Archives for posts with tag: River stones



Inside – the tulips are blocks of color that pop. Outside – two foot of snow, sheets of ice and sub-zero temperatures.

The Spring Garden shows at Adams are held every March. The shows are setup inside and last for one week. There is a different garden show at each of the four Adams stores (Kingston, Wappinger, Poughkeepsie and Newburgh).  Adams is a family business which developed from a 1900’s farm stand where they left a ‘cigar box’ for customers to leave payment for produce.

  • The shows in Newburgh and Poughkeepsie are usually scheduled for the last week of February
  • The shows in Kingston and Wappinger are usually scheduled for the first week of March
  • check store websites for details!
Wooden sculpture, black bear with blue jay,

Hand carved wooden sculpture of a black bear holding a blue jay

Phil Burley, the Garden Center Manager at the Kingston store was kind enough to explain how the show is produced.

“The Poughkeepsie Landscape Design team create the show. The Kingston staff, including Jason Becker, the Nursery Manager, clear the space and help with the planting, installation and finishing details. People really appreciated this year’s concept – the rustic Adirondack look.”

Weeping cherry tree,

Weeping cherry tree at the side of a ‘creek’ surrounded by spring flowers

“The bulb stock comes from a grower, when the plants arrive they are in the ‘tight bud’ stage, ready to bloom during the Spring Show.  They are placed in the flower beds still in their pots which are covered with mulch.”

Stream with waterfall,

Creek with waterfall

The show includes both natural and artificial stone, a fork lift is used to place the large boulders. There is usually a water feature, this year it’s a natural looking miniature creek with a waterfall.

Fish fountain with sparrow,

Fish fountain – the water flows into the creek

Water always attracts wildlife and there was a pair of sparrows flitting round the fountain. (Previous shows have included Mallard ducks)

Bird sculpture with pansies and chrysanthemums,

Bird sculpture with purple pansies

Fox sculpture,

Red Fox, often seen in the Hudson Valley

Wildlife sculptures are dotted among the flowers.

Garden wall made from stone,

Circular stone wall

Stone patio,

Stone patio with metal garden seat

This patio is constructed with broken blue stone and boulders. The grass in the cracks was planted by hand – one of the many finishing touches that makes the show so impressive. The larger plants are added on the Monday before the show and the bulbs are added last.

Cedar garden structure,

The rustic ‘log home’ is constructed from red cedar logs.

Wooden sculpture, bear and salmon,

Hand carved wooden bear sculpture

In front of the log home is a wooden sculpture of a grizzly bear holding a salmon, this is a hand-made piece. A local folk art tradition, bears are carved with axes or chain saws.

Daffodils and Lilac,

Daffodils and Lilac

You would not believe how lovely the fragrance is! Flowering shrubs such as lilac and small evergreen trees  were put in place about one week before the show opens.

“It’s the temperature that makes the shrubs and plants flower. Mark Adams (son of the owner of Adams Stores) runs five acres of wholesale greenhouses behind the store in Poughkeepsie where he grows some of the annuals used in the spring shows.  The landscape crews sets up small greenhouses in the larger poly house to force the trees and shrubs to bloom just in time. Over the years Mark has gotten the timing down to a science.”

Pieris Shrub in bloom,

Pieris Shrub in bloom

I asked Phil if he had any advice for gardeners in the Hudson Valley:

  • “At this point, it requires patience, it’s not a good idea to do too much work when the ground is very muddy because the soil can become compacted, forcing out air and water pockets that plants need. In Vermont they call this the Mud Season!”
  •  “The prolonged cold temperatures have caused White-tailed deer to be more of an issue this year. The snow has prevented them from finding food and they have traveled and browsed more than usual.”
  •  “The cold winter wind increases transpiration. This and the extra cold temperatures means the roots cannot supply moisture fast enough to the plant, which can cause single branches or possibly the entire plant to die. After determining this, it’s a matter of pruning and removing the dead material.”
  • “Local people are concerned about GMO crops and absence of pollinators such as butterflies and bees. Many seed companies stated that their seeds are ‘GMO free’ this year. Adams stores do not sell GMO crops and offer organic and traditional produce. They source from local farms wherever possible and the Adams family supports many local organizations and charities.”
rock sculpture and vines,

Rock sculpture in the creek with wild grape vines behind

I love the Spring Shows at Adams, to me they are a welcome sign that spring is on the way – keep an eye out for the Adams Spring Shows in 2015!

My morning started with a giant donut in the backyard, powdered sugar everywhere.

Snowy day in the garden. Source:


River stone pillar in the garden. Source:

Pillar covered in stone from the Hudson River

Decided to leave my garden and walk down the road

Catskill Mountains and oak trees in the snow, Hudson Valley, NY. Source:

The snow on the Catskill Mountains turned pink in the morning sun

America Robins in a tree, Hudson Valley, NY. Source:

I saw a flock of about 50 American Robins eating berries in a tree

Bird bath in a snowy garden, Hudson Valley, NY. Source:

Their bird bath was not functional today

Garden sculpture in the snow, Hudson Valley, NY. Source:


The low temperatures make everyone shiver

Garden furniture in the snow, Hudson Valley, NY. Source:

Tea anyone?

