July 9, 2011, 11th Annual Garden Tour Photos
The Patchogue Garden Club 11th Annual Garden Tour – Featuring Art in the Garden
“How fair is a garden amid the trials and passions of existence.” – Benjamin Disraeli
1. The Club Garden
2. The O’Reilly Garden
I bought this house and property 10 years ago. I was particularly drawn to the lake. It would give me privacy and a chance to watch the birds.
The property was pretty boring with nothing but grass. Overtime friends with a landscape business brought in stone, top soil and compost for the beds that I intended to plant.
Slowly I planted with an eye towards perennials. My decks hold many pots filled with colorful flowers. I divided grasses and replanted them around the yard.
Lakeside living has allowed me enjoy white and blue herons, various ducks and many birds. About 5 years ago, I put up a pole to encourage the osprey to nest. It hasn’t been successful so I intend to extend it higher. We are able to fish on the lake but no engines allowed.
I really have gotten the privacy and some peace and quiet here in Patchogue that I was looking for. Enjoy!
3. The Belzak Garden
It all started way back when, who wants to admit how long. When I was a kid my father received ?Best Yard? in the neighborhood. In those days, what did I care, I wanted to hang out with my friends, I hated plants. All I know is that we kids had to weed and pick the big horn tomato worm off the tomatoes. Even though I learned some things, I decided I am never going to have any plants! Little did I know I would become obsessed years later.
I started off with vegetables way back when. We now have raspberries, blueberries, grapes, asparagus, 3 in 1 pear tree, hardy kiwis and other annual vegetables. There is nothing like going out and picking your own lettuce, if the rabbits don’t get it, or tomatoes. If the box turtle doesn’t get the lower branched tomatoes or the birds don’t peck them. Years ago, I didn’t care about flowers or evergreens (boy what an idiot one can be!).
These days, we have many different varieties of plants, and trees. They include lots of Cool Day Lilies. We have many roses, love them, but hate those thorns. Every time I get stuck with them, I say that’s it, I’m getting rid of them, but I get over it after the bleeding stops and the swelling goes down. One day I looked around and thought I love evergreens and I need some!!! So I began picking some up over time. The evergreens I have include Weeping Norway, Weeping Atlas Cedar, Hinoki, Deodara, and Monkey Puzzle among others. Every birthday or Mother’s Day I would ask for a tree, don’t all mothers ask for that?!!! I also have all kinds of perennials but they’re more work than weeds! They’re constantly multiplying and spreading to the point that I have yard/plant sale each May. It keeps them under control and I can buy a new tree with the money. Don’t all moms buy trees with extra money!!
The gardens have changed over the years, we have garden rooms. One is a shade garden with some outrageous hosta, hellebores, epidemiums, ladybells, ferns, and many others.
We have a courtyard and other garden rooms.
I talked my husband into making a pond with a mosaic walk around it. We did it by hand and that was crazy of course, with him mixing the cement and me cracking anything and everything trying to get it in before it dried. Because we never learn, the following year we made stepping stones to match (but that was a bit easier). Around the pond there’s a waterfall, dwarf ginkgo, Chinese variegated dogwood, Hinoki, native fern, dwarf red maple, and some others. We have 2 other ponds, bird baths and water features around the yard. This makes for many birds and bugs everywhere. I try to be organic as much as possible. We also collect old tools which are placed throughout the yard.
I’m in the Dahlia Society as I have a couple hundred dahlias. Every dahlia has to be dug up and stored inside each year. (Also cannas and some other tubers and bulbs.) It’s a labor of love, at least that’s what they tell me. One might think. How is this possible for one to do this? Plus eat, sleep, work, and have some fun away from home. Believe it or not, it is possible. How you ask. If you don’t need a lot of sleep, can still bend down and walk and are fairly healthy and of course have a big strong husband who can lift, move and dig things that I can’t. That helps. It doesn’t hurt that he is good with his hands. He has built the arbors and other things around the yard.
