The Garden Conservancy Presents Private Garden Tour and Digging Deeper Event with Ellen Petersen in Dutchess County on July 27

The Garden Conservancy Presents Private Garden Tour and Digging Deeper Event with Ellen Petersen in Dutchess County on July 27

GARRISON, NY: On Saturday, July 27, visit two private gardens in Millerton and Stanfordville, plus the public Innisfree Garden in Millbrook, open to the public through the Garden Conservancy Open Days program, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $10 per private garden, $8 at Innisfree, and children 12 and under are free. Call 1-888-842-2442, or visit for more information. An additional Digging Deeper program takes place at 2 p.m., “The Evolution of a Gardener,” with Ellen Petersen in Stanfordville. Pre-registration is required for the Digging Deeper program, and additional fees apply. Additional Dutchess County Open Days take place on the following dates: September 21 in Millbrook and Millerton; and October 12 in Pawling.

Activities on July 27 include:

  • Garden of Ellen & Eric Petersen, 38 Conklin Hill Road, Stanfordville – The Petersens have been gardening here for over 25 years but instead of slowing down, they continue to make small changes, refining the design, renovating older plantings, and beginning new areas. One goal is to have interest every month of the year. High summer is the start of the dahlias and phlox and other perennials. A carefully assembled collection of plants includes more natives every year, such as native cultivars like Liquidambar ‘Slender Silhouette’. A meadow of Sporobolus heterolepsis (prairie dropseed) frames “Windblown Couch,” a sculpture by Vivian Beer. Robert Murray’s sculpture “Willow” is next to the pond and “Portal” by Carla Edwards will entice you to take the path up a little hill. While this is definitely not a a low-maintenance garden, they rarely water anything after the second year and fertilize only container plants. Compost suppresses weeds and feeds the soil without making it too rich. Consequently, in spite of all the very tall perennials, they need to do very little staking. The garden was included in Jane Garmey’s book Private Gardens of the Hudson Valley.
  • Hyland/Wente Garden, 95 Taylor Road, Millerton – The property consists of a modern barn-like structure located on rolling farmland overlooking Indian Mountain and Indian Lake. The house has eight doors leading to a series of distinct gardens, intentionally blurring house and gardens. Emphasizing grasses, textures, colors, and plant combinations, the gardens blend with surrounding wildflower meadows and are designed for interest in all seasons. There is a rill with bamboo, a secret garden, a pool garden, a garden of solar panels, and a wooded walk down to Indian Lake.
  • Innisfree Garden, 362 Tyrrel Road, Millbrook – Recognized as one of the “world’s ten best gardens,” Innisfree is a powerful icon of mid-twentieth century design. Over fifty years in the making, it is the work of landscape architect Lester Collins, FASLA (1914 – 1993), with important contributions by his clients, artist and teacher Walter Beck and gardener and heiress Marion Burt Beck. Innisfree merges the essence of Modernist ideas with traditional Chinese and Japanese garden design principles in a form that evolved through subtle handling of the landscape and slow manipulation of its ecology. The result is a distinctly American stroll garden — a sublime composition of rock, water, wood, and sky achieved with remarkable economy and grace.
  • A separate event, “The Evolution of a Gardener,” with Ellen Petersen takes place from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the garden of Ellen & Eric Petersen in Stanfordville. Tickets are $30 for Garden Conservancy members, $40 for nonmembers. Preregistration is required, and the $10 Open Days admission to this garden is included in the ticket price. Ellen Petersen’s garden began as a hobby and developed quickly into a necessity. “I did everything myself at first and made lots of mistakes. Some haven’t turned out all that badly and all have taught me something.” She believes that keeping your eyes and mind open leads to wondrous results, so the group will discuss where Ellen found some of her favorite design ideas. This serious plantswoman will explain how she creates unity and serenity while still having “one of everything.” The extraordinary stories of her plants document her evolving interests. Ellen serves on boards and committees for the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the Delaware Center for Horticulture, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, and the Garden Club of America.

All Open Days gardens are featured in the 2019 Open Days Directory; a soft-cover book that includes detailed driving directions and vivid garden descriptions written by their owners, plus a complementary ticket for admission to one private garden. The directory includes garden listings in fourteen states and costs $25.00 including shipping. Visit or call the Garden Conservancy toll-free at 1-888-842-2442 to order with a Visa, MasterCard or American Express, or send a check or money order to: the Garden Conservancy, P.O. Box 608, Garrison, NY 10524. Discount admission tickets are available as well through advanced mail order.

The Garden Conservancy is a national nonprofit dedicated to saving and sharing outstanding American gardens. Since 1995, the Garden Conservancy’s award-winning Open Days has welcomed more than one million visitors into thousands of inspired private landscapes – from urban rooftops to organic farms, historic estates to innovative suburban lots – in forty-one states. Digging Deeper – site-specific Open Days special programs – invite participants to take a closer look at the garden world. Hundreds of volunteers help this robust annual program showcase regional horticultural and stylistic expressions in a national context, celebrating the rich diversity of American gardens.


Author: Harlem Valley News