Today, we made a visit to Stonecrop Gardens.  We have read about this public garden and school of horticulture and have seen parts of it while hiking in Fahnestock State Park (see July 28, 2011) but during our 17 years here (most of Stonecrop’s 20-year existence), we have never officially toured the property.  They are holding an open house this week and because the weather has been so nice—more seasonal in temperature and sunny—we thought it would be a good opportunity to see the grounds and check which flowers are in bloom.

Almost on arrival, we were very glad we came.  We had no idea of just how extensive the gardens are—they are spread over 12 acres—or how carefully laid out and tended.  Like the gardens we saw in Jamaica, Stonecrop is well established and mature; everything looks like it has been here forever (or at least 20 years).  Many of the gardens and most of the buildings—Main House, Conservatory, Potting Shed, Pit House—are English in aesthetic and formality but other gardening styles are also represented.  For instance, the Wisteria Pavilion has a distinctly Japanese feeling, especially with the nearby weeping cherry tree.

The gardens also represent an amazing breadth of species and varieties, all carefully documented.  When we paid our entrance fee (five dollars each), we were handed a map of the property and a numbered list of the plants thriving here.  The list is 11 pages long and includes 611 different plants (along with their family names and countries of origin).  Throughout the gardens, each specimen (or group of specimens) is labeled with a small yellow placard, keyed to the list.  We were impressed by the horticultural passion that is clearly in evidence here and will definitely return in other seasons to see how the landscape changes.