Ever wonder just what's hiding behind those impossibly large privet hedges in the Hamptons? Jump on Guild Hall of East Hampton
's annual Garden As Art tour and find out. Be sure to pack a camera since you'll want to snap shots at every delightful turn. This year's tour is comprised of five gardens that vary in style and scale and across the realm
First stop on the tour takes you through a gated community in North Haven to Richard and Lisa Perry
's estate, "The Beach House," where large-scale sculptures by Zhu Jinshi, Niki de Saint Phalle
, and Alexander Calder
mirror design elements in the gardens. There are colorful circles and lush white hydregnas everywhere! The property's grand scale fits the setting high atop the bluffs overlooking a secluded private beach.
The Perry's North Haven "The Beach House" is all about scale. (Photo: Nicole B. Brewer)
Lenore and Adam Sender's sprawling estate in Sag Harbor will leave you speechless. First because of the scale as the property is comprised of many rolling acres that include numerous gardens, ponds, horse paddocks, a pool, Zen retreat, basketball court, tennis court, a massive sculpture by Jim Lambie, and even a trampoline, fire pit, and playground. If that's not enough there are gardens of every variety - shade, vegetable, cutting - for the senses to absorb. Children at heart on the tour will enjoy the animals, all rescues, who reside on the grounds including ponies, horses, kittens, goats, chickens, and more.
The estate of Jody and Larry Carlson in Bridgehampton, "Villa des Amis," harkens to an older time of quite French villas lived in by artists with blue painted doors and topiaries dotting the property. Butterflies float down the pathways and through the privet arches from the main house to the artist's studio that opens further to a wide green. The petite scale is in sharp contrast to the first two homes on the tour in a most delightful way and proves the adage that, "good things come in small packages."
Good things come in small packages at the Carlson estate. (Photo: Nicole B. Brewer)
A truly hidden gem in the heart of Bridgehampton is the home of Jenny and Trey Laird. The narrow property is quite deceiving to the visitor. Each step deeper into the property is like unwrapping a present as you come across a reflecting pool, guesthouse, boxwood topiary garden, finally ending with the pool and pool house. Under the pergola at the back of the property one can sit and reflect upon the massive oak in the center portion of the property.
The last stop on the tour is fittingly minutes away from Guild Hall
in the historic section of East Hampton Village at the home of Michael MacElhenny and David Wine. The gardens, designed by award-winning landscape architect Edmund Hollander, mix hardscape and soft in a gentle ballet of colors and shapes. The patio, lawns, and pool garden are all accessed via romantic privet arbors.
The final garden is in the heart of historic East Hampton Village. (Photo: Nicole B. Brewer)
Prior to the start of my tour I was met by Garden Tour Chairwoman, Nina Gillman who explained that each home was "selected for variety." She continued, "The inspirations for each garden are very different" and noted that in the Perry garden the inspirations were the sculptures. As she waved us on to begin the tour she exclaimed, "This tour has everything!" After strolling through each of the five gardens on the tour I completely agree.
• The Guild Hall Garden As Art Tour weekend takes place August 24 and 25, 2012, starting with a cocktail reception hosted by Lucy and Steve Cookson at their Devon Colony estate, "Windy Dune." On Saturday, August 25, participants gather at Guild Hall for a continental breakfast, followed by an illustrated lecture by award winning landscape architect Edmund Hollander, who will sign copies of his newly released book, "The Private Oasis." There is a luncheon for benefactor ticket holders from 12 noon to 2 p.m. at two neighboring exclusive East Hampton estates with outstanding gardens. Gardens are open for touring between 12 noon and 5 p.m. For tickets call 631-324-0806 and visit www.GuildHall.org
A pond near the stables is one of many magical elements in the Sender gardens. (Photo: Nicole B. Brewer)
Nicole, an award-winning journalist, is Executive Editor & Publisher of Hamptons.com where she focuses on celebrity interviews, fine living and design, social events, fashion and beauty. She lives on the North Fork with her husband, their two daughters, and Bernese Mountain dog, Cooper. www.hamptons.com