The gardener's eye

The Gardener's Eye

Monday, March 26, 2012

Wave Hill's Structure

We also visited Wave Hill while were we in New York City. It was unseasonably warm, in the high 70's, and many of the flowering spring trees were already in bloom. I ran in to an old friend, Brian McGowan, the former owner of one of my favorite nurseries, Blue Meadow Farm, in Montague , MA. Brian and his wife, Alice, had a gem of a small nursery that I was fortunate enough to frequent during the first decade of being a serious gardener. Some of the most interesting and choice plants I have in my public and private gardens originated from Blue Meadow Farm. Since closing the nursery in 2005, Brian has become the Assistant Director of Horticulture at Wave Hill.

Wave Hill has a lot to offer the inquisitive gardener in late March. I always find the structure of the hardscape and the arrangements of the plantings particularly informative before all the trees, shrubs and perennials leaf out later in the season.

Three views of the structure in the Flower Garden outside the Marco Polo Stufano Conservatory

A luscious saucer magnolia loaded with blossoms


  1. I have a friend who works there. One of the things I did love about living in that area was the access to Wave Hill and a few other great gardens.

    Wave Hill was where I first discovered Clematis integrifolia, back in the 90's, which is still one of my all time favorite plants.

  2. Kaveh,
    I discovered many exceptional plants for the first time at Wave Hill. Often, I would return from a place like Wave Hill and find some obscure plant, that I just had to have, waiting for me at Blue Meadow Farm. They were the perfect combination in my early gardening education.

  3. Dear Garden Boy,

    I am glad to see that you are loving Wave Hill as always.


  4. Nick,
    Maybe we could have some "Wave Hill bonding" sometime soon. Does it bring back fond memories of our pit stops on the way to Philadelphia?
    Dad aka Garden Boy

  5. I believe I've visited Wave Hill only in the fall. Strange to see its bones.

  6. James,
    Wave Hill is one of those gardens that looks great in all seasons. Our winter, here in New Hampshire, is so long that I have always tried to pay particular attention to the structure of the garden because that is what you see half the year from November through April. There is always a lot to learn in those months from an exceptional garden, like Wave hill.

  7. Michael,
    It was great to see you last week. Thankfully the weather has 'normalized a bit' and it looks like rain for the weekend. Your timing was good since the magnolias that were in bloom did not like the 28 degrees the other night, cherrys and crabs made it through unscathed. Try to visit in early summer, If the weather cooperates I think the gardens will be spectacular this year.

  8. Brian,
    I'll try to make it down for early summer. I'm sure all the pruning you have been doing to rejuvenate the mature shrubs will put everything in an even better light. Always nice to run into you at Wave Hill. I'll be curious to hear what you are up to in your new private garden in upstate New York.

  9. Very nice garden. Spring as arrived very early this year also in Portugal.
    When I was in New York, a few years ago, I just visited the New York Botanical Garden wich I loved.
    All the best!

  10. Jose,
    Next time you are in New York, visit Wave Hill. You will like it very much. It is not far from NYBG. We had a warm spell in New Hampshire last week, but now it had become more seasonably cold. By the time I blog about daffodils, you will be almost into early summer in Portugal.



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