5.05.2014

WAVE HILL ALPINE WALL OF JEWELS



I had a hankering this weekend to visit Wave Hill, a beautiful garden in Riverdale, NYC,  in the Bronx. There were a couple of pines I wanted to check out, and I needed a hit of spring bulbs (beyond the beloved daffodils.) A friend had never seen the place, but always wanted to, and that sealed the deal. I packed a few slices of olive oil cake for fortification, as one always needs a snack after a stroll. (This is my favorite new recipe for tea parties, one that I have baked a few too many times this winter--and yes, one always needs stoutness exercises after a snack....)


I found the pine I've been fantasizing about planting, a Lace Bark. It has a beautiful architecture (this one has been well-pruned over the years) and a marvelous mottled pattern on its bark. And the spring ephemera did not disappoint; the beds are a riot of hellebore and tulips and hyacinth and everything else you would expect to see in spring.


But I was surprised by what I consider the shy star of the garden right now. At the back of a clever series of troughs we spotted a stone wall--at least six feet high--covered with miniature jewels: the Alpine Wall, running alongside the glass Alpine House. We got a lesson in planting walls with tiny delights.




In general the hothouses are looking good; there's an enormous therapeutic benefit to breathing the air in a glasshouse. Several beds of large sedum were handsome and elegantly plump. I'm looking forward to more variety on the wall, and in the house--they can only get better.

There is so much to see in this classic garden, high above the Hudson--an excellent perch from which to watch migrating birds, too. The views of the Palisades are worth the trip, but so are the specimen trees, and right now the magnolias are in heavy bloom. This was once a private garden, and its scale is welcoming; many visitors had settled into the surprisingly comfortable wooden armchairs (painted with Benjamin Moore's Mountain Sage--we asked), their newspapers pinned down against the winds, steaming mugs of coffee in hand, basking in spring sun. We got an extra treat when the legendary Marco Polo Stufano wheeled around the corner. He retired as the director of horticulture in 2001, but he is still invited by to "check up on things"--thankfully for all of us who love this garden; we are the beneficiaries of his keen and discerning eye.



9 comments:

MJH Design Arts said...

Glorious. I didn't realize that the succulents could thrive in the NYC winters. Have a fantastic Spring Day. xoxo Mary

lorna sass said...

Wow, I didn't remember that there were so many succulents (my passion) planted in Wave Hill. Those are sempervivums growing between the rocks and some magnificent petal-like aoniums in your last two photos. I live in CA now and this post made me very nostalgic for this magnificent garden with its grand views of the Hudson and intimate flower beds, full of surprises year 'round.

Linda Routhier said...

LMR, All your photos are lovely, like being there. Did I miss something, where will you plant a lacebark Pine? I thougth you only had the new NY apartment now. WE NEED A NEW BOOK FROM YOU CATCHING US UP.

Judith said...

How gorgeous, I am adding Wave Hill to my list of places to visit next time I am in the NYC area. And how wonderful to be able to plan a new garden and choose some beautiful trees! I'm hoping that my next garden will be less about yard work and a bit more thoughtfully planned. Experience is a good teacher.

Bozena Wojtaszek said...

Love it how you saw "jewels on the rocks" - sounds like inspiration for me, thanks for this!

Jayne said...

I didnt want to feel homesick after our very recent move to Savannah, but I DO miss Wave Hill and my own former stone wall. And how lucky to run into the MASTER - what a glory he made of Wave Hill!

Mia said...

Dominique where are you? Like an old friend that has moved away you are missed. I remember the old days with spirited conversation, great subjects and gorgeous pictures. I was remembering the yoga piece and the bakery kerfuffle,oh, and how about the time you had a picture of your middle finger in regards to crazy drivers while you were on you bike? What fun we all had reading this blog. Times change, peoples life change and nothing is forever. Still, I miss it, and the folks who wrote regularly. David, Jesse, William, Judith, Pamigram, Violet, Darlene, Warren, and Deborah to mention a few. Good lord when I think about it that was 4 years ago! I think right after you wrote your last book. Well, enough reminiscing,I just wanted to say i miss your posts and old friends

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