Christopher Spitzmiller and Anthony Bellomo, Millbrook, NY
Open Days Garden: Clove Brook Farm
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In My Garden, September 229, 2020
Christopher calls this orchid form dahlia "the black spider." It's also known as 'Verrone's obsidian'.
The pool house is equally dramatic in September light.
In My Garden, September 22, 2020
Above, sunset over dahlias and hydrangeas in the dovecote garden; below, dahlia closeups with Anthony for scale (he's 6'4")
Seasonal cornucopia! Below, left, gourds and cabbages in the vegetable garden; right, a platter of homegrown tomatoes for a lunch in the dovecote garden
Below, hydrangeas at dovecote garden
In My Garden, September 1, 2020
It's late summer at Clove Brook Farm and the four central beds of the Dovecote Garden are bursting with dahlia blooms.
"This year," Christopher and Anthony report, "we planted each quadrant in a different color:
whites, pinks, oranges, and reds."
"There are several different varieties, and they’ll keep performing from now until frost. Some have reached more than seven feet tall!"
"We love enjoying the dahlias in the garden as well as cut flowers in arrangements throughout the house."
In My Garden, August 18, 2020
Last week, we shared with you some of the beautiful flower arrangements that Christopher and Anthony created for their outdoor dining. This week, we share shots of their lush and "unbelievably jungle-like" kitchen garden, as Anthony refers to it. Below, Anthony shows off some of their gorgeous tomatoes!
In My Garden, August 11, 2020
Anthony is busy at work, trimming the topiary garden (above).
Christopher and Anthony tell us that "On beautiful summer nights, dinner is often served in the topiary garden (above), where various types of lilies, including 'Stargazer' and 'Casa Blanca', make perfect centerpieces. They also work well when we eat indoors (below, right). Tiger lilies are also in full bloom in many different places around the farm (below, left)."
In My Garden, June 30, 2020
“It’s been dry, dry, dry, so all we do is water, water, water!" Christopher tells us. "Thankfully, being in the Clove Valley, we have no issues with the well. The parade of poppies has started. Most of them are opium poppies, which appear on the cover of Martha's Flowers: Growing and Arranging My Favorite Blooms, by Martha Stewart. Martha gave me the seeds about three years ago and they are spectacular. Sometimes we get new crosses that we've never seen before!”
Some of Anthony’s Myrtle topiary, which are happiest on a covered porch.
The Eden Roses on the tuteurs are flowering. "They are climbers and my hope is one day they will spill over and out of their frames," says Christopher. "The Cat’s Meow Catmint, which doesn’t creep, is at its peak right now."
In My Garden, June 9, 2020
"Begun at the end of March, new Kitchen Garden at Clove Brook Farm is growing happily," report Christopher and Anthony. "Gates will soon be installed at either end to keep out hungry critters. The fence is a wooden frame made from locust with an overlay of simple black chicken wire. A vintage urn, a gift from Christopher’s mother, graces the center of the new garden. A small table at one end offers a place to pot up plants, sip coffee, or just contemplate the surroundings. A pair of Gothic benches have also been incorporated and are painted cobalt blue for uniformity and to contrast the various shades of green. We are really looking forward to a bountiful harvest this summer!"
In My Garden, May 19, 2020
Following are a few photos taken on Saturday morning of what’s in bloom right now at Clove Brook Farm.
"The tulips are at their peak inside the Dovecote Garden, as surveyed and approved by Fanny Spitzmiller."
"The tulip mix includes the almost black variety 'Paul Scherer' and some beautiful purples and pinks such as 'Louvre' and 'Purple Prince'. The lighter colors help create contrast; a favorite is the peachy hue of 'Belle du Monde'."
"The lilac border is just beginning to bloom and will soon be bursting with a variety of color from a dozen or so varieties."
"Meanwhile other spring blooming plants include primrose, anemonella, and woodland peonies."
"A sure sign that mild weather is here to stay is when the topiary move outdoors for the growing season."
In My Garden, May 12, 2020
"A fence is going in around our new Kitchen Garden to keep deer and other critters out. The fence will be made of 8-foot high cedar posts, and panels of chicken wire."
"Narcissus 'Winston Churchill' is putting on a spectacular springtime show along the banks of our pond."
"Tulips, Fritillaria, and violas have developed into a riot of color in our Dovecote Garden. Sweet peas and peonies will soon join the mix."
"The biggest stars of this spring at Clove Brook Farm have not been plants, but our baby geese, seen here romping through the lawn of the Pool Garden."
In My Garden: April 28, 2020
"We’re in the process of moving plants out to our cold frames (the dark blue-green boxes, above). The cold frame protects them from the cold at night. When the days are nice, we slowly give them more and more sun to 'harden' them off before being planted out."
"We have started from seed most of the vegetables for our garden: countless varieties of tomatoes, shallots, lettuce, kale, and beans, plus we direct sowed the snap peas. Lots of flower starts. We planted several kinds of amaranth, castor beans, zinnia, and cosmos, and have started cuttings of Salvia 'Amistad'. Our cannas overwintered beautifully."
"The plastic covers a 8 x 50-foot bed of dahlias. It seems to have worked great in this temperate winter. As several friends have pointed out, if it doesn’t work this winter, it never will. Some of the dahlias have already sprouted and the ones that haven’t are firm in the ground. On warm and sunny days, I open up the ends to let it air out. There are also a ton of poppies and a few lupines that will produce an early bloom. I’ll slowly take the top off, as May 15 is our last frost date. Can’t come soon enough!"
In My Garden, April 21, 2020
Christopher's update on installing the new vegetable garden:
"Most of the grass is now taken up. Tried to take out a boulder myself; an excavator is coming to take it out this week(!)"
"We’re also working to improve the soil: hand tilling the soil and mixing in chicken manure compost. Our new rhubarb is planted and, hopefully, we will have the direct-sow peas and beans in soon! Happy with the progress!"
In My Garden: April 7, 2020
"We’re putting in a vegetable garden! One gift Anthony got for Christmas was a fence for his new garden. We’re putting in locust poles with chicken wire eight-feet tall to keep the deer and other critters out. Using black chicken wire, that disappears. Each bed will have at least four different vegetables on it. With big long beds on either end for tomatoes and other wilder vegetables!
"We just planted two persimmon and a plum tree!"
"We have started from seed most of the vegetables for our garden: countless varieties of tomatoes, shallots, lettuce, kale, and beans, plus we direct sowed the snap peas."