Day Trips to Beautiful Gardens

Gardens in the Berkshire area and Columbia County are on tour this weekend.

Gardens in the Berkshire area and Columbia County are on tour this weekend.

June 1st and 2nd are marked on my calendar as the first of the Open Day Garden Tours that qualify as day trips from our region.

The Columbia County Tour

There are four gardens on the tour. They are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and cost $5., which can be paid at the garden. Children under 12 enter free.

Arcadia, the garden of Ronald Wagner and Timothy Van Dam.
On the Open Days website they wrote “Our early Greek Revival-style farmhouse is set in a pastoral landscape. An avenue of sweet gum trees lining the formal drive, is planted in forced perspective to visually extend the approach to the house. The gently rolling hillside is punctuated by a magnificent grove of black locust trees, a developing grove of metasequoia trees, and a wildflower meadow rises to the north. The informal plantings include the lilac walk and rhododendron and hydrangea beds. A large pond is the focus of surrounding naturalistic plantings giving to views of the wetland beyond. Symmetrical twin terraces feature an arbor-covered stone dining table on the south and perennial border on the north.”

Directions: From Taconic State Parkway, take Hudson/Route 82 exit. Drive northwest on Route 82, past Taconic Diner with neon Indian. About 1 mile from Taconic Parkway, turn left onto Livingston Road. Go 1 mile up a winding hill to Taghkanic Road on left. Turn left and go to second house on right, #733.

Another Garden on the tour belongs to Kevin Lee Jacobs, the creator of the popular house and garden website, A Garden for the House ( “The gardens he designed for his Victorian house are testament to the power of transformation. In 2003, he boldly removed a former owner’s asphalt parking lot, and turned the space into a large, formal, and very fragrant rose garden. The roses are framed with 320 boxwoods (which he grew mostly from cuttings) and 190 yews. On a hill which was too steep to mow, he designed an easy-to-climb Serpentine Garden, which winds around beds of heirloom bulbs in spring, and flowering perennials in summer. A scruffy, overgrown patch became The Woodland Garden—a shady retreat with a gurgling fish pond and planted with ferns, hostas, primula japonica, and astilbes. Also on the property is a kitchen garden, a formal herb garden, and yes—even a secret garden,” reads the description. I’m especially looking forward to viewing the kitchen garden, the herb garden and secret garden.

Directions: From Claverack and points south, take Route 9H north. Take the Valatie exit. Turn left onto Route 9 north. Continue 0.6 mile to Main Street. Turn left onto Lake Street (the first left) and then an immediate left into the driveway. The house is a big white Victorian with green shutters.

There are two other gardens on Saturday’s tour including the gardens of Peter Bevacqua and Stephen King.
“Step through the gate of this garden and you’ll find yourself in a magical, private world. This two-acre garden, located in the hamlet of Claverack, feels much larger because of its division into many garden spaces—spaces designed with a careful eye to color and especially texture. One area unfolds upon the next with its own sense of individuality. Among the features are the sun garden (surrounded by architectural yew hedges), fern garden, evening garden, the greenhouse borders, and many unusual trees and shrubs. The garden continues to evolve. What was once a small orchard is becoming a conifer garden. A boxwood cloud hedge, inspired by the work of Jacques Wirtz, replaces an old rose border. Also, the owners are developing a border consisting of only shrubs and small trees. This garden has been featured in the New York Times, New York Spaces magazine, Berkshire Living magazine, and the recently published Gardens of the Hudson Valley (Monacelli Press),” the website states.

The next day, two beautiful gardens in Berkshire area are on tour. To see more and get directions go to: Open Days Program at

I can’t think of a better way to spend some time this weekend. Bring your camera and a notepad for jotting down names of plants and plant combinations as you are certain to be inspired.