ARF Garden Tour On Saturday Will Focus On Springs


Springs will be the star of a garden tour on Saturday to raise money for the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons, with five stops in the hamlet, not to mention a tour of the Judith and Gerson Leiber Museum, and then a wine-tasting and house and garden tour, also in Springs, to cap off the event.

The one exception is Suki and Michael Novogratz’s 5-acre property in Amagansett, part of the original Devon Colony and with the classic old house that retains its allure. The sprawling, sloping and grassy grounds are the arena for the couple’s annual “’Gansett Games,” during which more than 100 family members get together to play—in the pool and on a slippy-slide, in a playhouse stocked with games and a bobblehead collection, in a batting cage, at a playground complete with water fountains, and on a trampoline and tennis, volleyball, tetherball and basketball courts—the last of which bears the school colors of Princeton, the Novogratzes’ alma mater, and an “N” for Novogratz on the playing surface.

Jane Lappin of Wainscott Farms designed the low-maintenance and deer-resistant landscape, which also features pretty walkways and a cedar alee, a music garden, vegetable garden, a formal garden off the back terrace, perennial beds, fun outdoor pieces like a poolside chair made of old-fashioned water skis, a driftwood-like bench from Indonesia and, appropriate for the tour, red French bulldog sculptures.

“This is just a very beautiful piece of property developed for the family,” Ms. Lappin, herself a dog rescuer, said during a pre-tour viewing of the Novogratz property last week.

Back in Springs, one stop will be Willow Hill, which ARF describes as a relatively undisturbed property occupied by generations of Millers and Talmages, beginning in the mid-18th century. Owned today by Peter Bickford and Greg McCarthy, it contains both the original house and an 1860 barn moved from Canada that serves as a guest house. The gardens are devoted primarily to traditional garden plants, including a lilac variety that came to North America with the early colonists. Deer-resistant plants such as ornamental grasses, nepeta, wisteria, holly and salvia were added in recent years.

While Willow Hill is bordered by wetlands, meadows and a tiny old cemetery, the personal garden of landscape designer Deborah Nevins, which is opening for a public tour for the first time, lies near untouched woodlands, forming what the tour map describes as a contrast between nature and art. Unusual flowers, shrubs and trees overlay a structure created by hedges and trees, including large native ones that dictated where the house and landscape were placed.

Like the Nevins garden, the garden of Annachiara Danieli is on 2 acres, in this case land “transformed from jungle to paradise in 2007.” The landscape architects Oehme, van Sweden opened it up with grasses and perennials and by taming back cedar trees. In addition to an 18th century farmhouse and a 60-foot pool surrounded by plantings, the property contains an arbor, terraces, a shaded greensward and a dining patio “nestled amid anise hyssop, mountain mint and switchgrass.”

Pamela Bicket and Zachary Cohen’s formal garden is said to emphasize pattern and texture with evergreens as well as ornamental trees, shrubs and perennials. The rest of the 6.2-acre property focuses on transitions from lawn to meadow, lawn to woodland, and meadow to woodland. Trees such as hornbeams, tupelos, cryptomeria, fernleaf beeches and Lebanese cedar have been planted near the house, where refreshments will be served the day of the tour, which can be taken in any order.

Like the Bicket-Cohen property, that of another nationally recognized landscape designer, Edwina von Gal, was planted with an eye on keeping deer at bay, in this case as well as on low maintenance and steering clear of toxic chemicals. Designed by Hamilton Smith, the modernist house sits on a salt marsh with views of Accabonac Harbor and a progression of elements including a restored meadow transitioning into trees and lawn, a cottage terrace filled with pots of sedums, a forest under restoration, a vegetable and flower garden, a pear orchard, and a border of flowering herbs. Log walls and haystacks provide structure, screening and interest, according to ARF.

The Leiber museum contains the work of Judith Leiber, a world-renowned designer of handbags, and her husband, Gerson Leiber, a major modernist painter. A retrospective of their work is currently on exhibit at the museum, which also has a garden of its own.

The self-guided tour takes place from noon to 4 p.m., at which time a reception will start (ending at 6) at the Springs home of Marshall Watson and Paul Sparks. An interior designer and columnist for The Press, Mr. Watson was said to be inspired by local Greek revival vernacular with Federalist details and plantation architecture in the choices for the home, with casual elegance inside, including antiques and furnishings from his collections.

Outdoors, the property contains a walled garden surrounding a reflecting pool and fountains, with jasmine, gardenias, camellias and clematis, as well as a seaside garden said to have been “humbled,” like its owner, by deer, Hurricane Sandy and clay soil.

Mr. Watson’s brother, a vintner, will oversee a tasting of wines from the family’s Joullian Vineyards, and there will be local cheese and produce to sample as well.

Tickets, which cost $85, or $175 to include the reception, can be purchased at or by calling (631) 537-0400, extension 219.

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