Summer Fun in Westchester: Local Gardens
Olana photo by Carri Manchesterr, Courtesy of Olana State Historic Site
Sure, we all know about (and love!) the PepsiCo sculpture garden, the grounds at Caramoor, and the Wildflower Island at Teatown. Here are a few notable public gardens that may not be on your radar—but are definitely worth a trip.
Hudson River School artist Frederic Edwin Church’s 250-acre estate, Olana, in Hudson, New York, (olana.org) is one of the few remaining artist-designed landscape gardens in the world. One highlight is the 165-foot-long, 20-foot-wide flower garden that curves along the stonewall leading up to the house.
Innisfree Garden in Millbrook (innisfreegarden.org) comprises “cup gardens,” a Chinese design concept that creates a series of garden vignettes tucked throughout the 150-acre property, allowing visitors to stroll from one scene to the next amid meadows, streams, and waterfalls.
Author Edith Wharton’s Berkshire estate, The Mount, in Lenox, Massachusetts, (edithwharton.org) has three acres of gardens including an Italianate walled garden (which she paid for with the proceeds of her first bestseller, The House of Mirth); a French-style formal flower garden surrounding a pool with fountain; grass terraces; a lime walk of linden trees; and a woodland walk.
Steepletop in Austerlitz, New York, (millay.org) is Edna St. Vincent Millay’s former estate with walled rose gardens, wildflower and rock gardens, and a spring-fed swimming pool. A poetry trail leads to the family gravesites.
The Climbery in Livingston, New York, is the largest private clematis garden in the world with nearly 6000 vines, along with specimen trees, peonies, irises, lilies, English rose gardens, and lotus ponds. Be aware, though: Viewing is by appointment only.
Stonecrop Gardens in Cold Spring, New York, (stonecrop.org) features 12 acres of rock, woodland, and water gardens, along with an enclosed English-style flower garden, an extensive collection of dwarf bulbs, and an exquisite conservatory.