Five Spectacular Gardens On View For Southampton Garden Club Tour


The role of a functioning garden and the vision Joan Hornig had for her own garden, was as a place to entice the senses. In planning her garden, she thought about what she wanted: the sound of leaves rustling in a breeze, the smell of blossoming flowers, the sight of nature’s wondrous array of natural colors, and the sweet and earthy taste of fruit fresh from the orchard.

A user-friendly garden is what she and her husband, George, brought to life at their home in Water Mill, which will be on display during the Southampton Garden Club’s Centennial Lecture and Garden Tour on Friday, July 26.

Five Southampton gardens will be on the tour, including the Hornigs’, four of which have never been open to the public. Tickets for the tour are $100 and include a continental breakfast at 9 a.m. Afterward, award-winning landscape designer Rosalind Creasy will give a talk, “The Edible Landscape,” at 10 a.m., and then tour-goers will be off to spend the afternoon viewing the horticultural displays of their friends and neighbors.

In addition to the Hornigs’ landscape, other gardens on the tour include “Concordia,” on Great Plains Road, with perennial beds designed by Hope Herrlin; “Six Swans” on Ox Pasture Road, set upon 3½ acres along the Heady Creek waterfront; a property on Rosewood Lane featuring a secret waterfall; and a garden on North Sea Mecox Road that boasts three gardens:a lily pond garden, a formal garden and a pool garden.

For centuries, the Hornigs’ home on Flying Point Road was the center of the Burnett family’s “Quality Farm.” Thanks to its agricultural past, the soil is rich. The Hornigs have turned their 4 acres into a series of garden rooms, eight in total, where visitors walking through will feel as if they are on a journey.

“The garden is intoxicating and it really is a series of destinations,” Ms. Hornig said during a telephone interview last Tuesday, multi-tasking while shopping for pieces for her eponymous philanthropic jewelry line in Manhattan’s diamond district. “It’s not Ikea, you are not on a path that you cannot get off of; you chart your own course.”

The Hornigs’ garden consists of about eight different “pockets,” Ms. Hornig reported. There are annuals and perennials, all different types of hydrangeas, magnolia that even bloom in the winter and blueberry bushes. In the orchard there are strawberries, peach trees, pear trees and apple trees.

“Every single garden is a natural arrangement which haas to do with color, scale and the beauty of the imperfections,” she reported. “Every day you could go out and visit every garden and see a progression from the day before. One day a bud, one day a flower and the next a tired flower, but it’s always something new, it’s a cycle.”

The functionality and the history of the garden is something the Hornigs are very proud of. Restoring what is old and keeping things natural while adding improvements is the approach the couple took toward the garden design while working with landscape architect Ed Hollander.

“I believe that you should stay with history,” Ms. Hornig said. “Every place is supposed to make you happy, no matter where you look it’s designed to be fresh and interesting. I see it as a sculpture, as architecture, not overly formal, not overly manicured, but to enhance the house.”

Each of the five homes on the Southampton Garden Club Garden Tour is unique in its own way. Although all of the sites on the tour are flower gardens, each has a distinct personality.

The garden on Rosewood Lane is owned by Dennis and Huguette Hersch. The Hersches, along with landscape architect Mark Antilety, designed their property to have beautiful flower beds as borders, with hidden gardens behind the cover of oak and cherry trees. There is a statue of a magician around one corner, which serves as the hideout of the Hersches’ 3 year-old grandson, Jackson. A cascading waterfall and fish pond, built by John Verderber, appear around another bend, hidden by foliage.

“There are lots of little surprises that Mark created, like the mysterious magician’s forest,” Ms. Hersch said. “There’s lots of secret gardens, when you walk back you don’t know.”

The Southampton Garden Club Tour will be held on Friday, July 26, and begins at the Southampton Cultural Center at 9 a.m. with a continental breakfast. Tickets are $100 and can be bought via credit card from or by sending a check to P.O. Box 1161, Southampton, NY 11969. For more information, call 283-2226 or email

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