Garden Tour, January 2013

January 17, 2013

IN JANUARY, when the air is calm, the trees glisten with snow, and the ground crunches under foot, I enjoy taking Lily the Beagle for brisk walks. Would you like to see what we see when we tour the gardens here? Walk with us.

We’ve just opened the gate, and entered the Rose Garden. Although I didn’t plant this garden with winter-interest in mind, I certainly achieved it.  In snowy January, the turned-off fountains transform themselves into triple-tiered wedding cakes.

The garden is even more dashing when viewed from my upstairs guest-room. In summer, the boxwood hedges form ribbons of green around the beds of fragrant roses. In winter, they make a strong architectural statement.

And incidentally, I achieved most of my boxwood from cuttings. It is a cinch to propagate.

Forming a figure-8 around the Rose Garden are 190 yews (Taxus hicksii).

I don’t like to let snow linger on the yews. Why? Because their branches bend beneath the frosty weight. And when the snow freezes, the branches can break. Later today, I’ll head out with a broom and relieve the shrubs of their white burden.

Would you like to see the Rose Garden in summer? Here it is, on a fragrant day in June.

Let’s leave the Rose Garden now, and head up the hill.

And by the way, it wasn’t very wise of you to wear 4-inch stilettos on this tour, was it?  Better take my arm.

The path up the hill leads to a  grove of white pines. I cut a demi-lune opening through the boughs last summer,  in order to create a pass-through to the path and statue beyond.  The steps on the right lead to the north gate of the swimming pool. We’ll visit that pool in a moment.

We are heading west now, toward the pair of urns and the headless statue of Venus di Milo (read her sad story). On the right is a row of arborvitaes that frame the north side of the Pool Garden. If you study these shrubs for a moment, you’ll notice birds flitting in and out of them. Arborvitaes — like all tall, shrubby evergreens — provide the birds with shelter in winter, and nesting-quarters in spring and summer.

I can assure you those birds are watching us very carefully right now.

Make a right past the statue, and we’ll find ourselves face to face with the Kitchen Garden.  Planted at each corner is ‘Cayuga,’ the most fragrant member of the Viburnum clan. In winter the shrub it makes a pleasant silhouette against the snow.

The Kitchen Garden, looking through its gate.  The raised beds, the urns, the Adirondack-type chairs and the arbor all contribute structural elements to the winter vista.  I hope you can visit this easy-to-maintain garden in summer. It is a riot of color and productivity.

Opposite the Kitchen Garden is the Pool Garden.  Framing the fence are young hemlocks which will eventually form a hedge. They wear their winter-frocks very well. I never remove snow from these evergreens — their branches are flexible and strong.

Well, we won’t be skinny-dipping today, will we?

Beside the pool are a few classical statues. How they love to show off their winter apparel!  Pictured above is “Autumn,” dressed to kill in an ermine hat with matching stole.

And here is “Summer,” decked out for a night at the opera.

Although these statues look old, they are not. My friend Michael Laudati applied a simple wash that aged them instantly. 

Just north of the pool, and between two boxwood-edged perennial beds, is the entrance to the Woodland Garden. Shall we step inside?

It’s hard to imagine it now, but in summer this garden is a shady retreat from an otherwise sun-drenched property.  The black hole to the left is the fish pond.

A floating deicer keeps the pond from freezing over. I can’t tell you how comforting it is to visit this garden on a frigid day, and see the goldfish and koi in the pond swimming as if it were July.

And here is the view of the Hudson River tributary that runs behind the Woodland Garden. In winter, this little river is cherished by Canada geese. Would you like to see them?

Here they are, the feathered members of the Polar Bear Club. Brrr.

Would you like to see how I designed and planted the Woodland Garden? The details — with lots of pictures – are here.

It’s getting a little too cold now. Shall we head back to the house?

Here is a rear-view of the house (with its many roof-tops), as seen from the Kitchen Garden.  Between the Music Room wing and the old kitchen wing of the house is the Herb Garden. This garden will prove that you can do something amazing with very little space.

Now, instead of sliding down the steep hill — you and your stilettos! — I think we should make our descent via the Serpentine Garden.

I designed the Serpentine Garden on the steepest slope of the property. Its winding path is very gentle, each step rising no greater than 3 inches. The garden may not look like much to you just now, but trust me — in spring it is (to my eyes, anyway) simply stunning.
Well, I hope you enjoyed this little tour as much as Lily and I did. Perhaps you can let me know by leaving a comment.

Meanwhile, let’s head into the parlor.  There, a roaring fire, a pot of tea and freshly-baked scones await us.

