13 Magnificent Private Gardens

Take a tour of the spectacular gardens across the country featured in the Garden Conservancy's Open Days Program.

Photo By: Image courtesy of The Garden Conservancy, www.gardenconservancy.org

Photo By: Image courtesy of The Garden Conservancy, www.gardenconservancy.org

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ann and Tom Cicarella

Photo By: Image courtesy of The Garden Conservancy, www.gardenconservancy.org

Photo By: Image courtesy of The Garden Conservancy, www.gardenconservancy.org

Photo By: Image courtesy of Mary Jasch

Photo By: Image courtesy of The Garden Conservancy, www.gardenconservancy.org

Photo By: Image courtesy of Linda Skyler

Photo By: Image courtesy of The Garden Conservancy, www.gardenconservancy.org

Photo By: Image courtesy of The Garden Conservancy, www.gardenconservancy.org

Photo By: Image courtesy of The Garden Conservancy, www.gardenconservancy.org

Photo By: Image courtesy of The Garden Conservancy, www.gardenconservancy.org

Photo By: Image courtesy of The Garden Conservancy, www.gardenconservancy.org

An Architect's Garden

An informal sense of an American country landscape was the desired aesthetic for this New Jersey garden which includes French formal boxwood plantings, English borders and an interplay between trees and allees. This is one of the more than 350 gardens included in The Garden Conservancy’s Open Days program which features private gardens not normally open to the public and is America’s only private garden-visit program of its kind. 

Hicks Garden

Delphiniums, boxwoods, roses and annuals create eye-popping color in brick raised beds facing an open view of the St. Johns River in this private green space in Jacksonville, Florida. Hicks Garden was showcased by The Garden Conservancy during a previous Open Days program.

Green Paradise in Ohio

A vast collection of unusual and rare plants strategically placed in borders, vibrant large ceramic pots lushly planted with tropicals, and garden rooms connected by a myriad of secret pathways are among the alluring features of this private green space in Shaker Heights, Ohio. For more information about this and other private gardens that are open to the public for a limited time during the season, check out The Garden Conservancy.

McGee Garden

A unique combination of an old-fashioned Southern garden with the non-traditional is represented by this lush space in Charleston, South Carolina. The footprint of the garden was designed in the late 1960s by the well-known Charleston landscape architect, Loutrell Briggs. The Garden Conservancy hosts coast to coast events such as private garden tours through their Open Days program.

Rooms by Mother Nature

A vegetable/herb garden, a formal knot garden, bog plantings and a woodland shade area are among the individual garden rooms in this two-plus-acre space that surrounds a restored 1840s farmhouse in Mattituck, New York, the heart of the North Fork wine region.  Opportunities to visit other gardens in the region are offered through The Garden Conservancy which represents hundreds of private gardens from coast to coast.

The Gardens at Harmony Woods

Against the backdrop of a redwood forest, this private garden in Mendocino, California features rhododendrons, maples and ferns planted over a twenty year period as well as a stone bridge created by Cheri Christiansen and a waterfall designed by Franz Arner. Check out The Garden Conservancy and their network of private gardens for more information. 

Connecticut Jewel

Situated in Stony Creek, Connecticut, this beautifully cultivated one-acre garden features more than 1400 species of plants, three woodland gardens, a pool garden hidden by a tapestry hedge and other design features. Visit The Garden Conservancy’s Open Days program for more information and seasonal visitation dates.

Skyler Garden

A work in progress for more than thirty years, this private oasis on Bainbridge Island, Washington, offers pathways which lead to different garden rooms where you’ll find groupings of hosta, hellebores, hebes, barberries, spirea and more than 100 varieties of ferns. Skyler Garden is a member of The Garden Conservancy and their network of private gardens across the U.S..

Mettawa Manor

The wild beauty of a fifteen-acre prairie is just one of the highlights of Mettawa Manor in Illinois, a sixty-five acre estate that also encompasses two ponds, a parkland of specimen trees, a newly reclaimed oak-hickory forest and circular herb garden. This is one of numerous private gardens featured in The Garden Conservancy’s Open Days program which will be celebrates its twentieth season in March 2015.

Woodland Farms

Bordering an oak and stone dwelling built to suggest a medieval Anglo-Norman house, this private garden in Springfield, Vermont contains perennials that last spring through fall, an extensive walled organic vegetable garden, stone-and-timber outbuildings, large expanses of grassland, hayfields, berry bushes, grape and northern-kiwi arbors and more. Woodland Farms was featured on a past Open Days program which was sponsored by The Garden Conservancy.

South Cottage at the Moorings

Overlooking a steep descent to a bird and butterfly sanctuary, this garden in Upper Nyack, New York is situated on the edge of the Hudson River. This featured detail of a trough garden atop a wall is one of several highlights in a park-like property that includes various specimen trees and a “wedding circle” garden. The Garden Conservancy represents many private gardens like this through their membership. For more details, visit their website.

Juniper Hill Farm

“Country formal” is the best way to describe this Francestown, New Hampshire garden that spans two acres and includes a courtyard garden (pictured), a lilac garden leading to a frog pool and a pool house modeled after the garden pavilion at Hidcote. For details about public tours during the Open Days program, visit The Garden Conservancy

Flowering Borders

Situated on a rugged hillside, these gardens in West Cornwall, Connecticut are distinguished by a formal structure that was established by a previous owner early in the twentieth century. A central planting of low-growing boxwood, and colorful flowering borders gives way to flourishing shrubs that have been added by the current owners. Check out The Garden Conservancy.