14th Annual Garden Tour 2014, July 5, 2015
1. The Patchogue Garden Club’s Village Community Garden at the corner of Terry Street and South Ocean Avenue in Patchogue Village.
2. Eva & Bryan Greguski – 64 Amity Street, Patchogue Village
Almost eight years ago we found this old home, built by the famous local shipbuilder Gil Smith, with a burned-out barn in the backyard and a dying oak tree in the front. Our family thought we were crazy, but we named our home “The Brambles” because it was covered in invasive plants, thorny shrubs and weedy maple trees. Sometimes it takes crazy people to take on a challenge.
We started in the rear and tackled the barn first. Down it came and up went a new one, although it was dead-center on the property. A flat yard with a large red building in the middle isn’t very attractive, so we divided the space into rooms. We have a “kitchen,” a large organic vegetable and herb garden that feeds us, extended family and friends. Our “dining room” features a patio we laid with repurposed antique brick (including many dug up from the property). Our “den” is a round firepit and patio, placed in an area underneath a black walnut tree that provides beautiful shade but doesn’t allow many plants to grow beneath it. Providing vistas in spaces that are seemingly small but make up a comprehensive whole is probably our greatest challenge in this garden.
Three years ago that old oak tree fell on our front porch, and once again we turned a tragedy into an opportunity. Once the dust settled and the branches were carried off, we were finally able to realize our dream of a front cottage garden. This is a work in progress, and each year we add new varieties to the garden. Since this is a 19th century home, we try to feature plants and varieties contemporary to the home. We also mix flowers, herbs and vegetables together, so you might just see some eatables among the ornamentals!
Every year has had a challenge and this one was no different. The salty winds from Superstorm Sandy 18 months ago acted as a desiccant; this frightfully cold winter finished off some of the weakened shrubs and plants. The late spring and summer means we’re behind this season, but who isn’t? “The Brambles” is a work in progress, as it has been for the last 130 years and will hopefully continue to be for the next century or more.
3. McAvoy Garden – 59 Mulford Street, Patchogue Village
Our gardens began when I was in high school and worked at the Bloomin’ Haus nursery in Holtsville. I always gardened with my mother and grandparents and while working there I sucked up every bit of knowledge I could about growing, propagating, rescuing, and garden planning. I would bring home the sad rejected plants that people returned (almost always because they failed to water them… and they thought I couldn’t tell!) and nursed them back to health. When my parents sold their house, I lovingly moved the plants to my grandparent’s home.
When we moved into our home in 2003 the front yard consisted of two old yews, and an evergreen, and the backyard was a continuation of the driveway; all rocks. I envisioned the front yard being one large butterfly garden. Over the years I propagated and split from the many plants at my grandparent’s home, and kept expanding one square foot at a time. My sister was a garden specialist at a retailer and would send me text messages like “u want weigela – $1 come now” and I continued to fill my garden with sad rejects in need of love. As my grandmother began to age, she became possessive and would not let me split or take a thing! When it was time to sell their home in 2012, my sister and I would sneak over while she was at the doctors and would snatch whatever we could! Unfortunately, salty wind driven air of Sandy did a number on most of the fresh transplants and we lost a variety of daylilies, irises, and oriental lilies that we moved from her home that year. As we prepare to say goodbye to Mulford St., I have passed on splittings to friends and family knowing they will continue to be nurtured and loved.
4. Franco Garden – Bailey Avenue, Patchogue Village
When I purchased my house in 1974, there were no gardens, just lawn, some foundation plantings, a few maple trees and two towering fir trees in the back yard. The garden has gone through many changes through the decades. The one thing you can count on in gardening is change! The ones you instigate, and the ones Mother Nature has in store for you! The one common thread in my garden throughout the years is less lawn – more gardens!
I like to have four-season interest – even in the dead of winter I have flowers blooming, evergreens and plants with interesting bark or buds. As you meander through the paths in my front yard take notice of:
• Picea pungens – (Foxtail spruce) greets you near the front of the driveway, you’ll know it by the blue-green needles and interesting twisted branches.
• Magnolia stellata – Wonderful leathery leaves in summer, turning bronze in the fall. During the winter the flower buds give the appearance of pussy willows. The fragrant flowers, which cover the tree from top to bottom, open early; before the leaves.
