The Garden Conservancy’s Open Days program is a singular opportunity for garden enthusiasts to explore private properties that are usually inaccessible to the public. The program, which was founded in 1995, allows visitors to tour some of the most stunning gardens in the country, many of which are located in the Hudson Valley. Since its start, with the help of a network of volunteer regional representatives, the Garden Conservancy has expanded Open Days showcasing more than 4,000 gardens in 41 states.
“The Hudson Valley is a great place to experience Open Days, and we have at least an Open Day a month planned here from April to October, highlighting a wide variety of gardens,” says Horatio Joyce, director of programs and education for the Garden Conservancy. “The program started in this region, and it allows locals to explore their own neighborhoods. You never know what great gardens are hidden nearby, and the Open Days program allows you the unique opportunity to visit them!”
The program is an excellent opportunity for garden lovers to gain inspiration for their own projects, as they can see firsthand how other gardeners have created their own little slices of paradise. Visitors to the Open Days program can expect to see a wide range of garden styles and designs, including historic estates, modern landscapes, and intimate cottage gardens. They will also have the opportunity to meet with the garden owners and learn about their gardening techniques and strategies.
Two exceptional gardens available for visitation this year are in Dutchess County. Broccolli Hall, in Amenia, is the home of mystery writer Maxine Paetro. The property’s garden features include a series of garden rooms that change with the seasons. Lamp designer Christopher Spitzmiller and landscape architect Anthony Bellomo’s Clove Brook Farm in Millbrook has a series of interconnected spaces, beginning with a horseshoe-shaped garden near the house that is surrounded by a clipped hornbeam hedge and anchored by a dovecote. Look for towering dahlias in late summer. Their grounds were documented in A Year at Clove Brook Farm (Rizzoli, 2021, with foreword by Martha Stewart).
A full schedule of events is available on the Garden Conservancy’s website. All Open Days events require preregistration.