Don’t miss anything at A Garden for the House…sign up for Kevin’s weekly newsletter.

Related Posts:
Winter-Sowing 101
How I Prepare My Raised Beds for Winter
House Tour Part 3: The Parlor


  1. Barbara says:

    You have a beautiful place. Thanks for the tour.

  2. Barbara Howitt says:

    A wonderful frosty trail . . . next time I will wear more suitable boots.

  3. Heather Schlerf says:

    Kevin- Thank you for the photos !! I really appreciate them and even more in the hot days of July ! Especially love the photo op of Lilly the beagle as I have cat named Lilly who loves hanging out in the garden. You still need to tell us what you are WINTER SOWING !!

  4. Tanya Narzt says:

    Absolutely stunning. You are very lucky as is Lilly, my little doxie wouldn’t mind one bit all that room for roaming.

    Sipping a lovely herb tea (rosemary, thyme, marjoram and lemon balm) with a wee bit of organic raw honey. What a lovely tour.

  5. Pam says:

    Thank you for tour. What fun! I felt like I was there. No, I don’t have on stilettos. Love your page. Can’t wait to see what you post next.

  6. Debby says:

    I always thought that since I made it past age fifty without experencing snow I didn’t need it. Your beautiful garden has changed my whole outlook and made me believe in winter wonderland, Thank you. :)

  7. Linda Totten says:

    It is absolutely wonderful. I am not a fan of snow, but your garden under a blanket of it, is quite lovely…
    Oh by the way, I used your “recipe” for planting paperwhites and mine are doing just great.. almost ready to bloom. They seem to be a lot sturdier with the additional of a little gin added to the water.. Thanks for the tip.

  8. Rosemeri says:

    As beautiful in winter as it is in summer in different ways. It’s been so cold where I live that it is nice to see your garden from the comfort of my warm home. Thank you for the tour and be sure Lily warms her little toes by that lovely fire.

  9. Carol says:

    Thanks so much for the tour Kevin.
    Your place always looks beautiful, doesn’t matter what time of year!!!
    You are a very talented person and thanks again for sharing.
    You are so inspirational!!!!!

  10. Tracy says:

    Thanks Kevin, I love your “tours”!

  11. Kelly Ledsinger says:

    So lovely ……….I miss the crunch of winter underfoot and the sharp freshness of her scent !

  12. Kristen says:

    Really enjoy and appreciate all you do and post. Brings enhancement to an ordinary day. Greetings from Chattanooga, where we almost got snow. Enjoy.

  13. Karin W. says:

    I enjoyed the beautiful walk with you lets have some hot cocoa! I am a little jealous of the snow! We have the cold temps, but no moisture !
    You have so many different gardens .. as much as they bring joy I know there is also lots of work involved. Do you do it all by yourself?

  14. Heather Schlerf – My winter-sowing list coming soon…I promise!

    Karin W. – I maintain the gardens all by myself. I’m a nut.

  15. Brenda Johnson says:

    Your gardens ARE stunning!! I can vouch for that!! That was a lovely winter walk- the fire is so inviting…. and you know how I feel about those scones!

  16. Martha Ellen says:

    What a lovely walk through your gardens all dressed in its white blanket of snow. You are the steward of beautiful property . Thanks for the tour and the scones!

  17. Barbara Shoemaker says:

    Thank you Kevin for sharing pictures of your lovely home and property. I miss the Eastern winters even after 15 years in California!

  18. Erin says:

    I just adore garden walks. Thank you!

  19. Georgette says:

    The garden looks stunning in it’s winter coat. What a joy for us to look at when we ponder what to purchase this year from the seed catalogs.

  20. Kelly M says:

    Yes, I loved your tour and it DID make me feel like I was right there walking beside you. Made me long for the old house and 10 acres that I just sold so I could plant more !! …. but gives me hope that I can still do wonders with the MUCH smaller town property that I have now. This walk also made me much more aware of the beauty that can be found in the garden with a blanket of snow. Thanks to your wonderful blog I have started with a couple of boxwoods and plan to do some propagation in the spring …. nothing as gorgeous as your rose garden but it’ll do for me. Thanks again for a lovely tour. Please feel free to take us for a walk anytime …. next time I’ll remember to change my shoes! lol

  21. Donna B. says:

    Kevin, I sure hope that you intend on taking us through more walks like this?! I demand one in the spring, early summer, late summer, early fall, late fall………
    and I promise not to wear stiletto’s. :D
    But I LOVED this! There is truly something beautiful about evergreens covered in snow – and those hemlocks at your poolside! That’s a beautiful arrangement! ‘Summer’ and ‘Autumn’ are ravashing too.