• Sciadopitys verticillata (Japanese umbrella pine) – Light green evergreen with red-brown bark that peels in ribbons. The needles are arranged in whorls resembling the spines of an umbrella.
• Osmanthus heterophyllus (False holly) – evergreen shrub with holly-like leaves and tiny fragrant tubular flowers
• Philadelphus coronaries (Sweet mock orange) – Deciduous shrub that bears very fragrant white flowers.
As you walk down the path to my back yard take notice of the shade garden next to the walkway by the house. For many years I have planted a flat of impatiens along that walk. The only decision every year was what color to plant. When they all prematurely died two summers ago, due to the outbreak of downy mildew, I wondered; what will I do now? Well, as you can see, there are many wonderful shade loving plants to take their place; hostas of many varieties and colors, astilbe, aquilegia (columbine), hellebores, and tricyrtis (toad lily) to name a few!
When I originally had my garden on display for the 2007 tour, the attributes I looked for in purchasing new plants were; fragrance, visual appeal, unusual characteristics, wildlife appeal and more than one season interest. I have moved now towards also including more edible plants in my landscape, (More food for the wildlife most likely!) You’ll notice I’ve taken over some of the back lawn with a raised block veggie garden. I plan on growing tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, Swiss chard and herbs, including basil, oregano, sage and others. As I write this, I have seeds starting to sprout on my windowsill holding the promise of tasty veggies to come. I also grow perennial veggies; asparagus, rhubarb and Egyptian walking onions. These require little care but provide me with an abundance of seasonal veggies. The first asparagus of spring never even make it into the house as I can’t resist tasting them as soon as I pick them! I have also planted plum, cherry and hazelnut trees. These are ornamental as well as practical as they are quite charming in flower and later in the season, I can have organic produce growing right in my own yard! The fenced-in area is my raspberry garden. I have two cultivars; red and black. I also have blackberries that ripen after the raspberries are finished. I love to work in the garden and forage for snacks as I go!
In my backyard, you’ll notice a river birch. I love the peeling beige/brown bark! In the fire pit garden is a climbing vine that flowers with fragrant yellow trumpet blossoms – a Carolina jasmine (Gelsemium sempervirens). There are also many crape-myrtles; I grow these for their flowers as well as interesting bark coloration. Notice also the hinoki cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa tetragona aurea) a recent acquisition that I purchased for the interesting yellow/green evergreen coloration.
I have several vines climbing on the pergola over the patio, the one that is most notable is the akebia; a vigorous fast-growing vine with tiny fragrant flowers in early spring. Interesting seed pods are borne in the fall.
Thank you for visiting my gardens today. I hope you have seen something that you have found interesting or has inspired you.
For those of you who were on the Christmas House Tour you will remember the Art Moderne design of our homebuilt in 1947. Streamline Moderne or Art Moderne emphasizes curving forms, long horizontal lines and some nautical elements. Our home features corner windows, glass block walls, a porthole window, exterior white stucco walls, and black horizontal lines of the capping on the flat roofs. As you walk around the outside of the house notice how the vertical and horizontal lines meet up.
10 years ago we purchased our home from a member of the family who built it, and it was in original condition, for the first 8 year we updated the inside, and then we turned our focus to the outside. In the front, notice the original walkway way that leads up to the front door. When we purchased it you could barely see the front of the home, we cleared all but the Burning Bush and the beautiful Japanese Maple. We then replaced the fence around the yard, moving it to just behind the corner windows to increase the size of the backyard, and finally we poured a new curved front step, driveway, and walk way to the back patio.
Last year in order to break up the large white walls on the front of the house, we commissioned the black trellises to be made so our plantings could rise high above the beds. Our garden beds are free form to soften the angles of the house. The plantings you see now are just a year old and we planted Boxwood that will hopefully grow to follow the curve of the step. Rhododendron to anchor both sides, a Pom Pom Juniper and Sky Pencil Holly for shape interest, grasses for texture and golden bushes for more color and some annuals to complete the front.
