A Gardening Year

The adventures and misadventures of an heirloom gardener

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Wave Hill

Ah, the benefits of being a Rutgers Gardens Volunteer! Among them are “Special off-site trips to neighboring gardens, wholesale and retail nurseries”. Which really means not having to drive long distances or brave New York City traffic. Today we were whisked away in a (very comfortable) van to Wave Hill and The Cloisters (more on that stop tomorrow).

Wave Hill was originally a private estate established in 1843 and located along the banks of the Hudson River across from the cliffs of the Palisades in New Jersey. The family that owned the 28 acre estate deeded it to the city of New York in 1960.

Our tour began among the magnificent trees.

Over and over, everyone remarked how beautiful it must be in the fall. I agree but I’d also enjoy seeing them in the winter.

Wouldn’t you love to see the bare branches of this tree?

Or how about this one?

These roots look just like feet!

Was it intentional that the shape of the branches echoes the shape of the windows?

From the trees, our path led us to the Shade Border.

The Aquatic Garden is surrounded by pergolas which support a collection of vines.

What fascinated me most about the pergolas were the surrounding low walls built in a similar manner as the wall around the Entry Kiosk at Rutgers Gardens. Anyone who has perused my photos on Flickr knows that I photograph that wall obsessively, even entering one of those pictures in the Photo Competition at the NJ Flower & Garden Show.

The biggest difference between the two walls is the top. At the Gardens, it is solid. At Wave Hill, it is hollow allowing them to plant succulents and other xeriscapic (is that a word?) plants.

The Aquatic Garden itself is the size of a swimming pool.

That’s not a trick of the light or a problem with my camera. The water really is black. They pour black dye into it every morning to discourage the growth of algae.

My second favorite garden at Wave Hill was the Wild Garden. “Wild” meaning informally planted, not a collection of native plants.

On our way to the Conservatory and the Alpine House, we passed these espaliered pear trees. We saw more espaliered trees at The Cloisters.

The Alpine House is a collection of high-altitude and small rock garden plants. They are displayed both inside the house and outside in hypertoufa containers.

Just a few steps down to the next terrace is the Dry Garden. The foundation walls of the former estate’s greenhouses provide protection and heat reflection for a collection of plants from warmer and dryer regions of the world.

They include my newest acquisition, a Russian Sage.

Down one more level is the Herb Garden.

The Conservatory contains both tropical plants and cacti and succulents. I didn’t spend much time in it. As anyone in the New York Metropolitan area knows, today was one of those dreadful 90+ F (32+ C) days with close to 100% humidity. Not a good day to be wandering around a “greenhouse”.

Besides, I wanted to get outside and take a good look around my favorite garden at Wave Hill, the Flower Garden.

The Flower Garden is located on what was once a formal rose garden. It is designed in the manner of a 1920’s private garden filled with old-fashioned flowers.

Now that’s what I would like my backyard to look like! What I wouldn’t give to be able to replace the Ugly Green Fence with this:

That’s a re-creation of the original fence.

Our last stop was the Pergola Overlook with a magnificent view of the Hudson River and the Palisades.

After a much needed lunch and rest, we hopped back into the van and were on our way to our next stop, The Cloisters.

More pictures of our trip to Wave Hill can be seen on Flickr.


At 7:26 AM, Blogger Colleen said...

I enjoyed your tour! I totally agree about the trees in winter: that's one of the best times to admire trees, IMHO.

I love Russian Sage. I have two of them, and they're honestly the only plant in my garden I never have to do anything to. They look great every single year with total and complete neglect. I need to find more plants like that ;-)

At 7:54 AM, Blogger Carolyn gail said...


Thanks for much for sharing your lovely garden tour with us. It's incredibly beautiful and of course we all want our gardens to look like that.

At 10:35 PM, Blogger Connie said...

Wow, great tour....thanks for sharing.

At 2:13 AM, Blogger OldRoses said...

Colleen, all of a sudden I am seeing Russian Sage everywhere! I don't know if it has suddenly become popular or if I just never noticed it before.

At 8:39 PM, Blogger Digital Flower Pictures said...

You have discovered one of my favorite gardens. I have a few friends that work there. I really think the 'wild garden' is one of the most unique gardens I have seen in the US. It is brilliant on so many levels.

At 10:11 PM, Blogger Kerri said...

Ooh..lucky you! What a great place to visit! Thanks for posting all these pictures and sharing the tour with us. I'd especially love to see that wild garden. It sounds wonderful.


Post a Comment

<< Home