Friday, July 31, 2015

Long Island Estates: The Vanderbilt Mansion, Museum and Gardens Centerport, New York

The Vanderbilt Estate and Gardens
There is so much of a historical past on Long Island and I have recently gained a deeper appreciation for the preserved mansions and gardens that exist on the island.  I have lived here all my life and have just encountered another estate, located in Centerport, Long Island, the Vanderbilt Estate and Gardens.   
Vanderbilt Grounds Entrance
 The Vanderbilt Mansion is one of the region's oldest estates dating back from the early 1900’s, and one of the few remaining Gold Coast mansions. William K. Vanderbilt bought the original 20 acre property in the summer of 1910 and commissioned the well-known New York City architectural firm of Warren & Wetmore to build him a summer home.  
Vanderbilt Estate
  Over the years Vanderbilt acquired more land thus expanding the property.  The estate consists of a 43 acre waterfront property with a 24-room Spanish-Revival mansion, known as Eagle’s Nest, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Vanderbilt Estate Gardens

The gardens on the estate consist of fountains, neatly manicured boxwood hedges and various blooming perennials and shrubs. The garden located in the back of the main mansion overlooks onto a view of the Northport Bay.  
Reflecting Pool

On the grounds reflecting pools and fountains are surrounded by blooming rose bushes.
Mansion Entrance
The mansion is museum-like in nature with rare and fine art along with century old furnishings from around the world.  The mansion hosts a display of William K. Vanderbilt II’s marine-life, natural history and artifact collections along with the new Charles and Helen Reichert Planetarium.  The architecture of this estate is amazing as seen here with these medieval looking gates and door knocker that embrace the entrance. 
Mansion Door Knocker
Various statues and stonework are also common around the estate and add an interesting touch.
Vanderbilt Estate Grounds
Along the walkway to the entrance are these decorative mosaics of inlaid stone.
Mosaic Tiles in Walkway
The courtyard of the mansion is seen below.
Mansion Courtyard
Concrete walls, tile roofing and wrought iron gates depict this Spanish-Revival style home.
Vanderbilt Estate Architecture and Courtyard 
Vanderbilt Mansion Bell Tower
The bell tower is presently undergoing restoration and at the very top is a large nest, possibly an eagle's nest, from which the nickname for the estate was derived.  
Eagle's Nest Vanderbilt Mansion
Courtyard Gardens
Courtyard Gardens
Vanderbilt Estate
Vanderbilt Estate Architecture and Gardens

Vanderbilt Estate Long Island
The combination of early 1900's architecture and manicured gardens make this estate a lovely place to visit.  Tours run hourly and the Planetarium is open for the viewing of regularly scheduled shows. 
Vanderbilt Mansion and Gardens, Centerport, Long Island

For more information visit Vanderbilt Mansion.
Author: Lee@A Guide To Northeastern Gardening, © Copyright 2015. All rights reserved


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day & Foliage Follow Up July 2015 - The Garden's Softer Side

July 2015 Garden
Welcome to my Long Island garden.  Many of you who frequent my gardens will know that the views are often very structured and manicured.  My gardens are indeed very thought out and planned but there is also a softer side, which is especially prominent during the later summer months. As a seasoned gardener I strive to extend the gardening season as long as possible.  To accomplish this I have added numerous plants over the years that are either earlier or later blooming in nature.  For this months' post I am looking through the lens to capture the "softer" side of the garden.  Come along and stroll with me. 
Lamp post Planting at end of Driveway
The weather has been perfect for a stroll in the garden. The month of July has been cooler than usual with temperatures in the upper 70's and low 80's, along with some passing rain showers to keep the gardens thriving. We will start our walk at the end of the driveway.  Here coreopsis, nepeta and dwarf fountain grasses are planted in mass for a more informal feel. In the backdrop is the multi-colored Echinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit', which I added last summer.  
Entering the backyard, we come to the deep fuchsia blooms of Astilbe 'Fanal' .  They are showing in the perennial border along with an array of other summer bloomers.  
Perennial Border:  In Bloom-Lamb's Ear, Astilbe, Echinacea, Daylily and  Salvia
Here is a wider view of the border with Lamb's Ear, Astilbe, Echinacea, Daylily and Salvia.
Astilbe 'Visions in Purple'
In the back shade garden Astilbe 'Visions' are in bloom for the month of July.
Astilbe 'Visions in Red'
These were added a few years ago and have now matured into large plants that supply the perfect color at this time of year.
Dwarf Fountain Grass, Nepeta and Coreopsis
Here is another glimpse of the Nepeta and Coreopsis combination which blooms throughout the entire summer and softens the landscape.
Echinacea 'Pow Wow'
The Echinacea have really taken off this year and are now pretty well established in the garden.  The bees and butterflies just love the colorful blooms and I am enjoying them too!
Echinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit'
Here is a welcomed bumble bee enjoying the new addition!
Hemerocallis (Daylily) 'Stella D Oro'
 'Stella D Oro' Daylily is also in full bloom for the month of July and has been a stable in the garden over the years.  It will continue blooming well into fall with a little deadheading.
Hydrangea 'Endless Summer'
The voluminous Endless Summer Hydrangea are in bloom again this season after two very difficult winters and no blooms at all last year.   I am very pleased.
Hydrangea 'Tokyo Delight'
The lace cap 'Tokyo Delight' is doing exceptionally well and producing many flowers...
Hydrangea 'Tokyo Delight' Bloom July
and all the plants seem to be finally back on track.
Astilbe 'Sprite' with Sedum 'Dragon's Blood'
Here blooming together are the softer pink Astilbe 'Sprite' with Sedum 'Dragon's Blood'.  The name 'Dragon's Blood' accurately describes the deep fuchsia-crimson color of this particular variety of Sedum which is amazing and long lasting!
Sedum 'Dragon's Blood'
Come closer for a better view.
Hosta Gold Standard
 Along with blooms, I have always enjoyed mixing different shades and textures of foliage in the garden.  Here are a few combinations that have matured over the years. In the back shadier areas we are viewing hosta, Japanese forest grass, Leucothoe, Variegated Boxwood and Fern Spray Cypress.   The Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra Aureola) has gotten quite huge, expanding up to a couple of feet in diameter.
Japanese Forest Grass, Leucothoe, Variegated Boxwood and Fern Spray Cypress Foliage Combo
Here is the Hakonechloa macra Aureola closer up.
Heuchera (Coral Bells) 'Caramel' with Sedum and Salvia
The Heuchera 'Caramel', now displaying their flower stalks, have grown into foot wide plants over the past few years since being added to the garden.  Unlike other Heuchera, they thrive in full sunlight, right along side Sedum and Salvia.
Hosta 'Patriot' with 'Palace Purple' Heuchera
Here is a combination of Hosta 'Patriot' along with the burgundy foliage of Heuchera 'Palace Purple' in another shade area on the other side of the property.
Back Island Beds
As we move along the side area of the backyard, you can view the island beds that lead to a "secret garden" which winds around to the back.  You might be able to get a glimpse of the nepeta and viburnum which are presently in bloom.
Salvia May Night and Hosta (Planted 2007)
As we approach the end of the tour of the July garden we pass by a few blooms....some old and some new...
Mont Blanc Allium Seed Head July (Planted Fall of 2014)
and come across the latest addition.
Crape Myrtle 'Muskogee' New for 2015
This 'Muskogee' Crape Myrtle is brand new in the garden. It was just planted a week ago and is blooming a little early. The new tree is a replacement for a twenty year old Magnolia that was sadly lost this past winter.  I have already grown quite fond of the new lavender blooms.
Lamp post Garden
Even a mature garden never grows old. The beauty of a garden is that is does change through time and can be admired and interpreted in so many ways.   Also, there is always something exciting and wonderful to look forward to.  I hope you enjoyed viewing my garden from a different perspective--one with a "softer side".
July 2015 Garden
 Thank you to Carol at May Dreams Gardens who makes it possible for us to have blooms on the 15th of every month with her meme Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Pam at Digging for hosting Foliage Follow-Up.  I am also linking with some other wonderful hosts and hostesses at Tuesday Garden PartyToday's FlowersFloral FridaysMosaic Monday at Lavender Cottage, I Heart MacroMacro Monday 2, and Nature Notes at Rambling Woods.  Also check out What's Blooming This Week Garden Update.