As you walk down the driveway, you will see another big white wall; we are thinking of having more trellises or possibly planting Espalier Fruit trees. Having the tree follow wires vertical along the wall will add such interest to the space. Your suggestions are welcome. The original landscape plans for the home had many rose bushes, all from an upstate growers and sadly none survived, but we hope to research and add a few fragrant varieties by the windows.
The backyard was so overgrown that we could not see our neighbors and the sun did not see our yard. We slowly removed a row of old scruffy cedars along the north and east side, and then sadly a 90’ Maple had to come down that was located in the center of the yard. Our neighbors called and told us the whole neighborhood seemed brighter. Please take a moment to look at the photos on the patio of how the yard looked when we moved in, and you will see that although we are just beginning in our efforts, we have come a long way.
The center garden has been there since we moved in, the small fish pond, and garden angel were from the previous owners. We just keep adding to it and experimenting with plants in this area. During the house renovations this was our favorite place to sit. Last year we had the final tree trimming session to elevate our more established trees, then we planted some Evergreens and Laurels. Our raised vegetable beds with the fig tree in the center is this year’s addition. Next year we are thinking of adding of grape arbors, fire pit and screened gazebo.
Since our gardens are in their infancy, we thought we would invite some artist friends to share their talents. We so enjoy gardening, not only is it something we can enjoy together, we believe it is nature’s art. Enjoy the tour, thanks to all the hardworking club volunteers, so glad to be a member and grateful to be able to learn from all of you.
“Gardening is the art that uses flowers and plants as paint and the soil and sky as canvas” – Elizabeth Murray
– Kelleen and Karl
6. R. Waldman Residence – 16 Glenwood Street, East Patchogue
I was reminded recently that is has been twenty years (!?!) since I moved from a studio co-op apartment in Forest Hills, Queens where I grew African violets on a window sill to the wilds of East Patchogue. At that time, so long ago (before the one story addition that was put on about ten years ago), the landscaping consisted of a sandy patch of a driveway, a concrete center walk from the front door to the street and slight tufts of grass throughout. With time, money and energy I have been in the process of transforming this suburban garden, a continuous work in progress.
The standard suburban front lawn is of no use to me as I refuse to throw down chemicals in an attempt to maintain green grass in a shady sandy location (just last month the town removed a large street tree that will now change the sun / shade environment). Installed after a storm that added 4 ft of water to my basement, a heavy duty triple sump pump system now seems to drain the Great South Bay into the trough I dug heading to the street (future plans will include water loving plantings along this ‘river bed’). Flowering shrubs and perennials exist along with a mix of annuals in concrete and ironstone pottery.
My back yard consists of a patio and perimeter plantings. A focal point installed in late 2011 is my NYC marathon banner. I ran this race for the Alzheimer’s Association but was felled at mile 20.25 due to a heart attack. The Bronx banner holds much significance for me as this was the only borough I did not get to and also was where I was born. (I am currently in training once again for the Alz. Assn. for this year’s race).
Throughout my garden there is a wide variety of trees, shrubs, perennials and ground covers. Heritage River Birch, viburnums, azaleas, spireas, boxwood, euonymus, hydrangeas make up the ‘bones’ of the garden. The growing list of perennials include hostas, geraniums, coreopsis, heuchera, ferns, lily of the valley, penstemon, hackonechloa, epimedium, astilbe, liriope, nepeta, peony, sedum, salvia and tiarella (and anything else that looks interesting on my stops at local nurseries).
Thank you for coming by. Enjoy.
Two years ago when we moved into 330 Private Road the yard was full of ivy, cypress trees, and onion weeds and hews. We began with clearing the very first weekend and had 17 trees removed right away. During the cleanup, we found Monks Head flowers, Anemone, Day Lilies, and Peony and lifted them to use later throughout the new garden. In addition, I had split many of my plants from my previous residence to bring to the new house which included Hydrangeas, Pink Loosestrife, Astilbe, and several perennials. Also, my brother was selling his house and I went over to hijack more plants which include but not limited to white Astilbe, White Peony, Yellow Tick Weed.
This spring, I have split a lot of the plants and have tried to move them to create a more uniformed flow of color. Adding this spring are Phlox that I have started from bare roots. Also, I did clear an area by the patio to plant a more natural garden.
Please enjoy the view. I will be here all day if you have any questions.