Spencertown Academy Arts Center Celebrates Artful Landscapes
By Madaline Sparks
A few weeks ago, I wrote a column for RI called “ My Top 10 Reasons to Go on a Garden Tour.” Well, here’s your chance to test them out at the 13th Annual Hidden Gardens Tour, benefitting the Spencertown Academy Arts Center. Full disclosure: I’m the co-chair of the committee that produces this annual extravaganza, so I admit to a slight bias. That said, I want you to trust that I would not steer you wrong. On June 16 and 17, a veritable bouquet of garden-themed options awaits you. Whether you’re an avid gardener or just love to experience beauty in all its forms, this event has something for you.
The festivities begin with the Twilight in the Garden Party on Friday at “Falling Waters,” the historic home of John and Denise Dunne, in Spencertown, New York. This pastoral property, with its stacked stone walls meandering through rolling green meadows punctuated by grazing sheep, is reminiscent of the Irish countryside.
On the morning of the 17th at 8:30 a.m., the day starts with a garden lecture and continental breakfast featuring homemade goodies. Ron Kujawski, a garden columnist and author, will give the illustrated talk “Vegetable Gardening: It’s Never Too Late to Start.” Mid-June may seem late for starting a garden but Ron says it’s not! The presentation will include information on preparing the garden for planting, along with tips on how to make up for lost time. He and his daughter, Jennifer, co-authored the book The Week-by-Week Vegetable Gardener’s Handbook.
Photo: David Lebe.
The centerpiece of the Hidden Gardens weekend is the self-guided tour celebrating the art of the garden. Six private residences and the restored grounds and gardens of 20th century American poet Edna St. Vincent Millay at Steepletop in Austerlitz are included on the tour. The private gardens include an exquisite curated garden in Spencertown, a naturalist’s garden in Harlemville and four locations in North Hillsdale: the grounds of a historic B&B, a landscape designer’s garden, a charming 18th-century home with lush edible and flower gardens, and a country house with a parterre garden, a pond, extensive perennial borders and specimen trees.
Whether you go on the tour or not, the Garden Market on The Green, across from the Academy, is a must. This year’s market will showcase more than a dozen vendors offering plants, home and garden furnishings, birdhouses, antiques, garden books and expert garden advice. Shoppers will find bargains on choice items and accessories at the Academy’s White Elephant Booth. Come, shop and enjoy lunch in the shade; there will be grilled burgers, hot dogs and sausages, an assortment of salads, and ice cream sundaes for dessert.
Photo: David Lebe.
In addition, the Market will host two educational opportunities. At noon, Cornell Cooperative Extension Educator Lisbeth Karlsson will give a free talk about invasive versus native species in the garden. And, back by popular demand, Zema’s Nursery will lead a hands-on workshop on how to make your own hummingbird-friendly planter at 2 p.m.. Advance registration for the workshop is required; tuition is $65 (including all materials).
“Art from Farm to Table,” a multimedia exhibit of work by 15 regional artists will be on display in the Academy Gallery on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. The show includes depictions and interpretations of everything found in an agricultural environment, which might (or might not!) end up on a table. Admission is free and artworks are for sale.
Spencertown Academy Arts Center Hidden Garden 2017
Friday, June 16 & Saturday, June 17
790 State Rt. 203, Spencertown, NY