1 I hosted a tour of my gardens for fashion designer, Erin Fetherston, her husband, musician Gabe Saporta, her parents, Barbara and Jim Fetherston, and her family's friends, Christy and Peter Palmisano. I donated the tour as an auction prize for Girls Inc. of New York City. http://www.girlsincnyc.org/springluncheon2015.html?tab=3
2 I started the tour at my main greenhouse, where I showed them all my tropical plants, many of which I use for decorating my home when entertaining. Here, I store ferns, begonias, orchids and other tropical specimens.
3 I also showed them the greenhouse tables, which slide from side to side to allow easy access to all the plants. This side of the greenhouse stores my succulents, and cacti.
5 I also showed them how I store my tools and other equipment. This rack was originally used in a bakery, and many of the stainless steel bins I use for soil and soil mixes were once used for flour.
6 Here is Erin taking a photo of the clematis pergola. Erin is a fashion designer in New York City. Find out more about her whimsical, stylish signature clothing collection on her web site. http://www.erinfetherston.com/shop/inquiries
7 I've known Gabe and Erin for some time, so it was nice to be able to show them my gardens. During the tour, I shared some of the history of my farm, and a brief accounting of what I have planted over the years.
8 Everyone loved the weeping hornbeams, Carpinus betulus 'Pendula' - the branches of these trees gracefully weep creating an umbrella of foliage that reaches the ground.
10 As the guided walk continued, Erin, her mom, Barbara, and their friend, Christy, stopped to take photos with their smartphones - can you guess what they were photographing?
11 It was Gabe, in front of the paddock fence. Everyone was having a very fun time during the tour. As some of you may know, Gabe is the lead singer behind the synth pop band, Cobra Starship. http://ultimategabesaporta.org
12 The finials on top of my equipment shed drew lots of attention. They are antique finials I bought years back - they were perfect for this shed, don't you agree?
13 Erin loved smelling the orange blossoms. The orange blossom is the fragrant flower of the orange tree, Citrus sinensis. The orange blossom is also the state flower of Florida, and is an important component in the making of perfume.
14 We walked over to the old apple tree near the dwarf apple orchard, and I explained that this upright was added to support the tree, much like a crutch. There are two of them, one on each side.
15 The shaded area was a nice photo opportunity for our young couple, Gabe and Erin.
16 As we continued with the tour, Gabe stopped for a quiet moment overlooking the farm paddocks and trees.
17 I showed the group another allee of trees that I planted within the paddocks. These linden and sycamore trees are growing so well.
18 Everyone loved the climbing hydrangea - they've done so well this season.
19 Here is Erin posing in my newest garden, behind the Summer House. Although it is still a work in progress, everyone enjoyed seeing all the lilies, boxwood and ginkgo trees.
20 We looked at the sundial I positioned on a faux bois stand at one end of the garden. If you're unfamiliar with how a sundial works, it tells the time of day by the apparent position of the sun. The sun casts a shadow onto a surface marked with lines indicating the hour of the day.
21 The tour was a birthday gift from Erin to her mother, Barbara Fetherston, a floral designer, and master gardener from northern California. Her friend, Christy Palmisano, is an artist, colorist, and founder of Patinae, an architectural color-consulting firm in the San Francisco Bay area.
22 We stopped inside to have some refreshments in my kitchen. Of course, I offered Erin and her family some fresh eggs from my chickens. Here I am with Erin and her mom, Barbara.
23 Just outside my kitchen, Erin and I took another photo.
24 Everyone loved visiting with the donkeys. The donkeys loved seeing everyone too, even Billie, who was wearing a fly mask to protect her face and ears from biting insects.
25 Rufus and Clive were eager to say hello. Donkeys are very friendly, social animals, and have a very keen sense of curiosity, as seen here by their forward facing ear carriage.
26 As we walked into the stable, we saw Carlos, up high, cleaning the windows.
27 This is my Shetland pony, Ford. He got lots of attention from the group. Shetland ponies are generally gentle, well-tempered and intelligent. Ford is all these things - he is well-loved at the farm.
28 Gabe took a liking to Ban Chunch, the Fell pony. I think Ban Chunch liked him too.
29 Sasa also met our visitors.
30 Next, I took everyone to visit the peafowl. As you may recall, I have three peahens and one peacock living at the farm.
31 The peafowl came out to say hello. The one on the right is the peacock. He hasn't been here too long, so he is still getting acquainted with his new peahen friends. He is also still quite young - only two - so he doesn't have that full, beautiful tail. We will all see it around December.
32 After showing my guests the new Japanese maples being planted in the Laura Plimpton Woodland, we stopped to take some photos - everyone wanted to take pictures with the John Deere tractor parked nearby.
33 We posed for this nice group photo. Joining me are: Jim Fetherston, Barbara Fetherston, Christy Palmisano, Peter Palmisano, Gabe Saporta and Erin Fetherston.
34 Another nice photo of all of us. We took this by the fence of the North Paddock - that's the stable in the background.
35 Next stop was the chicken coop. Peter and Jim were eager to see the flock of chickens. Jim is an entrepreneur and former NFL linebacker, while Peter specializes in real estate marketing and development.
36 Christy and Peter were very interested in the chickens...
37 ... especially the roosters.
I've raised many different chicken breeds and varieties over the years - they are all so beautiful to observe. I am constantly fascinated by their many colors and feather patterns.
38 On the way back to the cars, Erin took a closer look at the grist millstone in the stable courtyard.
39 Here is a nice family portrait of Jim, Barbara, Erin and Gabe.
40 The group walked down the Boxwood Allee back to the front gate. Susan explained the care that goes into keeping the boxwood so lush and green, especially during winter, when they are wrapped in plastic netting and burlap to protect them from the harsh elements.
41 At the end of the Boxwood Allee is this beautiful weeping copper beech, Fagus sylvatica 'Purpurea Pendular', an irregular spreading tree with long, weeping branches that reach the ground.
42 Everyone enjoyed the visit - it was a lovely morning for a guided walk through my gardens.