The historic 1864 building was abandoned for 15 years before Rickie and James Tamayo, proprietors of the popular B&B Tamayo, renovated the building and transformed the adjoining vacant plot into a unique garden.
The garden was originally an outdoor dining area for their restaurant (now closed) – the blue stone patio with tables and chairs was screened from the busy road by a stunning dry-laid blue stone wall. The path in the center of the garden now leads to the B&B.
As Rickie explains “In the winter, the bold elements, the walls and arch hold the garden together. The ivy covered arch is most beautiful in the snow. All of us want to see the green ivy leaves peeking through the snow to remind us of spring.”
“We value natural materials and blue stone is native to our area. We love working with different artisans. Sean Fox (Master Stonemason) was a young stonemason when he built the wall. Several people we asked did not want to build a dry-laid wall with pillars to that height, but he is wonderful to work with and very talented, he built a work of art.”
The building was originally covered in Boston Ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata) which is still flourishing today – in the fall the leaves turn a beautiful copper color which is a nice contrast to the English Ivy in the garden. Rickie and James chose English Ivy (Hedera canariensis) because it’s evergreen and there’s no leaf litter to pick up.
Jean Hunter a customer, brought them eight cuttings of ivy from her beautiful garden on the Hudson River ; one cutting for each upright on the arch.
Rickie knows the old adage about English Ivy –
First year, it sleeps. Second year, it creeps. Third year, it leaps!
It took about three years of careful work to get the ivy to fill in on the arch. “We used butcher’s twine (from our restaurant kitchen) to carry the ivy from one metal run to the next until it covered the arch.”
The auction house is no longer there, but Rickie remembers “We bought the metal arch at Danny Malone’s old auction house on Livingston Street in Saugerties. The metal gate includes decorative ivy leaves – we wanted something that would look looked pretty before the ivy grew over the arch.”
A low maintenance garden, they periodically trim any low hanging strands of ivy and add flowering annuals in the summer.
“There have been tons of different annuals over the years, recently we have been too busy dealing with renovations, but this year we will do more work on the annuals and the area around the pergola. It’s going to be an outdoor year! There’s way more shade than there used to be so we will take that into consideration.”
I asked Rickie if she had any advice for Hudson Valley gardeners:
“No advice! There are so many better gardeners, so many great gardeners in the Hudson Valley and Saugerties! I am a ‘Seat-Of-Your-Pants’ gardener, we used our imagination. For example we had a vision of how we wanted the arch to look and it turned out just as we envisioned it.”
“If you stand back down Jane Street (opposite the garden) and look at the wall and ivy arch – I just love the view. Tourists and locals come to the arch and take pictures, it makes them happy. It’s all about creating a great environment where you work and it’s important in a village like Saugerties to have beautiful space”.
This blue stone and ivy garden is an unusual and beautiful addition to the Saugerties Village business district.
* Thank you Rickie and James for being so generous with your time and talent, and thank you for the interview! *
Here’s some relevant connections you may find helpful
Contact B&B Tamayo. James Tamayo is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. Services include cooking classes and parties, check out the website for details.
Contact Sean Fox, Master Stonemason at Authentic Stone Works, Hurley NY
Contact Augustine Nursery, Kingston NY
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