1 Yesterday, temperatures were in the 60s with light breezes - it was the perfect weather for a garden stroll. Here is Ryan with a small group of visitors from the nearby John Jay Homestead.
2 The group saw the Pin Oak Allee, which is looking fuller every week. A recognizable trait of the pin oak is that its lower branches hang down. It also has horizontal middle branches and upright upper branches forming a most interesting growth habit.
3 Another stop was the Party Lawn. It is looking so lush and green. On the left is my long clematis pergola, and on the right, the weeping hornbeams, Carpinus betulus 'Pendula' - the branches of these trees gracefully weep creating an umbrella of foliage that reaches the ground.
4 The beautiful Allium - I have so many in bloom along the clematis pergola and right here outside my flower cutting garden. Allium species are herbaceous perennials with flowers produced on scapes. They grow from solitary or clustered bulbs.
5 Guests had the opportunity to walk through the cutting garden. Every group experiences a different tour when they visit the farm depending on what is blooming at the time.
6 The garden pansy flower is two to three inches in diameter and has two slightly overlapping upper petals, two side petals, and a single bottom petal with a slight beard emanating from the flower's center. These petals are usually purplish, blue, white or yellow.
7 The poppies are all starting to bloom beautifully. Poppies are herbaceous annual, biennial or short-lived perennial plants. The flowers have four to six petals, and many stamens. The petals are very showy and come in almost every color.
8 This group also got the chance to see the tulip garden bursting with color behind my main greenhouse.
9 There are tulips in all different colors and varieties.
10 Ryan also pointed out the gooseberry patch next to the greenhouse. We placed these straggling bushes on the north side of the greenhouse because these berries prefer partial shade and a cool, moist growing area. They also like buoyant air circulation.
11 Ryan spoke about my passion for repurposing. This was originally an old baker's rack. I use it to house all the necessary hand garden tools in the head house of my main greenhouse.
12 The tour continued through the greenhouse. Here they saw my large collection of potted tropical plants. Ryan explained how I enjoy bringing many of these specimens into my home when I entertain.
13 Across from the cutting garden, at the entrance to the long pergola, are two wisterias still waiting to leaf-out. They're a little late this year, but when blooming, wisteria gives a spectacular show of fragrant rose-pink flower clusters hanging from vigorous vines.
14 At one 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.
15 This is my American beech grove. The American beech, or Fagus grandifolia, is the species of beech tree native to the eastern United States and Canada.
16 The Boxwood Allee on the way to the stable always grabs everyone's attention - and look at the blue sky above.
17 While walking through the Boxwood Allee, the group stopped to see the expansive paddock with my home and carport in the distance.
18 The group noticed the Japanese maples growing in the woodland. Because they prefer sun-dappled, part shade, I planted many of the maples beneath larger trees.
19 Japanese maples are native to China, Korea and Japan. Young trees should be kept moist to prevent their shallow root structure from drying out and weakening, particularly during the hot summer months.
20 Here is the Linden Tree Allee. The Linden is one of three English names for the tree genus Tilia - also known as lime and basswood. Linden trees have loose canopies that produce shade on the ground below.
21 Azaleas are flowering shrubs in the genus Rhododendron. They bloom vibrantly in spring with their flowers lasting several weeks.
22 Tree peonies come in a variety of colors - from yellow to pure white to shades of pink and dark red.
23 Tree peonies prefer well-drained soil with at least four to six hours of direct sun, or dappled sun all day.
24 Tree peonies are actually woody shrubs, and can reach about four or five feet tall.
25 Most varieties of tree peonies are hardy in zones 4 through 8. They don't typically require any pruning, but if it is necessary to control its size, do so in the spring after they finish flowering.
26 There are no buds on the herbaceous peonies this week, but soon the entire garden will be filled with peony buds ready to pop - I can't wait.
27 Peonies are perennial plants with compound, deeply lobed leaves and large, fragrant flowers ranging from white or yellow to red. My peony garden includes stunning shades of pink and white.
28 After a short break for some pomegranate juice on my terrace parterre, the group posed for a quick photo.
29 Earlier this week, I hosted a group from the Garden Club of Orange and Dutchess Counties. Ryan welcomed everyone to the farm and told them a little about what they would see on the walk.
30 As the group descended onto the stable - the Friesians were ready to greet them.
31 My three Sicilian donkeys are always ready to say hi to anyone who passes their paddock. Sicilian donkeys are famous for their docile dispositions. They're very gentle, smart and playful.
32 Aesculus hippocastanum is a large deciduous tree commonly known as the horse chestnut or conker tree. The flowers provide a rich source of nectar and pollen to insects, particularly the bees.
33 The garden behind My Summer House is always a favorite stop on the tour. Although it is still a "work in progress", the boxwood look very lush and green.
34 Ryan pointed out the tall, old Ginkgo tree at the back - the focal point of this garden.
35 Guests asked about my Pea shrubs, Caragana arborescens, planted in the garden behind the Summer House. These pea shrubs are upright and deciduous, and can be trained to grow as small trees. It grows best in well drained soil and full sun. It requires little maintenance and is tolerant of drought and cold.
36 These tree peonies look so amazing in bloom. They always get lots of attention when guests tour the collection.
37 All the guests were offered a delicious snack of cookies.
38 Here is a vase of beautifully colored tulips - grown right here at my Bedford farm.
39 We served our guests a delicious pomegranate punch. It's made with pomegranate concentrate from our friends at POM Wonderful, lemons and some slices of orange. http://www.pomwonderful.com/
40 Before I left for my New York City offices, I spent a few minutes with the group, sharing some of the history of my farm, and the work that has gone into developing it over the years.
41 This was a large group - more than 60-people. I loved how friendly and enthusiastic they were about touring the gardens.
42 White tulips were blooming right next to the stairs to my kitchen - it adds such a pretty touch against the green foliage.
43 These are 'Miss Kim' lilacs, which bloom in May. they are some of the most fragrant of all the lilac bushes. The light lavender blooms stand out nicely against their dark green leaves. These lilacs prefer full sun to thrive but will also live in partial shade.
44 'Miss Kim' lilacs are very popular for borders or as specimen plantings. It will grow to about seven feet with a mature spread of five to six feet.
45 One guest stopped to take photos of the gorgeous clematis pergola border - such stunning shades of blue and purple.
46 Some allium species are used as border plants for their ornamental flowers - they are looking so colorful at this time.
47 Some of my daffodils are still blooming - these are planted right behind the Tenant House.
48 Here are some white ones - such a beautiful floral display.