1 This is the entrance to the Walled Garden of the Untermyer Gardens in Yonkers, New York. It was inspired by the great Indo-Persian gardens of antiquity - originally intended to resemble a "paradise on earth." http://www.untermyergardens.org
2 There are several features influenced by the religious descriptions of paradise including the four waterways that coincide with Eden's biblical four rivers - Pison, Gihon, Tigris, and the Euphrates.
3 The Walled Garden is surrounded by this crenelated wall, and anchored by four octagonal towers. The beautiful gardens of Untermyer were originally designed by Beaux Arts architect, Welles Bosworth, around 1915.
4 This is the east border of the garden, which has mostly shade and partial-shade perennials. In the back is a stoa, a covered portico or walkway according to Greek architecture. It is embellished with a group of potted tropical specimens.
5 Running along the waterways are annual garden beds, dotted by Japanese hollies, or Ilex crenata. These beds change from year to year, but are always planted with seasonal flowers.
6 The varied shades of green created a stunning visual effect.
7 In the back is a beautiful blue Atlas cedar, Cedrus atlantica - named for its native range in the Atlas mountains of northwest Africa. At maturity, this tree can grow up to 40 to 60 feet tall with a spread of about 30 to 40 feet.
8 This is the Temple of the Sky, a roofless crown of Corinthian columns, with an intricate mosaic floor featuring the head of Medusa, the winged demon in Greek mythology.
9 In this bed, you can see a white flowering Hydrangea macrophylla 'Tokyo Delight', and one of my favorites, a smoke bush, Cotinus coggygria 'Golden Spirit.' The foliage looked very pretty in the evening light.
10 This view of the Temple of the Sky looked out onto the Hudson River and the Palisades. The angular support on the right of the Temple was a temporary shoring that was installed to hold up a cracked stone.
11 On the right, a majestic weeping beech, Fagus syllvatica 'Pendula'. A weeping beech is characterized by its shape with sweeping pendulous branches. The bench in front of it is a replica of an antique piece from antiques dealer Barbara Israel's exclusive inventory, reproduced for her Garden Traditions line. http://www.barbaraisrael.com
12 These weeping beech trees are so lush, it's hard to see their trunks, but they are there. These trees can grow up to 30 to 50 feet, and are usually wider than they are tall.
13 This is the southwest border of the Walled Garden. In the center is a Japanese maple, Acer palmatum. The perfectly edged lawns added a wonderful detail to this beautifully designed space.
14 A view looking at the west border. On the wall are three types of vines growing, and overlapping like a collage. The lightest green is a variety of Boston ivy called 'Fenway Park' - a vine discovered on the venerable "Green Monster" at the legendary Fenway Park baseball stadium in Boston. In front of the vine, and flanking the corner tower, are columnar sweet gum trees.
15 The open-air, Grecian-style amphitheater is where guests are often entertained by musicians, dancers and other events. In front of the amphitheater are two sphinxes by noted Art Deco sculptor, Paul Manship, who was also famous for Prometheus at Rockefeller Center in New York City. The sphinxes are sitting on top of cippolino marble columns.
16 Here is a view of the amphitheater with gorgeous green foliage along the canal - the Gardens' current theme. The amphitheater was the location for the third annual Summer Solstice Sunset Soiree and fundraising gala.
17 It was a beautiful evening for a soiree - everyone enjoyed cocktails before the festivities began.
18 Here, I'm joined by my neighbor and friend, Barbara Israel, who was honored at the soiree for her contributions to garden ornament scholarship and preservation in New York. As the honorary chair of the fundraising gala, I was delighted to introduce Barbara at the event.
19 The amphitheater was filled with many guests. To the far right is a bright red fan. As Barbara walked into the amphitheater, she was escorted by "Roman soldiers" who fanned her to keep her comfortable in her wooden "throne".
20 The legendary New York times photographer, Bill Cunningham, was at it again -- looking for his perfect snapshot.
21 Barbara talked about the historical era when great American gardens were made between 1890 and 1930, and when people had the land, the time and the skills to create the grandest landscapes. It was a very eloquent speech supporting garden restoration and preservation.
22 The Chairman of the Untermyer Gardens Conservancy, Stephen Byrns, spoke of its accomplishments over the past year.
23 The podium and stage were set in between these two sphinxes. It was the perfect location for what happened moments later. Here's a hint... the theme of the gala was "let's put it over the top".
24 Barbara is an amateur golfer. Former newspaper executive, Marian Heiskell, played Barbara's caddy. She carried a silk golf bag over to Barbara, and after she put on her gloves, jokingly handed her the wrong club - a putter. Marian then replaced it with the correct club - a driver.
25 And as you may have guessed, Barbara then hit a golf ball over the waterway and through the garden. Of course, Bill Cunningham, was right there to capture his photo. Barbara then handed Marian a 100-dollar "tip" - it was all a lot of fun to watch.
26 I'm joined by Barbara, Marian holding her "tip", and Stephen.
27 Here I am with Stephen, and Yonkers, New York Mayor, Mike Spano.
28 Here I am with founding Director of Horticulture at Wave Hill, Marco Polo Stufano, who has given a lot of input into the restoration of Untermeyer Gardens. Wave Hill is a 28-acre estate in New York City that contains public horticultural gardens, and a cultural center overlooking the Hudson River. https://www.wavehill.org
29 Bill Cunningham walked between the bold green foliage next to the water canals. Here, you can see the fastigiate beech interspersed with the alliums - a most beautiful walkway of plantings.
30 This wide marble fountain basin spills into the central canal in the Walled Garden. Do you see what is in the basin? Event planners at the Untermyer Gardens provided a small clue for entering guests to hint at what they would see during the gala. It was a fun evening and a wonderful fundraising event. For more photos of Untermeyer, see this past blog, http://www.themarthablog.com/2014/09/visiting-a-magnificent-new-york-garden.html