Tag Archive | "gardens"

Landscape Pleasures Offers an Insider’s Look at Southampton’s Ever-Changing Gardens

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The garden of Margaret and R. Peter Sullivan is one of the homes featured on the Parrish Art Museum's Landscape Pleasures garden tour this Sunday, June 8. Photo by Doug Young.

The garden of Margaret and R. Peter Sullivan is one of the homes featured on the Parrish Art Museum’s Landscape Pleasures garden tour this Sunday, June 8. Photo by Doug Young.

By Tessa Raebeck

Like a piece of artwork or a writer’s manuscript, a garden is never truly finished. As with all art, gardens can always evolve, changing with the seasons and naturally growing out of plans and designs, developing over time in a never-ending evolution.

Gardening is the art of the Earth, providing the willing and creative with another means of finding beauty in the mundane.

“All I know is, I don’t paint with a trowel or garden with a brush,” the late Robert Dash said in a video by P. Allen Smith Classics filmed in 2011, two years before his death, when asked about the connection between gardening and painting.

“They inform one another in ways that are very mysterious. It’s how the trowel is wielded or how the brush is wielded that informs the canvas or the Earth and there are no rules. And the only way you know how to do something in either of those arts is by doing it,” he added.

Mr. Dash, an artist, writer and gardener who died in September at age 82, “believed very much in gardens taking their time and developing over a period of time,” said Jack deLashmet, co-chair of Landscape Pleasures, which will honor Mr. Dash this year.

Hosted by the Parrish Art Museum, Landscape Pleasures includes three lectures by gardening and landscape design experts on Saturday, June 7, followed by a day of tours of some of Southampton’s most historic and remarkable gardens on Sunday, June 8.

The 2-acre Sagaponack garden of Mr. Dash, the Madoo Conservancy, which is open to the public, is included among the private estates on Sunday’s tour.

Established in 1967, the internationally known organic garden is a testament to Mr. Dash’s belief in the ever-evolving landscape. The grounds offer a tour across history, featuring Tudor, High Renaissance, early Greek, English, French and Asian influences.

Mr. Dash’s horticultural wisdom—and his commitment to the garden as a canvas that is ever changing and organic—will be celebrated and expanded on this weekend.

“We’ve always had excellent speakers,” said Mr. deLashmet of the annual garden tours, who believes this year’s Landscape Pleasures is the best yet. “The theme is the never finished garden, that gardens really evolve—and everybody will have a slight take on that,”

On Saturday, southern landscape design architect Paul Faulkner “Chip” Callaway, “an absolutely entertaining speaker,” according to Mr. deLashmet, will present, reflecting on his experience creating nearly 1,000 gardens, concentrating on period restoration work and designing historically relevant gardens.

Following Mr. Callaway, Martin Filler, the architecture critic for The New York Review of Books, and renowned for his more than 1,000 articles, essays and books on modern architecture,  will celebrate the contributions of Rachel “Bunny” Mellon, the Listerine fortune heiress who was a patron of the arts with a dedicated interest in gardening, landscape design and the history of gardens.

A friend and confidante of Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Ms. Mellon redesigned the White House Rose Garden. She died in March at the age of 103.

One of the world’s premiere garden designers, Arne Maynard, is the final speaker Saturday. Known for his large country gardens in Great Britain, the United States and across Europe, Mr. Maynard has the special “ability to identify and draw out the essence of a place, something that gives his gardens a particular quality of harmony,” according to the Parrish website.

Continuing the celebration of the changing nature of gardens, the self-guided tour Sunday features properties with rich histories behind them.

The garden of Perri Peltz and Eric Ruttenberg, an 1892 property originally called “Claverack,” is rarely open to the public.

Although it has evolved, the owners are always mindful of their home’s deep history; the original outhouses, bucolic buildings housing poultry, dairy and the stables, were, in a move that is sadly rare on the East End, married together and allowed to remain.

Designer Tory Burch will open up her home, a 1929 red brick Georgian House and 10-acre garden known as Westerly that is one of Southampton’s grandest estates.

“A great story about both restoring and finding old plants,” according to Mr. deLashmet,  Bernard and Joan Carl, the owners an 8-acre estate called “Little Orchard,” restored original plantings while also bringing in new gardens.

“We did not want to be beholden to the past just for the past’s sake,” Ms. Carl told the Parrish.

The garden of Margaret and R. Peter Sullivan is an American style garden flanked by a new Palladian villa. The landscape offers a modern interpretation on standard ideas of gardening, with fruits and vegetables, an herb garden, and a vase decorated with poetry made by Mr. Dash.

