanage. By the 1980’s the water view was mostly obscured during the summer due to the growth of tall trees.  There were older plantings. “Senior citizen” mulberries, fruit trees and maples predominated at the rear of the property.  There were old roses to be rescued.  A very popular ground cover, now disparagingly known as “gout weed”, had to be cleared.  The line of “Annabelle” hydrangea was once one overgrown bush!

 Lynn is a recent president of the Nathan Hale Garden Club.  She enjoys the peaceful, natural setting and expanse of her landscape, which is planted with low maintenance and native species.   Garden tour visitors are invited for refreshments on the lovely old-fashioned porch of this 1880”s country home.  Plants, gifts and garden items will be available for purchase.

5.  The Memorial Garden
On September 11th, 2001, my husband, Thomas O’Neill, lost 68 people at his investment banking firm, Sandler O’Neill & Partners, which was located on the 104th floor of Two World Trade Center.  Included among those who died were our twenty-one year old nephew, our daughter’s childhood best friend, our neighbor’s son, and many, many loved ones. It was utterly devastating. 

Shortly after that day, I decided to plant a memorial rose garden. I wanted to create a peaceful and serene place where our family could go to remember the people we lost.

I hired a landscape architect to help me design the garden on a stretch of lawn by the side of my house in Wincoma Beach. We chose 12 varieties of David Austin English roses because they are fragrant and cultured from old roses. Two rows with 68 bushes in different shades of pink were planted.  At the end of the rows stands a bronze fountain with a plaque dedicating the garden to those who died and to the family and friends of Sandler O’Neill.  It also features a plaque containing a Native American prayer:

I give you this one thought to keep, I am with you still, I do not sleep
I am a thousand winds that blow, I am the diamond glint on snow
I am the sunlight on ripened grain, I am the gentle autumn rain
When you waken in the mornings hush, I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight, I am the soft stars that shine at night
Do not think of me as gone, I am with you still, in each new dawn

This rose garden has been planted
in loving memory of family and friends
from Sandler, O’Neill and partners who
lost their lives in the World Trade Center
on September 11th, 2001

Rhododendrons, perennials and annuals surround the garden. When I go there now, I do remember the people we lost. I remember their smiles, their laughter, and the time we spent together. I remember the good things.

6.  A Perennial Paradise      

 My garden is a sacred passion for me. I began creating and designing it twenty six years ago. Around 1991, I discovered Beth Chatto’s remarkable book, The Green Tapestry, where she advocates that each plant be given its specific cultural requirements in order to thrive. For example, a clematis requires sun, shaded roots, manure, good drainage, and sweet soil (lime). Each plant in my garden, since then, has gone into the ground with its proper soil amendments, light requirement,  and other needs. My study of plants to accomplish this goal, led me to be hired as a perennial specialist at several local nurseries for over a decade. Now I am retired and, with the splendid assistance of Carlo Nardelli over the past three years, I have re-created most areas in the garden for lower maintenance in respect to my aging!

       The garden and ½ acre corner property sit beneath a leafy canopy of oaks, dogwoods, white pines, etc... Half of the property surrounding the house is fenced in and planted intensively with unusual dwarf shrubs, false cypresses, grasses and perennials. Around the front of the property, outside the fenced area, are many cultivars of viburnums, cryptomeria japonicas and hydrangeas, in particular.

       In the inner sanctuary, paths wind through the plantings and around the two woodland ponds in this ’all seasons’ garden. Since it is also a registered wildlife habitat, many plants cater to butterflies, bees and rabbits. In addition, I must admit that I am an avid plant collector and the collections include many forms of: hostas, sempervivums, hardy geraniums, hellebores, epimediums, heuchera, grasses, ferns, more hydrangea serratas & macrophyllas and metal insects with a few antique gnomes.
Sold Out Ticket Sales at Kissam
1.  The Plant Collectors Garden
2.  Manatee Bay - A Garden Legacy
3.  The Hillside Hacienda
4.  A Country Home Garden
5.  The Memorial Garden
6.  A Perennial Paradise