Riding your bike around, waving at people working in their beautiful gardens, and hopping off to say hello and admire their handiwork is a good way to make new friends, learn a lot, and see places you wouldn’t otherwise have access to.
Having stayed down the road at a friends’ house several times, I’ve admired and photographed this Remsenburg cottage for three years. It’s neat as a pin, charming, with always something pretty in bloom.
The back yard with arbor and pool is idyllic. I admired the sedum ‘Autumn Joy,’ liriope, and echinacea. (It really does help to garden in an area with wide-open expanses of sky that offer several more hours of sun than you get here in hilly, shady Irvington.) The hydrangea blooms, while turning autumnal rusty tones, promise to be delightful for weeks to come.
Peace and Plenty
A mile or so away, in an area of Remsenburg with larger estates, a couple bought the lot across the street from their home on Moriches Bay, installed a working farm and greenhouse, and named the property “Peace and Plenty.” The husband has M.S., so all the beds are raised to be accessible from his wheelchair. Decorated with whimsical farm-animal ornaments and an ancient toy tractor, the vegetable garden is heavy with ripe tomatoes and the beds still have good-looking dill, sedums and nasturtiums, with a riot of blooming zinnias in the center. In pots, ready to plant, are several Meyer lemon trees and a fig tree, Ficus Peters Honey #5, says the tag. A more Mediterranean look will greet visitors next season.
The airy greenhouse is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen, a place to work and relax. The owners are currently making mixed plantings of succulents there. Also therapeutic is their meditation garden with stone Buddha.
Tucked away on a nearby shady road is a shingled cottage that I’ll call the bird garden. Featured on a Garden Conservancy tour a few years ago, this property features restful, shady spaces and meandering paths through secret garden rooms, all decorated with bird sculptures. Here are a few close-ups.