April 27, 2017

The Elizabeth Park Conservancy

If you’re planning to be in or around Hartford, Connecticut this summer, and want to see some of the most beautiful roses, I encourage you to visit the Elizabeth Park Conservancy.

Elizabeth Park is on the national register of historic places and offers more than 100-acres of formal gardens, green space, recreational facilities, and walking loops. The centerpiece of Elizabeth Park is the country’s oldest public rose garden. It was designed by Theodore Wirth in 1904. The Rose Garden is two-and-a-half acres with 475-beds and more than 15-thousand rose bushes and arches.

Earlier this week, I asked my gardeners, Ryan and Wilmer, to attend Elizabeth Park’s pruning workshop to sharpen their pruning skills and to learn some valuable tips from master rosarian, Stephen Scanniello. I learned about the workshop a couple of weeks ago, when I was asked to be the keynote speaker for The Elizabeth Park Conservancy 2017 Garden Lecture Series. My talk was entitled "Two Very Different Gardens: A Mountain Landscape and a Rural Farm”. I spoke about restoring my Bedford farm, about the work I did to Skylands to preserve its historic detail, and about the gardens at both properties. I also conducted a book signing for "Vegetables: Inspired Recipes and Tips for Choosing, Cooking, and Enjoying the Freshest Seasonal Flavors" and briefly toured the Rose Garden with Stephen. 

Enjoy these photos from my talk and visit, and from the pruning workshop attended by Ryan and Wilmer.

April 26, 2017

Soaking and Planting the Peas

Everybody is thinking about the gardens. Here at my Bedford, New York farm, we have been very productive - we potted-up hundreds of new bare root tree cuttings, prepped and planted the flower garden, and sowed one of our first crops in the vegetable garden - peas!

Peas thrive in cool weather, and young plants can even tolerate light frosts. It’s important to plant peas as soon as possible in spring in order to get a full harvest before hot summer temperatures arrive. My head gardener, Ryan McCallister, planted several varieties of shelling peas and edible pods along our pea trellis in the vegetable garden - but first, he soaked them in water to expedite the germination process.

Here are some photos - enjoy.

April 25, 2017

New Trees from Broken Arrow Nursery

A tree planting project is underway at the farm.

Every year, I try to plant a good number of trees - some in the woodlands, and some in designated areas around my home. I have planted thousands of trees since I purchased my Bedford, New York property. They look so pretty planted in allees, in groves, and as privacy hedges. I feel very strongly about giving back to the earth - the more trees planted, the better.

I recently visited one of my favorite sources, Broken Arrow Nursery in Hamden, Connecticut, to select some plantings for a hedge I am building in one area of a field. I chose a collection of European beech trees - Fagus sylvatica ‘Dawyck Gold’.  'Dawyck Gold' beech trees are dense deciduous specimens with a narrowly upright and columnar growth habit. Its average texture blends into the landscape and can grow to about 50-feet tall at maturity. This type of tree is new to my farm - I can't wait to see them grow and thrive.

Here are some photos.