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An Amazing Hillside Gardenby Mary Jasch
On entering the garden at Westover on Hudson in Tarrytown through the forest green gate at street level, the first thing one notices is the view. In the distance below the hill to the river, the Tappan Zee gleams over the Hudson, its western shore rising dramatically above it. Then the eye rolls over the hillside immediately in front of you – down the stone steps, through thick, lush plants racing down the hillside as if they were a green waterfall….
“I like sitting in one of the orange chairs and looking this way because you can’t see anything but the garden.” – David Davenport
Orange Adirondack chairs surrounded by delicate plants face the hill of tumbling day lilies topped with the terrace’s hydrangeas and pastel table umbrellas. Nearby, a shade garden sports ferns, specimen rhododendron …. Everywhere, bright Golden Hakone grass, a.k.a. Japanese Forest grass, brightens the garden and contributes to the sweeping movement of plants.
The path heads through a shade garden with a long-term view, where Japanese umbrella grows to take the place of a hemlock and where leatherleaf viburnum provides prime bird habitat. Big leafed dinosaur lettuce is fun among some very special plants that surprise, as does every turn in the garden.
Uphill now, wild vines colonize a forest green privacy fence and chain link fence to form a tunnel designed to make anyone feel like a kid again.
But it wasn’t always so fabulous. When Welsch and his partner David Davenport bought the house in ’95, the land was brambles and deer trails, hard to believe on such a steep, civilized yard in sight of a three-mile long bridge. A year later he started what he calls an amateur collector’s garden, which eventually became his “design studio.” After 12 years, he’s still editing, trying to simplify, says this one-time publishing CEO. Welsch changed careers to another kind of art with plants as medium and garden as canvas.
Perhaps he puts his amazing garden best: “I like the fullness and lushness and it just stops your eye. It’s a glorious mess.”
Come visit Westover on Hudson in Tarrytown during The Garden Conservancy’s Open Days on June 29 from 10-4. www.opendaysprogram.org
Westover Landscape Design: www.westoverld.com
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