    It’s great to see gardens in a different perspective. I know that I dread the inches of snowfall in my gardens too… but looking back, if I look from my car in the drive way, I tend to notice the little things. A cluster of colorful [violet, tangerine, and chartreuse!] empty pots with a light dusting of snow. The snow-covered arbor with perished morning glory tendrils. Even the poor [now frozen] arugula, overwintering in the veggie beds.
    But for now, I’m going to be looking at your series on the “Creating a Raised Bed Garden”, and the “From Wild Patch to Woodland Garden” posts… and dream… ♥

  22. badger gardener says:

    I love to see your garden in her Winter best. Thanks so much for the walking tour. I can almost hear the sounds of the river and your avian neighbors.

  23. Marjean says:

    Lovely. I miss the eastern woodlands of my native Pennsylvania as well as the well defined four seasons I had there. Here in western Oregon we have two seasons: VERY wet and VERY dry.

    I appreciate the tour. I’ll wear my galoshes next time. (do people even remember galoshes nowadays?)

  24. Sarah says:

    What fun! I’m just getting addicted to your great posts about winter sowing, and what a treat to take a winter walk around the garden. It’s a clever gardener that intuitively makes a garden for summer and winter!

  25. Crystal says:

    I love seeing you home and gardens in all seasons. You remind me that there is beauty in all seasons – even when I am holed up inside!

  26. Skye says:

    Oh, thank you. That was so beautiful & serene. I love seeing the different looks during all the seasons of your wonderful home.

  27. Beverly, zone 6 eastern PA says:

    The upstairs window view is my favorite shot in this inspiring collection of scenes. Your hard work is reflected in all four seasons.

    At my home, it is the kitchen window that looks out over the beds, allowing me to re-design or rearrange plants to suit my elevated vantage point. So often, I am stirring sauce or washing dishes while simultaneously gazing out and daydreaming.

    There is no substitute for a daily dose of natural beauty.

  28. Norma Coates says:

    I LOVED the tour of all the gardens, etc!!! I just have to say that one of the BEST parts of my week is you news letter…….I sooo look forward to it and cannot say what is my favorite part because I love all of it……recipes, garden news, pictures!!!! The only negative thing I can say is……lol……it should be bi-weekly at least!!! Thanks for your newsletter and all your sharing!!!!!

  29. Janet says:

    Simply delightful!!

  30. Amber says:

    What a wonderful walk TY! Your newsletters are always a balm Kevin.

  31. Anne says:

    I also look forward to your newsletters, Kevin. You winter garden tour was lovely. Thank you!
    Is your koi pond de-icer electric/solar/battery powered?

  32. Joyce says:

    Beautiful gardens, and loved the snow, which we seldom see here in the south. Thanks, Kevin.

  33. Lola says:

    Thank you for a most enlightened tour. I do so enjoy your post. I love old homes & yours is exquisite. As are your gardens.

  34. Oriane says:

    Kevin, you are a passionate gardener. I am in awe at the beauty of your gardens in all seasons and love strolling with you and Lily to discover the secrets they hold.
    Love the humor (stilettos!!! Orange County housewives style anyone?); the poetry (the ethereal statues adorned with white snow minks) the photography (Autumn and Summer are breathtaking).
    Your estate is a reflection of your soul; with some luck (maybe) and hard work (definitely) you’ve created a masterpiece.
    As always, merci.

  35. Anne – My pond deicer is electric. It heats up only when the water temperature drops to 35 degrees or so.

  36. Sandy says:

    Love a snowy garden tour! Wish I could take one here, but still none of the white stuff!!
    How much property do you have? Hard to tell from pictures…

  37. Cathy says:

    Thank you for the tour! You have a beautiful garden even covered in snow.
    I have a very small garden in Alberta, which has a limited growing season, but I love walking in gardens and seeing the beauty around me.

  38. Susan M. says:

    Always a pleasure to take a turn through your gardens, any time of the year. Once again, thank you for sharing your lovely place!

  39. Lee McLean says:

    Aw, Kevin, even your scoldings about our inappropriate 4″ stilettos are endearing! And yes, the serpentine garden in spring is a vision. Spring things to look forward to make winter seem bearable. Almost!

  40. Judy walker nalda says:

    I am on 02 24/7 and cannot leave my room anymore. Your email each week is like food for my soul!

  41. Judy walker nalda – Just saw your comment under Venus Gets a New Look. Love your idea!

  42. maria says:

    Hi—such lovely inspiration—gardening and exercise both!

    I have a condo—and you inspire to garden inside. I am growing lettuces with growlights, and hope to create a “window” garden inspired by your upstairs one — except mine will be on a wall since I have no suitable window. We shall see….

    Thanks for these lovely, peaceful moments….

    Best wishes to you and to all your readers,


  43. Toni Kitchen says:

    Thank you for the tour Kevin…what a wonderful winter wonderland you have created, and I can nearly feel the heat of the fire upon entering the warm living room, with hot tea and fresh scones, which i looove.
    Keep this column coming my leetle friend, as i look foreward to each issue.
    Hugs sent your way,
    Toni the tailor
    Sleaford, Lincs. England

  44. Toni Kitchen says:

    p.s. It is snowing tonight here as well, filling in the gap that the +2*c weather melted today..hahaha. Beautiful.

  45. Lulu says:

    But if I didn’t wear my stilettos, I wouldn’t be getting the tour by your arm!

  46. rose says:


  47. Judy says:

    Lovely garden. Nice to see it’s many faces.

  48. Hoosier John says:

    Very much enjoyed your garden tour. I might add, since you enjoy your ‘Cayuga’ viburnum, if you ever can find the viburnum cultivar ‘Carlesii’, I think you’d be impressed with the fragrance . Just one plant will perfume a very large area! They are relatively easy to find at any good-sized nursery or garden center.
    Meanwhile, I’m taking your advice and going out this evening and cut forsythia branches to force. We’re recovering from the Midwest’s Christmas blizzard and now very cold temps. I need some spring blooms!

  49. Barbara Zakrzewski says:

    Enjoyed the winter tour of your gardens very much. All of your pictures are great! Thanks so much for sharing.

  50. Penster47 says:

    Your place is museum quality. No higher compliment could I make!! simply beautiful.

  51. Deloris says:

    I so wish I could be there now, looks so inviting and yet in summer I know it it spectacular.

  52. Theresa Valente says:


    I wish I could record the sound of your voice, when I hear you in my mind, as I read your words. It would be hilarious to see your reaction to hearing it. I guess, I might describe it as a close second to Fred Rogers, yes, of “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood”.

    You appear to me, as the most gentilest of men. Thank you for being so generous to us here at your blog.

  53. Doreen says:

    LOVED,LOVED LOVED IT!! Thank u….my dream place….I have a herb garden too but no where nearly as big as yours…i use my herbs for soap making as well as cooking!!
    My husband grows all our own organic vegetables too….last fall i planted 2 big beds of garlic…..
    Love your web site, love the recipes, love the tours…..think u so very much!!My favorite web site and so friendly to use…you have done an amazing job!!

  54. Rose says:

    Thank you for the tour! I was hoping we’d have tea upon return. The roaring fire was a generous surprise. Isn’t it amazing how the seasons transform our landscapes? We can enjoy them bathed in warmth and blanketed in snow.

  55. Juanita says:

    I absolutely loved the tour. It seems so beautiful and peaceful. Ending up in front of the fireplace was just perfect! Along with the tea of course!!
    Thank you for sharing,

  56. Cary says:

    Delightful, thanks so much. You are so much, Kevin.

  57. Cary says:

    ahem. That was supposed to be “You are so much fun!” :)

  58. Gail says:

    Kevin, I loved this winter walk with you and Lily! You made me really smile with your comments about your statues all dressed up in their winter finery. Can you tell me where to find the picture on your website of your rose garden from the upstairs in the summer? I am constantly trying to find it to show someone. Your gardens are so lovely any time of year!

  59. Hi Gail! Is this the photo you were looking for?

  60. June says:

    Kevin thanks so much for the strol,your grounds are beautiful in a winter coat also.
    One question “When do I move in ?? ” giggle.. Everything is so beautiful ,hugs for Lily!

  61. Cynthia says:

    Hello Kevin,

    Such a charming tour guide and what a gorgeous winter display. Your property is truly magic!

    When does the Bed and Breakfast open?? !! Hello to Lily!

  62. Lisa says:

    Thanks for allowing me to join you and Lily. Enjoyed the view. I didn’t know that goldfish could live in such cold water. Learn something new every day! Thank you.

  63. Mary Ann says:

    Wish you had a spot to put in a name of plant, dish, etc. so one could find an article or the recipe on the subject. Read recently about care of the Christmas (Thanksgiving_ cactus and unfortunately did not bookmark it. Have been trying to locate it but could not find anything on the subject.

  64. Hi Mary Ann — You can type the subject in the “search” box located at the top of this site. Just scroll down below the annoying Google ads, and you’ll find every article I’ve written on the selected subject.

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