United States of America, New York, Putnam County, Philipstown, Garrison
Crescent Reach (Garrison, New York)
Crescent Reach, a ten-acre property on a granite bluff overlooking the Hudson River, has thin acidic soil and many outcroppings of rock yet it has been developed into 15 different garden rooms or areas since 1989. Native trees, shrubs and perennials, including white, red and chestnut oaks, Eastern white and red pines, viburnum, mountain laurels, grasses and ferns recur throughout the property. Other plants that thrive in the acidic soil and climate and are used repeatedly in different settings include magnolia, Japanese maple, oak leaf hydrangea, rhododendron, native azaleas and ferns. The plan gives coherence to the large property, creating a backdrop for the design elements and featured plants that distinguish each garden room. There are 2800 planted trees, shrubs, perennials and bulbs at Crescent Reach.
The overall plan for the garden began by appreciating the natural setting and developing ways to take advantage of the cliff side location, natural waterfalls and stream on the property. The first task was the removal of invasive plants and the building of walkways made of sustainably harvested locust that would unite disparate parts of the property. Stairs were installed to connect the stream bed to more formal garden areas near the house. Rooms and areas are divided by low stone walls, bamboo fencing, arbors and gates. Bark-on cedar and green trellis were used for deer fencing to preserve the rustic appearance.
Design features include a small temple, a Zen dry garden, a carved mermaid recovered from a Manhattan demolition site and set in a wall, a Chinese scholar's bench, Thai temple bells and a gong. In addition to the immersion in and appreciation of the natural setting there are rooms designed for specific purposes. An outdoor theater has a two tier stage, seating, and the only linear perennial borders on the property. An outdoor conference room has a twelve-foot round bluestone table and ergonomically-designed rustic chairs. A sacred grove with a stone and copper drip fountain and Buddhist prayer gong is tucked under a broken granite ledge. The Zen dry garden, developed in 2009, is approached through an oversize gate under native trees that had the lower limbs removed to create a contemplative, Cathedral-like atmosphere.
The shade garden has red pines pruned to resemble bonsai, Japanese maples, wild geranium and buddleia to attract Monarch butterflies in late summer. The woodland garden includes primulas, woodland peonies, iris, and varieties of Solomon's seal and blood root. The deep pond is planted with water lilies and native iris and features two waterfalls. A shaded valley houses the fern glen, which includes non-native varieties.
Persons associated with the garden include: Frederic C. Rich (landscape designer, beginning in 1989); Stephen F Byrns (role unknown, dates unknown); BKSK Architects, New York (architects of the house, 1998).
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The Garden Club of Orange and Duchess Counties facilitated the submission of this garden's documentation.
The folder includes worksheets articles about the owner, and additional documentation.
Smithsonian Gardens, PO Box 37012, Capital Gallery, Suite 3300, MRC 506, Washington, DC 20013-7012