Sunday, May 17, 2009

Garden Visits--Chester and Far Hills

Accompanied by a friend, who is also a landscape designer, a map and our cameras we set off to see three gardens in Morris and Somerset counties for an Open Days garden crawl. With my trusty point and shoot, I took many more photographs than I have here. Some are for inspiration, some are for reference and others will be shared here later illustrating other posts.

This area of New Jersey is known for its history and tradition. Homes dating from late 18th and 19th century sit side by side with those built in the last real estate bubble. The three gardens we visited were traditional, based in European traditions, and on properties with old homes. All three gardens were several acres, the result of years of vision, personal attention and financial commitment. Aliums were in bloom everywhere. Container plantings were significant players at both Hedgerows and Kennelston cottage forming their own small 'gardens' or creating focal points within larger plantings. I think I'd like to explore containers as a contributor and design element later.

A stone pier, containers and gate at Hedgerows

With the morning's fog still creating an atmospheric haze, down Old Chester Road we drove, our first stop was Dan and Jeanne Will's garden, Hedgerows. For me, the most interesting part of this garden was the woodland. Meandering paths wove in and out of plantings that were in places highly edited and in others self seeded. The combination of intent and abandon was charming.

Self seeded Primula japonica were abundant, as were Myosotis sylvatica

Gravel paths weaving in and out of plantings

A small rustic yet elegantly proportioned summerhouse

Our second stop, Hay Honey Farm, was one of two we planned in Far Hills. I first visited this garden 4 or 5 years ago. This time, the owner requested that photos not be published, so I won't share mine here. A series of gardens included hillside woodland with a beautiful Rhododendron walk, a hayfields with remarkable views across the valley and a Laburnum allee. This garden is well worth the visit.

A gravel path through a shady garden room at Kennelston Cottage in Far Hills

After a drive on dirt and gravel roads through some of the most beautiful country in New Jersey we arrived at our final stop--Kennelston Cottage. This was the most traditional garden of the three. Recently featured in New Jersey Life magazine, Kennelston's gardens are a series of interrelated rooms and vignettes.

The Potager with chimney pot planters

A lovely purple and white poolside planting scheme

The view to the house from the pool


Country Gardener said...

Beautiful. Thanks for taking us along on your fabulous garden tour.

EAL said...

Great! I have never done these open days tours. We have 12-16 garden walks here, but few feature large properties such as these.