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Dutchess County Gardens to Visit this Spring and Early Summer

Date Published: April 24, 2024

With the arrival of spring, Dutchess County experiences a dazzling amount of bloom. In fact, many of these charming gardens pop with color throughout the summer. 

Beatrix Farrand Garden
Beatrix Farrand Garden at Bellefield, Hyde Park

Beatrix Farrand Garden at Bellefield, Hyde Park

Beatrix Farrand, one of America's first female landscape architects, created these enclosed formal gardens in 1912. Notice Farrand’s design prowess; lush perennial borders are composed of her signature plants in a sophisticated color scheme. Vine-traced walls and clipped hemlock hedges stand out against the vibrant colors. Visitors can enter through a beautiful gate or via an ADA ramp at the corner of the house. It’s open everyday from 7 a.m. to dusk, with free admission. This is the perfect way to start a day in Hyde Park visiting historic sites. 

Blithewood Garden at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson

Take a stroll in this formal Italianate walled garden at the edge of the Bard College campus. 
The Blithewood estate was originally designed by architect Alexander Jackson Davis, landscape designer Andrew Jackson Downing and owner Robert Donaldson. For Downing, Blithewood embodied the intersection of nature and man-made design. Stand at the pavilion and gaze out at the Hudson River and the vast Catskill Mountains. The garden’s style can be described as Beaux-Arts: paths are placed along geometrical axes, beds are symmetrical and there is a central water feature. Garden walls create a green room that looks out at the water. Plus, a copper-roofed gazebo and wisteria-covered pergolas frame the view artistically. Visit their website to see what’s in bloom at the Arboretum. 

Clermont State Historic Site, Germantown

Clermont State Historic Site features four unique gardens to visit. The Walled Garden draws influence from Florentine gardens of the 1920s. Additionally, visit the South Spring Garden, the Cutting Garden and the Wilderness garden. Connect garden paths with trails across the 500-acre estate, and discover truly inspiring views of the Catskill Mountains and Hudson River. Plus, Clermont recently acquired a grant to restore the historic garden wall so it’s about to look even more picture-perfect. 

Golden hour at Innisfree Garden in Millbrook
Innisfree Garden, Millbrook (Photo by Oliver Collins, courtesy of Innisfree Garden)

Innisfree Garden, Millbrook​

A visit to this hidden gem in Millbrook will change the way you experience gardens. Landscape artist Lester Collins draws on Chinese cup gardens and Japanese design to create a curated yet naturalist garden. Innisfree describes his process of developing the garden over a 50-year period as “choreography.” Explore the 150-acre space and discover living art in streams, waterfalls, bogs, many species of plants and more. The 40-acre lake is glacial, most of the plant material is native, and the rocks have come from the immediate surrounding forest. Sunrise is a special experience here — check their calendar for unique events.

Girl in the garden at Locust Grove Estate
Locust Grove Estate, Poughkeepsie (photo by @danielle.outdoors)

Locust Grove Estate, Poughkeepsie

Locust Grove’s stately trees, rolling hills, and vistas from a bluff high above the Hudson River all combine to create a grand landscape garden that preserves much of the sense of place established by telegraph inventor Samuel Morse more than 150 years ago. After acquiring the estate from Morse’s heirs in 1895, Martha Young expanded the formal gardens and today the Cutting Garden preserves her unique style and plant collection. Learn about the wide variety of vegetables and fruits grown on the estate over the past three centuries in the restored kitchen garden. Five miles of hiking trails through the surrounding woods.

Vanderbilt Garden at the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site, Hyde Park
Vanderbilt Garden at the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site, Hyde Park

Vanderbilt Garden at the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site, Hyde Park

This garden at the Vanderbilt Mansion has incorporated formal elements typical of the Italian style. This means that the beds were arranged in such a way that, if you drew a line across the middle, either horizontally or vertically, one side of the line would mirror the other side. The formal garden also consists of multiple tiers, and each level is different: Top-tier plants are annuals, the next tier down are perennials and the lower tier are roses. The garden is maintained by the F.W. Vanderbilt Association with over 60 active volunteers. The garden is free to the public and open when the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site is open. 

Wethersfield Estate Amenia
Wethersfield Estate and Gardens, Amenia (Photo by @toshiyanotoshiyano)

Wethersfield Estate and Gardens, Amenia

Ten acres of formal gardens are modeled after 17th-century Italian villas. Stroll the cutting garden, arborvitae alley with naiad (nymph) fountain, peacock walk, rose garden, and numerous water gardens. A true treasure of Eastern Dutchess, Wethersfield Estate & Garden stands nestled in 1,000 acres of verdant hills. It's one of the finest classical gardens in the nation, and it houses stunning marble sculptures depicting figures from Greek and Roman mythology—plus 20 miles of wooded hiking trails.



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