Five great gardens in Westchester and Putnam will be open to the public on Sunday, April 26 as part of the official launch of the Garden Conservancy’s 2009 Open Days Program.
In previous years, just one or two private gardens in the Lower Hudson Valley were open in April, so this is a real treat for gardeners and gardening wannabes who like to poke around in other people’s garden beds — just for the sheer beauty of it all and to gather ideas for designs and plants that might work well at home.
The Open Days program allows the public to see some of the country’s best private gardens, most of which are open for just one day from April through November.
More than 300 gardens in 23 states are participating this year. Nearly 25 percent of these gardens include edible gardens, so it’s a good way to learn about vegetable gardening, too.
This year, 25 gardens in Westchester and two in Putnam are part of the Open Days Program, including many old favorites such as Judy and Michael Steinhardt’s 55-acre estate in Bedford, May 3 and Nov. 1; Phillis Warden’s great garden in Bedford Hills, May 9, June 14 and July 19; and Henriette Suhr’s Rocky Hills in Chappaqua, May 3 and May 23.
One notable newcomer this year is the Briarcliff Manor garden of Carol and John Mickel.
(Steve Schmitt photos)
John, the retired curator of ferns at the New York Botanical Garden, is a world-renowned fern expert. Their garden includes 140 kinds of ferns, including native, European, Japanese, Chinese and Mexican varieties, as well as a two-level pond and rock garden that front a Japanese-style teahouse. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 6.
Here’s a look at the five gardens that will be open April 26:
• Eastward (28 Reynwood Drive, Brewster, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) — The organic gardens that surround a horse boarding and training facility include long borders, each with its own color scheme.
• Cobamong Pond (15 Middle Patent Road, Armonk, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) — A 12-acre woodland garden surrounds the 12-acre Cobamong Pond; look for hundreds of flowering shrubs and thousands of daffodils.
• Forest Court — Garden of Joanna Friedman (5 Forest Court, Larchmont, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) — This 1-acre woodland refuge sits right in an old suburban neighborhood. It’s known for its spring ephemerals, including an extensive collection of epimediums that was recently featured in Martha Stewart Living.
(Carucha Meuse photos)
• The White Garden (199 Elmwood Road, Lewisboro, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) — Look for hundreds of thousands of daffodils in an exquisite garden and 45-acre woodland setting.
• Stonecrop Gardens (81 Stonecrop Lane, Cold Spring, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) — The home of Frank and Anne Cabot is now a public garden and horticultural center.
You can start at any one of these gardens and then make your way to the others.
Admission is $5 per garden, children under 12 free. Open Days are rain or shine, and no reservations are required.
Other Open Days in Westchester will be held May 3 in Chappaqua and Bedford; May 9 in Bedford and Bedford Hills; May 17 in Bedford; May 23 in Chappaqua; May 31 in Armonk; June 6 in Briarcliff Manor; June 7 in Bedford, Katonah and North Salem; June 14 in Bedford Hills and Tarrytown; July 19 in Bedford Hills, Bronxville, Cortlandt Manor and Scarsdale; Sept. 3 in Lewisboro, North Salem and Waccabuc; and Nov. 1 in Bedford.
There are also open gardens farther up the Hudson Valley as well as in Connecticut and Massachusetts on various weekends all summer. Combine a few together and you’ve got a great day trip.
All of the gardens are featured in the 2009 Open Days Directory, a $21.95 soft-cover book with detailed driving directions and owner-written descriptions.
Visit opendaysprogram.org or call the Garden Conservancy at 888-842-2442 to order with a Visa or MasterCard, or send a check or money order to the Garden Conservancy, P.O. Box 219, Cold Spring, NY 10516. Discount admission tickets are available through advanced mail order.
Garden designers Penelope Maynard of Bedford and Page Dickey of North Salem launched the Open Days Program in 1995, modeling it after the popular “Yellow Book” program in Great Britain.
The $5 admission fee benefits the Garden Conservancy’s national preservation programs.
For a full schedule, visit opendaysprogram.org or call the Garden Conservancy weekdays at 888-842-2442.