As the late Mr. Dash once said, “Gardening is very much like setting a table—and if you can set a good dinner table, you can be a good gardener.”

A two-day event, Landscape Pleasures begins Saturday, June 7, at 8:30 a.m. at the Parrish Art Museum, 279 Montauk Highway in Water Mill. For a full calendar and more information, call (631) 283-2118 or visit parrishart.org.

Gardens as Art

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By Marianne Levine

This Saturday, August 23 marks the fifth annual Guild Hall “The Garden as Art” Tour. An East End tradition that started with Guild member Alexandra Munroe’s suggestion that a gardening tour might be a creative way to fundraise for Guild Hall’s many educational and community programs. It’s executive director, Ruth Appelhof, welcomed the idea so enthusiastically that it swiftly led to a mid-winter scouting trip with two interested Guild Hall members. 

“Carol Mercer and Erika Shank met with me in the depths of winter. We pulled on our snow boots and basically looked around at some gardens,” Appelhof recalls fondly. She stresses that “The Garden as Art” tour has always been a collaborative undertaking. That chilly peek into a few iced-over back yards five years ago germinated into an event that currently includes seven lush summer gardens and additional admission to the spectacular gardens of the LongHouse Reserve and Madoo.

This year’s “The Garden as Art” tour commences with a special cocktail party and additional garden viewing at the home of Dina Merrill and Ted Hartley on the Friday, August 22, and proceeds the next morning with a breakfast at The Maidstone Club prior to the actual garden tour. This year’s tour looks at the gardens from a historic perspective.  From the beginning “The Garden as Art” organizing committee decided that each year should have an underlying and unifying theme. This year’s lecture, given by New York Times writer and garden historian, Mac Griswold, of Sag Harbor, places the gardens on tour within the context of gardening design and its history on Long Island. This is the first year that the lecture will focus specifically on the seven gardens on view. Appelhof credits Griswold’s involvement as an exciting component of this year’s discussion as “she is able to look at a garden and relate it to famous gardens from the past and to gardens from here and around the world.” 

“The Garden as Art” tour has developed and changed with each year. The first year’s tour focused on the gardens of local artists. The freshman committee selected five gardens that had artworks on display or had the artists’ studios open out into the garden, but the committee, which quickly turned into a group of 12 garden enthusiasts, realized early on that they needn’t limit themselves to these gardens since the gardens themselves were works of art. Appelhof points out, “like architecture, gardening is a creative art, but in gardening there’s an uncontrollable natural element which always creates infinite intensities and wonderful transformations.”

This is especially true on the eastern end of Long Island. Appelhof notes, “What’s so unbelievable is the richness and variety of the gardens we show on the tours. The climate here does lend itself to beautiful gardening, but we also have gardeners and designers of great taste and with the means to develop that taste.”  Because there are so many gorgeous gardens to choose from, the tour has offered new ones to view each year.   Appelhof declares “we really owe it to the people on our tour to showcase new gardens annually, because we have quite a loyal following.” The gardening committee also endeavors to keep the gardens close to Guild Hall so that it is more convenient to drive between them and gives participants a chance to linger and enjoy the gardens, most of which have never been on public display.

“Our committee members know so many people in the community who love gardens and gardening and who talk about them all the time that it was easy to find gardens for the tour,” Appelhof states, and adds, “in the end it is really the community out here that comes together and supports us in this project which in the end helps us to fund our educational and community programs.”

For those who want to add yet another garden to the already hefty array of horticulture, there’s a special benefactor’s luncheon after the Maidstone Club lecture at the home of Guild Hall Board of Trustees members, Cheryl and Michael Minikes. Appelhoff cannot find enough positive words to say about their magnificent grounds, “There are just acres and acres of flowers. It’s just breath-taking. You almost need a guide. You could actually get lost in this garden.  It just goes on and on.”  

In the end the Guild Hall’s executive director admits planning “The Garden as Art” tour has been a personal pleasure, not only because the gardens are so beautiful, but also because the organizing committee has been so enjoyable.

“We’re all such good friends now. We get together socially even when we don’t have the committee meetings, which take place once a month, and it’s so wonderful because we’re all such different people who really come from such different walks of life, but we really enjoy each other’s company.”  And Ruth Appelhof is certain others will enjoy the fruits of their labor. For tickets and more information about “The Garden as Art” tour contact Danielle Zahm at 631-324-0806.