The Garden Conservancy’s Open Days Program Features Eight Dutchess County Gardens

Chirstopher Spitzmiller's Clove Brook Farm

July 20, 2015

Saturday July 25th, eight exceptional gardens will be open to the public in Millbrook, Salt Point, and Amenia to Benefit Innisfree Garden.

Clove Brook Farm (857 North Clove Road, Millbrook) was rescued nine years ago by acclaimed potter Christopher Spitzmiller. A formal horseshoe shaped garden installed in 2014 is filled with a profusion of plants including white ‘Phantom’ hydrangeas, topiaries, Japanese willow, and choice magnolias. Spitzmiller will be on hand to to talk to visitors about the evolving development of the estate.

Katie Ridder and Peter Pennoyer (366 Ludlow Woods Road, Millbrook) This remarkable garden installed only two years ago is surprisingly mature.. A hornbeam-enclosed flower garden with formal bluestone paths is filled with a profusion of perennials and annuals. Like many passionate gardeners Ridder, a professional interior designer, does much of the work herself including starting many of the plants from seeds and cuttings in her greenhouse. A woodland garden leading to a pond is currently a work in progress. The house was designed Ridder’s husband, architect Peter Pennoyer. 

1053 Katie Ridder in her garden with the notebook she keeps full of note and ideas - photo by Carola Lott

Ely Garden (28 Allen Road, Salt Point) Betsey Ely’s garden has evolved over the years on rolling terrain within a classic nineteenth-century arrangement of house, barn, meadows, and woods. A long peony border leads from the house to a five-acre pond surrounded by native and invasive plants. Between the house and barn large deep flower beds are bordered by a pergola on one side and an Italianate upper garden on the other. Ely enjoys talking to visitors on Open Days. She says, “Someone always tells me something I didn’t know about my own garden,” which she describes as “ungovernable and lovable.”

1054 The Ely gardening Salt Point

Belinda & Stephen Kaye (658 Deep Hollow Road, Millbrook) This charming cottage garden filled with ornamental vegetables, herbs and perennials is designed around a lily pool with a resident frog and a Carpenter Gothic-style potting shed. Off the terrace on the other side of the house, a fountain by Lyndon Preston is surrounded by ferns and golden-leaved hosta. Naturalized plantings create a screen from the roadway. A small rock garden is a recent addition.

Jade Hill – Paul Arcario & Don Walker (13 Lake Amenia Road, Amenia) From a rock strewn hillside Jade Hill has grown into a stroll garden with Japanese maples, conifers, and a bamboo grove that were among the first plantings. Along the drive, golden barberries and purple smoke trees flank a long bed filled with roses, peonies, Siberian iris, phlox and other perennials. A hand-dug pool contains goldfish and lotus. 

Mead Farm House Garden (224 Perry’s Corners Road, Amenia) On the site of a 250-year-old farmyard, rocky outcroppings and the stone foundations of long-forgotten outbuildings serve as visual anchors to perennial beds. The base of an old silo overlooks a small pond. Additional features include a bog garden and tree specimens. The design is intended to suggest that the gardens sprung from the earth and developed naturally over time. 

Wethersfield (214 Pugsley Hill Road, Amenia) Ten acres of formal gardens surround Chauncey D. Stillman’s Georgian-style brick house. The original garden around the perimeter of the house was created in 1940 by Bryan J. Lynch. Starting in 1952, Evelyn N. Poehler designed and maintained  formal and wilderness gardens in which trimmed hedges, sculpture, and water features blend seamlessly with the natural landscape and the spectacular views. 

Innisfree (362 Tyrrel Road) Over 50 years in the making, Innisfree is largely the work of landscape architect Lester Collins, with important contributions by his clients, artist and teacher Walter Beck and gardener and heiress Marion Burt Beck. Within a glacial landscape Innisfree merges modernist ideas with traditional Chinese and Japanese garden design principles. 185 acres surrounding a large lake form a magnificent composition of rock, water, wood and sky. Guided tours with Innisfree’s Landscape Curator, Kate Kerin, will be offered at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. 

Plants from specialty grower Broken Arrow Nursery will be available at a pop-up nursery for the day. 

Admission to each private garden is $7, benefitting Innisfree Garden and the Garden Conservancy. Gardens are open from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., with Innisfree opening at 5:00 am for special sunrise viewing.

As a non-profit public garden, Innisfree collects a separate admission fee. Special tour pricing is in place for Open Day: admission and guided tour, $15; members of Innisfree or the Garden Conservancy, $10. Garden and self-tour, $8; children 3 and under, free. In addition, all proceeds from Dutchess County gardens featured July 25th will be shared with Innisfree. Garden Conservancy tickets are not required for entrance.