Too chilly for breakfast ‘al fresco’ today

Back indoors for a cup of tea, thinking about how the snow makes the familiar look so different.

* With grateful thanks to the gardeners of Saugerties for allowing me to photograph their snow scenes *

Ally, the daughter of sculptor Nick contacted Chronogram Magazine and the result was a reception at Rock Star Meadow hosted by Chronogram and KMOCA where people could see the monumental sculpture for the first time. The sculpture is the result of a collaboration between two artists, Nick and Estelle, whilst a third contributor is Lorraine who selected the plant material.


Mount Tobias is in the backdrop for this ceramic sculpture of a man cradling a bird. Nick greatly admires Irish Cairns and this influence is noticeable  in the stone pedestal.  (Cairns are piles or stacks of stones erected as memorials or markers built from pre-history to the present day).


Beyond the sculpture is a row of walls. The design gives a sense of colorful vines and flowers, the balls on top represent the flower stamens.


The overlapping arrangement adds depth.  Nick and Estelle used stucco on the surface and this was a new technique for them.


As they built the walls, they became aware of the lovely shadows as the light changed.


To the left  is a stepped wall which includes different elements; brick, stone, mosaic and ceramic. Another of Nick’s passions is Minoan architecture from Crete which has influenced the design of the stepped wall.


This is a detail of the arch above the doorway which includes a mosaic design of birds.


Detail from the doorway shows the rich colors and textures of the glass tiles and marbles.


The rear side of the stepped wall is different from the front, a little more somber.



Nick explained that when he and Estelle produced the ceramic sculpture, stucco walls and brick wall, they used different construction techniques. This is because they want to challenge themselves by always trying something new.

This Summer thanks to my good friend Liz, I was lucky enough to attend the first open day of an environmental sculpture that has been 20 years in the making. Constructed by two artists Estelle and Nick, who kindly provided some background information.


This river-stone wall was the first piece built. To Nick, the act of building is important – as is finding the stones and falling in love with the individual stones. Nick is Invited to quarry through a neighbor’s construction site or to visit a stream bed on the property where each stone is individually chosen.


Within the wall there are windows and niches for sculpture (made by Nick and Estelle).


At the end of the wall, the Catskill mountains are visible behind the lonely angel.


This stone pillar stands near the center of the four-acre plot, behind it are two rows of stucco walls representing flowers.


The second item built was the stone garden. The original design was for two separate stone enclosures each containing a sculptural form, as the building progressed Nick and Estelle realized the enclosures could be connected to make a garden.


After a long search for the ‘right’ style, the artists located this fountain in California. Here it is, placed on pea gravel in the center of one of the garden ‘rooms’.


Both Nick and Estelle continue to use new creative approaches and methods when constructing their sculpture. After experiencing some issues with ceramics (cracks and explosions during firing in the kiln) Nick turned to carving. The bust above is a portrait of his granddaughter fashioned from Carrara marble, set within a niche in a garden wall, isn’t it beautiful? I love the sense of stillness.


Throughout the gardens, on top of walls and in niches, are planters containing hardy geraniums, potentilla and coreopsis. The planters are above eye-level so we see the sunlight streaming through the translucent flowers and foliage. Nick’s wife, Lorraine is responsible for the gardening and certainly has a ‘great eye’.


This is the first of several posts about the beautiful structures of Rock Star Meadow, more to follow next Thursday. If you enjoyed this post, click the ‘Like’ button!

Near the Kaaterskill Creek is a garden located in the hollow of a dry creek bed, shaded by Maple and Eastern Cedar trees.

Source: Self

Source: Self

The gardener, Hazel generously explained the history of the garden and the various artifacts within. This is the first of a series of posts in which she shares her ideas and creativity with us. Incorporated into the design are ‘found objects’ from the local environment including smooth river rocks, Hemlock stumps and reclaimed furniture.

Source: Self

Source: Self

The garden was overgrown when Hazel and her family arrived, as they cleared the brush they discovered some daylilies – an indication that there had once been a garden. Now many years later there is a profusion of carefully selected perennials, annuals and shrubs.

Source: Self

Source: Self

Source: Self

Source: Self

From the herbaceous beds, to the right are twin Maple trees with garden furniture beneath them. The yellow chair (a piece of classic Americana) was salvaged from the roadside where is was left on ‘metal refuse collection day’ about 15 years ago. Upon seeing Hazel pressure washing the chair, hubby asked “Why the hell did you bring that home?”  The blue chair is also a classic design called the ‘Adirondack Chair’and it was made by Hazel.

After all that hard work in the garden it’s time for a refreshing cool drink…iced tea anyone?

Source: Self

Source: Self

See more of Hazel’s garden here

%d bloggers like this: