Book News: “The Gardens of the Hudson Valley”
In his foreword to the newly published Gardens of the Hudson Valley (The Moncaelli Press; $50), Gregory Long, the president of the New York Botanical Garden, reminds us that we should not take our geography for granted and that “the Hudson takes its place among the world’s most significant rivers—the Nile, the Ganges, the Danube, the Thames.” He praises the book’s collaborators—photographers Steve Gross & Susan Daley and writers Susan Lowry & Nancy Berner—for assembling a monograph that depicts the Hudson River Valley as “a living museum of American domestic garden design . . . a fulsome survey of the styles that American landscape designers have created and promulgated from the early 1800s until today.”
While many of the iconic and historic gardens in the book are open to the public—including Clermont in Germantown, Beatrix Farrand’s Bellefield in Hyde Park, Locust Grove in Poughkeepsie, Montgomery Place in Annandale-on-Hudson, Frederic Edwin Church’s Olana in Hudson, Wilderstein in Rhinebeck—the authors have also included several private residences that maintain the region’s grand garden tradition. There are luscious photographs of contemporary gardens belonging to folks such as Dr. Norman Posner and Charles A. Baker of Hudson Bush Farm in Claverack (photo above), Gerald Moore and Joyce Nereaux on Mount Merino, Conrad Hanson in Germantown, and Amy Goldman in Rhinebeck.
While the book features photographs of the gardens at their various peak moments, Blithewood—the riverfront Italianate garden behind the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College—is worth visiting around dusk anytime of the year (photos top and bottom.) The Hudson River is four-miles wide at this spot which lends an added majesty to the walled garden that has an enchanting, ghostly aura when it’s not in bloom; there is no better spot to watch the sun as it sets behind the Catskill Mountains.
Photographs reprinted from the book Gardens of the Hudson Valley by Susan Daley and Steve Gross.
Copyright © 2010 by Susan Daley and Steve Gross. Published by The Monacelli Press, a division of Random House, Inc.