As Always...Happy Gardening!


Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening, © Copyright 2015. All rights reserved


Saturday, June 27, 2015

New England Gardens: Blithewold Mansion, Gardens and Arboretum Rhode Island

BLITHEWOLD MANSION AND GARDENS
On a recent trip I had the pleasure of visiting the picturesque and serene Blithewold Mansion, Gardens and Arboretum located on the Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island.  The area was developed in the mid 1890's when Pennsylvania coal magnate, Augustus Van Wickle and his wife Bessie purchased the land and built the first Blithewold mansion.  After Augustus's death in 1989, Bessie re-married William McKee in 1901 and after a disastrous fire in 1906, the original home was replaced with the mansion that exists today.  Bessie and her older daughter Marjorie Van Wickle proved to be talented horticulturists and Marjorie carried on her mothers legacy by developing the remaining 33 acres of Blithewold into the gardens that exist today. The mansion and grounds are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and are enjoyed by visitors.
BLITHEWOLD MANSION

BLITHEWOLD MANSION

BLITHEWOLD MANSION
NORTH GARDEN

NORTH GARDEN

NORTH GARDEN

NORTH GARDEN
 
ENCLOSED GARDEN

VISITORS CENTER AND GARDEN

MOON GATE AND GARDENS
GARDENS

LILLIUM

ALLIUM SEED HEAD

NORTH GARDEN FOUNTAIN

BLITHEWOLD ART EXHIBITION 
As part of an ongoing art exhibition " Sculpture Embraces Horticulture", several artists were featured in the gardens at the time of our trip using the elements of sun, rain and wind to power their creations. The above sculpture is a sunflower spiral solar powered creation from artist George Sherwood.  Sherwood’s sculptures are based on movement that is a combination of both subtle and obvious. At times it appears his sculptures do not move at all, and at other times the colorful stainless steel reflective discus twinkle with each breeze, integrating art with nature. 
BLITHEWOLD ART EXHIBITION 
Charissa Brock creates art with bamboo and was intrigued by the gardens and bamboo grove at Blithewold which is quite large for New England with its cold winters. Brock integrates the motion of the wind with bamboo and has created large “feathers” out of bamboo canes. Each feather has a skirt of short bamboo pieces and when the wind blows the feathers play with the wind creating music.
BAMBOO GROVE
WATER FEATURE IN DISPLAY GARDENS

SHRUB WALK
SARGENT'S WEEPING HEMLOCK

These gardens were certainly an enjoyable visit.  I was happy to read that in order to preserve the integrity of Blithewold a small group of concerned citizens banded together and raised funding to keep it open to the public. They became known as Blithewold, Inc. and in 2010 along with Preserve Rhode Island, an amended lease for a period of 99 years was created with an extension option, so that Blithewold would be protected for the future. Today it is considered to be one of the finest gardens in New England and received a certificate of excellence in 2014.

 I hope you enjoyed the visit.  As Always...Happy Gardening!


For more information visit Blithewold.


Linking with Tuesday Garden Party

Author: Lee@A Guide To Northeastern Gardening, © Copyright 2015. All rights reserved


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