One day while I was out weeding in the front yard, a woman stopped by to admire the yard. She asked if she could hire me, I said I didn’t do that. She left and I thought, why not? That was about 15 years ago and I have been getting paid to create and maintain gardens ever since. There are times when I’m out there trying to keep up with the weeding, watering and deadheading and I think to myself what am I doing out here every year? I say I am going to cut back (I did throw out 2 houseplants). As for our kids, they hate plants and think I am crazy. Crazy for plants. Who knows, maybe one day, they will be too!!!
4. The Rose Garden
In June 2004, we moved into our home. I never expected that i would love gardening. All my life I was busy with work, coaching and playing softball. When we first moved the east side of the property was not fenced in. The only pre existing garden was a short picket fence in the front of our house. The west side of the property was lined with white pine trees. My first garden started with the small picket fence. When I started I planted Montauk daises, moonbeam coreopsis and morning glory. As I spent more and more time tending to that garden I realized how much I loved it. This is when I realized more beds was needed to our property. Over the years we added a fence to create more of s private yard for our family. This fence allowed us to create many beds both inside and outside of the fence.
Throughout the yard there are garden beds that showcase plants that we chose for their unique qualities. I particularly love evergreens as a backbone to our gardens because of their beauty is unchanged by the seasons. You will find Leyland cypresses, blue spruces, holly, juniper, hinokii throughout the yard. Some of my favorite plants are the rose bushes, Russian sage and Japanese maples throughout the yard.
…We look forward to your visit and hope you enjoy the gardens.
5. The Geller Garden
Our parents thought we were insane when in 1966, we purchase our property in the middle of nowhere. The house had been built for himself by Mr. Ballone, a builder, and we bought it from the Vallinis, the second owners. Three days before the closing, our second child was born. Mr. Vallini kept the property beautifully manicured with rose bushes all around the pond. Within a few years, we had two more children, and we had to choose either to care for the children or care for the roses. We chose the children and the roses gradually disappeared.
The circular drive and driveway along the pond were handy for teaching the children to ride bikes: and in later years, for honing their driving skills.
The driveway-encircled garden is a work in progress and is where we use our home-made mulch. The fresh water pond is spring fed and was home to koi, eels, sunfish, and turtles. At one time, we tried to introduce fingerling trout into the pond, but they were eaten as fast as we poured them in. Turtles, Bubbles and Shelley and their offspring still live in the pond and there are still some fish. However, several years ago, we saw the arrival of Louisiana Herons that treat the pond as their private fish supplier. This year, another family of fish-eaters, Hooded Mergansers, also became frequent visitors. The white and gray herons that live with egrets across the creek, rarely visit out pond.
Canadian Geese often have nested on the island.
Our children and their friends, as well as our fisherman friends, were welcome to fish our pond as long as they practiced catch and release.
During birthday parties, our children and their guests had eel races in the pond. We tied balloons labeled with names to mini hot dogs with biodegradable twine.
Winters were celebrated ice skating on the frozen pond, with a hibachi on the island warming their cocoa and brownies. Summertime, toy boat races were held here.
We frequently take our morning coffee at the bistro table on the island.
Although we could swim in the pond, the water was always cold. By 1969, we realized we’d found paradise and never wanted to move, so we designed and built the pool.. At the same time, we raised the wall of the island by one cinder block and gunited the walls. We used the excavated soil from the pool to raise the level of the island.
For plantings, we consulted Mr. Miskowski, who took us to his nursery on South Country Road and let us pick from his prized Red Roses. We planted them in them in the pool area as well as in other places on the property.
From the balcony above the garage, we can sit and watch the wildlife and smell the beautiful aromas. We can pick and eat the cherry tomatoes climbing up the wall near the pool and the figs sneaking through the fence, growing from the ?Garden of Edyie.? Some of the plants here started as cuttings from friends and relatives.
South of the pond is another garden, named ?The Wedding Garden? because near here Pam, our older daughter, married Steve. In the garden are trees that were living table decorations purchased from the Arbor Day Foundation for the wedding. This garden also features beautiful plants that we carried back from our daughter Robin’s garden in Portland, Oregon. There, they are considered a nuisance growth that are hard to control except when visitors come from New York.
The soil in this area is exceptionally fertile. According to Ted Davies, (a Patchogue native and Man of the Year in 2004,) as a youngster, he planted Lima beans here. The soil was enriched with wood chips from the lumber mill that was across the way.
