Gazette Gardener: Taking an inspirational stroll

This Saturday will be a busy one for gardeners who want to admire the gardens of others and be inspi

This Saturday will be a busy one for gardeners who want to admire the gardens of others and be inspired.

In Queensbury, gardener designer and plant collector Greg Greene will open his private garden from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. as a fundraiser for the Chapman Historical Museum in Glens Falls. And in Schenectady, the Soroptomist International garden tour of nine different gardens will take place, rain or shine, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The gardens on the soroptomists’ tour include a garden that really reflects the lifestyle of the couple who created it, a miniature working railroad garden, a rosary garden, three public gardens on the Union College Campus and an exhibit in the Nott Memorial about Jackson’s Garden that will only be up the day of the garden tour.

Saturday tours

– Tickets for the Schenectady Soroptomists tour are $12 in advance and $15 the day of the tour. They can be purchased in Schenectady at the Open Door bookstore on Jay Street, Experience and Creative Design on Union Street and Felthousen’s florist on Van Antwerp Road (all in Schenectady); Olivers’ Cafe on Freeman’s Bridge Road in Scotia; Scott’s Hallmark in Glenville; and the Petal Pusher on Saratoga Road in Burnt Hills. Or call Kris at 542-6869 or Frieda at 256-1454.

– Tickets for Greg Greene’s garden are $5 and available at the garden the day of the tour. Greene’s garden, at 13 Northup Drive, Queensbury, is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. as a fundraiser for the Chapman Historical Museum in Glens Falls.

Connie Schmitz, Union College’s gardener, said the exhibit will include historical photos of the garden, which was started by Isaac Jackson in 1830. Jackson was a mathematician and the “basic design is pretty much what he set out in 1830,” she said. Some plants that he planted, such as tree peonies and the large ginkgo tree, still grow today.

Schmitz said Jackson’s garden holds the distinction as “the oldest garden on an American campus.” In addition to this garden, two other campus gardens will be on the tour. One is a flower garden and the other an organic vegetable garden that produces food for the Schenectady food pantry and also supplies the campus’s organic cafe when classes begin in September.

Also on the tour is the garden of Diane Mazzo. It is an example of a landscape created to meet the needs of the gardener and her family. When you’re there, notice how she fenced a portion of the yard including the pool to create a play area for her grandchildren. And how she incorporated a garage and gave it a cottage appeal. Notice too, the pond near the honeysuckle covered trellis. Mazzo and her husband, Ed, built the pond themselves moving every rock to its current location. The pond, one of three on the property, is visible from the deck and provides interest and pleasant sounds with a waterfall, stream and deeper area for fish.

On this Swaggertown Road property, Mazzo also has a woodland retreat and a vegetable garden. She is a skillful and thrifty gardener, finding interesting accents and plants at tag sales. Her artistic eye puts these finds and plants together to their best advantage. For example, she combined a hosta with a yellowish hue on the leaf edges with a yellow daylily. A fountain found at a garage sale is now a focal point among perennials she regularly divides and spreads about the property.

A collector’s garden

If you’ve admired the gardens at Hovey Pond in Queensbury, then you know Greg Greene’s flare for the dramatic and the for bold and beautiful plant combinations.

This Saturday, Greene will open the garden and be there to answer questions, identify plants and give tips. A $5 fee will be charged at the gate with proceeds benefiting the Chapman Museum.

Greene owns Wild Ginger Designs and is a font of knowledge on plants, including the unusual and exotic.

The first time I visited this garden, he walked me through the garage to the backyard. I felt like I had just gone through the wardrobe to Narnia. This garden has a huge WOW factor, but you have to look closely and ask questions.

There is a lot to see. He is growing some wonderful plants. For example, a Stewartia tree, a Styrax obassia, an Acer triflorum, a Cotinus “Golden Spirit” and a weeping Katsura. As you walk slowly about, you will notice Asarums, hardy cyclamen, unusual Solomon’s seals and gingers.

The garden is at 13 Northup Drive, off Dixon Road in Queensbury. A variety of plants will be available for sale, with planting and optimum growing instructions included.

Wear comfortable shoes and bring a camera or notebook. You are sure to see things you will want to duplicate in your own garden.

Have fun and maybe I will see you there. Happy Gardening.

Categories: Life and Arts


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