Tour a Garden in the Fire Island Pines

Home and Backyard: A perspective towards the 1960s A-body, where it all began.
Photograph: Annie Schlechter

When Sumner Freeman acquired this 1960s A-frame household in Fire Island Pines in 1980, the home it sat on was so obscured by poison ivy, catbrier, and Virginia creeper that he couldn’t even see it, and but it identified as to him. “It was charming, and I could see the options, and it suited me,” Freeman claims. In the 1990s, he bought the property upcoming doorway and then, in the aughts, with his lover Roy Yeager, additional a 3rd. They rent out all but the A-body, but they had space to broaden the yard. It’s a quick stroll to the seaside when you occur on it, it feels like one more world.

Freeman is a retired doctor and Yeager is a retired dentist. Travels near and significantly have inspired different features, which include visits to the Chanticleer yard in Philadelphia, where by they received the thought for the arched bridge, and a excursion to China, which inspired the major of quite a few waterfalls, and Sissinghurst Castle in the U.K., where they bought the idea for a white backyard. The ponds and low bridges had been impressed by Monet’s back garden at Giverny.

Yeager experienced often savored gardening, “except weeding my parent’s yard when I was a child,” he claims, laughing. But a back garden was not a aspect of Freeman’s everyday living increasing up in Haverhill, Massachusetts. Then, when he purchased the very first home, the north back garden took two yrs just to obvious. Freeman credits the expertise and capabilities of landscape designer and artist Ken Ruzicka and his staff for bringing the couple’s eyesight to daily life. “He and his workmen have accomplished all the major get the job done.”

The backyard garden is laid out in four directions that guide to one particular an additional: The north, or “shade,” yard, stays quite wild and consists of the boardwalk route that meanders by means of the trees, passing a waterfall and a stream. The couple planted a compact orchard nearby with apple, pear, cherry, and peach trees, and strawberries and blueberries appear in period. There are also century-previous swamp maples, indigenous to the place.

The west, or “formal,” back garden was designed up on sand dredged from the swampy aspect of the house, which permit them build a pond as nicely. (The pond h2o rises and falls with the tides.) They then included topsoil. The official back garden incorporates largely perennials with additional annuals for shade — there are roses and sunflowers — and has what Freeman calls a “French accent.”

It was Ruzicka’s strategy to repurpose concrete cesspool addresses for the path around the pond. “You know, it’s challenging to transport something out to the island,” Freeman says. “And whatsoever you have has obtained to be applied and reused.” The rocks have been transported from North Shore quarries.

The south, or “container,” yard capabilities generally annuals, which includes zinnias.

By advantage of its style, the garden feels much much larger than the fifty percent-acre it covers. “Every put, every switch, every single twist has a seating region,” Freeman says. “It’s not intended for a speedy view.”

West Yard: The arched bridge was influenced by a person in the Chanticleer backyard garden in Philadelphia.

West Garden: Freeman noted that “we recycle the annual crops in the compost heap and use that soil as perfectly.” The sculpture in the foreground is by Marcia Donahue, who Freeman had contacted right after viewing her get the job done at Chanticleer.

North Backyard garden: The boardwalk path starts at the entrance gate and meanders via pines, sassafras, and oaks.

Photos by Annie Schlechter

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