Recently, a respected European botanist walked the grounds of a private estate in Westchester County, his eyes bulging with excitement at what to the average person were simple trees. But to the expert eye, the towering trunks were clearly non-native, and through no amateur proclamation he declared them the oldest specimens of such trees he'd seen in the entire Western Hemisphere. They'd been placed there 150 years earlier by none other than Andrew Jackson Downing, widely regarded as the "father of American landscape architecture." Much of the grounds plan for this particular property was accomplished with the help of an apprentice he'd brought over from England, Calvert Vaux, who with Frederick Law Olmsted would create the most famous urban park in the country.
Spring and gardening go together like terrine and toast, but north of New York City we've simply always taken the matter to another level. On the Irvington waterfront, Lord & Burnham built some of the world's greatest conservatories for private estates and public attractions, from the New York Botanical Garden to the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park.
Inspired by our rich horticultural legacy and warm weather's welcome arrival, we set out to find the best local listings from our current inventory with the finest groomed gardens to make their predecessors proud.
GREENWICH | 44 Mayo Avenue
One of the greatest thing about our area is a contrast in landscape that spans from sandy shore to mountain peak. The marine microclimate provides an environment in which some of the most unique plantings can thrive, and one of the greatest examples can be found minutes from downtown Greenwich in storied Belle Haven. English-style topiary neatly fills a meticulous formal garden, steps from the terrace of a magnificent 1891 Manor with recently-redesigned interiors by Alexa Hampton.
FAIRFIELD | 770 Old Academy Road
Further up the Sound Shore and a little more inland, Sound View Meadows captures vibrant landscapes on six acres of rolling countryside, centered around a Greek Revival farmhouse, two-bedroom carriage house and converted stable that will make the outdoor entertainer swoon for days. Words can't capture how breathtaking a site this is, with rolling countryside views stretching to Long Island Sound.
BEARSVILLE | 201 Cooper Lake Road
Just outside Woodstock, the prized rose gardens of this Catskills compound were imported from revered British breeder David Austin Limited. The blooms are best taken in from a standalone, one-of-a-kind artist's studio designed by Andre Tchelistcheff, whose commissions include work on Standard hotels, Shelter Island's Sunset Beach, and Brooklyn's Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club.
The main residence, a melange of rustic minimalism and mid-century modern sensibilities, boasts retractable walls leading to a spacious patio overlooking the property's floral highlights, sweeping mountain vistas and custom-built, natural-filtration swimming hole.
BRONXVILLE | 28 Valley Road
Enchanting grounds were essential to frame a one-of-a-kind French Country estate, built anew in the 21st century using stone from an 18th century Bourgogne convent and container loads of other authentic architectural imports. The gardens at Le Capucine complete the enchanting setting of a resplendent home walking distance to Bronxville village, with formal boxwood knot, pleached Linden trees, Hornbeam hedge and topiary Yews joining forces with a velvet lawn, flowering fruit trees and native grasses.
BEDFORD HILLS | 1 Bedford Center Road
There's no respite like retreating to 13 secluded acres in Bedford, and these are particularly beautiful. Each spring, the grounds of a wonderfully renovated pre-war Colonial erupt in radiant technicolor, completing the resort-like amenities that fill the estate. From a covered dining patio to footpaths wandering through the flowers, there's few reasons not to be outside as long as the day allows.