Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Feeding the monkey

Feeding the monkey on the back of every plant-aholic, that is ...

In response to my post "Calling all plant geeks!" Kathy wrote about buying peonies from the historic gardens at Locust Grove in Poughkeepsie. (You can read her response under Comments.)

Buying plants from local historic sites is great. Not only can you usually find some beautiful heirloom plants, but the sales also benefit our regional museums, parks, and the like.

In fact, there’s a really great sale coming up soon, the 18th Annual Hudson Bush Plant and Garden Exchange at Clermont State Historic Site. It runs from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday. (The site is off Route 9G just north of Tivoli and the Dutchess-Columbia county border. It's not in Hudson, despite the name.) The folks at Clermont say that more than 30 vendors and exhibitors are expected at this year's sale and exchange, which attracted nearly 2,000 people from throughout the Hudson Valley last year. Vendors include specialty nurseries, private gardeners and purveyors of unique garden ornaments and furniture. The Friends of Clermont will be selling plants divided from the historic gardens at the site. Food and beverages will be sold too.

Event chair Jane Lehmuller suggests that you arrive early to get the best selection of plants. The gates to the site will open at 10 a.m. But an Early Buyers Breakfast Ticket is available to the public for $20, which will allows access to the site at 9 a.m. for an hour of leisurely shopping and includes a continental breakfast. A $5 per vehicle Special Event fee will be charged starting at 11 a.m.

Charles Baker and Dr. Norman Posner established the annual exchange at the Hudson Bush Farm in Greenport in 1990, and 10 years later the sale was moved to the Clermont estate and the Friends of Clermont, a private, non-profit educational organization began managing the sale.

The Clermont estate was the home of seven successive generation of the Livingston family, and now is a museum and park owned by the state. The grounds feature several formal gardens created in the early 20th century by Alice Delafield Clarkson Livingston. Restoration of a portion of the wall in the formal walled garden at Clermont was completed last year by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, in partnership with the Friends of Clermont. The public is encouraged to visit Mrs. Livingston's gardens during the plant sale

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