When we moved in, this area was covered with Forsythias, wild roses, and weeds which sheltered rabbits. A golden Mannikin now guards the garden and everything in it including the bathroom sink. A slate with ?36? incised into it was unearthed beneath a tree which blew down during hurricane Gloria. We think it may have been placed over the grave of a pet.
See if you can spot the tiles from our original fireplace hearth.
?Papa? Fig Tree is outside of the pool gate and started as a cutting from Edyie’s father’s Fig Tree in Howard Beach. Three of its off springs are happily thriving in other areas of the property. Others are producing lovely figs in Philadelphia, Portland, Oregon, and in Arlington, Texas, at the home of Mary and Mitch, our oldest son.
Our daughter Pam married Steve here on May 25, 2003. After the ceremony, their first meal, (traditionally alone,) was on the island. They also planned a ?Garden Walk,? with poetry hanging from trees and shrubs to share with their formally clad guests as they strolled through the property.
Starting six weeks before the wedding, Tommy Hake, tree surgeon, trimmed and lollypoped trees, and hung the baby swing and the wedding swing. Kenny, the gardener, removed the wall of barbed wire and wild roses and weeds that bordered South Country Road and, as suggested by the nursery, planted Arbor Vitae- probably not good advice as most of them did not survive. This was due to too much shade and winter road salt. We’ve been replacing them with Rhododendrons.
South of the pool is a hill that is perfect for sledding or traying.
There are grapes?ideal for wine or jelly?growing along the creek. Also growing there are blackberries. Hurricane Gloria knocked down four weeping willows. Some new ones are growing out of the fallen ones. They make perfect playhouses for our six grandchildren.
The pond slopes sprout Ferns, Lily of the Valley, Ivy, and Tiger Lilies.
There is an island in the middle of the creek that has the remnants of a fort built by our children when they were young. They used the Jon boat to get to the island for their picnic lunch.
We used to dock an out board in the creek. To get to the Bay, we poled or trolled to the area of the creek that had been dredged. This was behind the home of Dr. and Mrs Frank Sconzo Sr. This house was built by Frank Heinz who built this house for himself. He also was the builder of many other houses in South Country Shores. There, we could lower the main motor, and off we’d go.
Our son-in-law Steve is a sculptor and some of his works are on display on the property.
Most children who visit cry when they have to leave what our grandchildren call? Grandma and Grandpa’s park? We call it Paradise!
Edyie & Joe
6. The McGrath Garden
Saying Farewell to the Garden
After 22 years of gardening here in East Patchogue, we are planning a move upstate to be near my sons. The ?For Sale? sign is up, the house is cleaned, prepped and ready. Emotionally we are ready for a new life upstate while at the same time are sad about leaving. We have loved living in this house and garden and will miss Long Island, our family and all of our friends.
The garden is especially lovely this spring. I walk the garden each morning with the dog and check out what is new since the day before. It is with both joy and sadness that I view the garden that we have envisioned, planted, and nurtured over the last 22 years. Much has changed since the original plantings went in. Plants grew too well or died out. Our tastes changed and the lawn grew ever smaller. I have an intimate attachment to the garden and house. 22 years is a long time. I know each plant personally even the poison ivy that still lingers.
We know it is time to leave this garden and begin again upstate where we are planning on having a sunny garden again. We want to plant vegetables and herbs ? which we can’t do in the shady garden here. We also look forward to a smaller garden upstate – something that we can take care of with a bit less time and energy. No pond at the new garden. We are cutting back. It is time.
I understand that once the gardener leaves his/her garden, it will never be the same. Another gardener may purchase the property and change things as they see fit. It is also entirely possible that the new owners may not be gardeners at all and may cut down the trees, remove the gardens and have a green lawn. That happens increasingly in our neighborhood. The gardens have a finite life and we knew that from the beginning, but now that a move is coming up soon, it is harder to accept.
So, I say farewell to the garden each day as I walk the paths, continue to weed, and even design new areas. We want the garden to go out with a bang!
Additional Garden Tour Photos