Greenwood Gardens/Reeves-Reed Arboretum 

By Tory Klose, Friend of the Master Gardeners

Article Photos by Linda DiGasper, Susan Kavy, Gillian Leslie

When we woke on June 7, the sky looked overcast and there was a chill to the air. The Dutchess County Master Gardeners drove almost two hours to Short Hills, New Jersey, home of Greenwood Gardens. It had been pre-arranged for the gardens’ head of horticulture, Sonia Uyterhoeven, to lead the group around the property in this twentieth anniversary year.

The first thing that wows one is the allée of Norway spruce and London plane trees that line the driveway. And it is a very long driveway, so the allée seemed to go on forever.

Originally the property was called Pleasant Days because it was purchased at the turn of the last century by Joseph and Pauline Day, who lived there with their six children. When their wood-frame Victorian-style house burned down in 1911, they hired landscape designer and architect William Whetten Renwick. The Italianate 28-room mansion and gardens, terraces, pergolas, stone follies made of local basalt that Renwick designed survive to the present day. Rookwood tiles and urns are ubiquitous. Matter of fact, Greenwood Gardens has the largest collection of Rookwood on the East Coast!

When Joseph Day died in 1944, the property was sold, and Adelaide, a doctor and the granddaughter of Henry Clay Frick, and Peter Blanchard Jr., a corporate lawyer who worked for the founder of IBM, Thomas Watson, bought it. Sadly, Adelaide died young (at 41) and Peter Jr. spent the remainder of his life tending to both his son, Peter III, and the gardens. It was they who changed the title of the property from Pleasant Days to The Greenwoods, and twenty years ago, Peter III and his wife, Sofia, incorporated the property as a nonprofit and called it Greenwood Gardens. Like father like son: Peter III carried on the passion of his father by enhancing the gardens and structures.

Peter III and Sofia opened the gardens to the public in 2013, and how lucky we are to be able to visit this magnificent garden. In 2021, the Garden Club of America awarded Greenwood its prestigious Zone Historic Preservation Commendation “in recognition of and appreciation for the restoration and preservation of Greenwood Gardens and their commitment to transforming a private estate to a public garden."

Since 2015, Sonia Uyterhoeven has been the head of horticulture at Greenwood and both the Latin and English names of plants and trees came tripping off her tongue. Most impressive. Her CV is longer than most people’s arms, and she contributes to the NYBG weekly blog, Plant Talk, and heads up its home gardening program. She had a friendly openness that made us feel we’d known her forever and could ask her anything. So, the MGs bombarded her with what’s this plant? What’s that one over there? Is this a perennial? As the tour progressed from one terrace to another, what we had thought was an overcast sky was actually smoke from the recent Canadian fires in Nova Scotia that had been blanketing the East Coast. Many of us put on the masks we’d thought we’d left behind forever. 

There are several parts to the gardens’ design, all of which are called the Main Axis. It starts with what is known as the Upper Terrace, or Main Lawn. During the Pleasant Days era, this terrace was filled with benches, planters, decorative Majolica vases, cherry trees, and wisteria-draped pergolas that provided a bit of shade.

A wide, two-level stone staircase goes from the Upper Terrace to the Reflecting Pool Terrace, which boasts a D-shaped pool and three lead dolphins spouting water. These were brought from Adelaide’s girlhood home, Clayton, on Long Island. The next level down is the Croquet Terrace. This was once home to double rows of boxwood that led one to the Garden of the Gods, the final level in the Main Axis.

There are various buildings on the property—for example, the 1920 polyhedral stone Summerhouse and the Arts and Crafts-style Teahouse with a Rookwood tile–encrusted roof, also from 1920—that capture one’s imagination and speak of a bygone era.

Sonia spent two hours walking us through the grounds and giving us the history of the outbuildings as well as the plants and trees. As the tour ended, the smoke in the air grew thicker and we fled to the AC in our cars and drove to our next adventure of the day: the Secret Tea Room at the Reeves-Reed Arboretum managed by Richard Wright in nearby Summit, New Jersey.

Richard, a tall, welcoming fellow with a strong British accent, and live piano music greeted us as we plunked ourselves at two beautifully laid tables in a sunny room. The lunch was a delicious assortment of tea sandwiches (cucumber with cream cheese, freshly baked scones with jam, egg salad, and more on very tasty bread), all washed down with a variety of teas (turmeric-ginger, English breakfast) and a snootful of Prosecco for those who wanted it.

Afterward, John Beirne, a burly bearded hulk of a man, a passionate tree lover and the curatorial director of horticulture and facilities, led us on a two-hour tour of the arboretum, taking time out of a very busy time of year for gardeners. The 13.5 acres is listed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places. He, as had Sonia at Greenwood, explained the history of the property as well as the background of many of the trees and the challenges he faces with leaf-devouring sponge moths and other wonderful plagues Mother Nature throws at him. And again, as with Sonia at Greenwood, John, too, can speak plants in both Latin and English!

Reeves-Reed has had three owners. In 1889, John Horner Wisner, a merchant in the China trade, and his wife, Isabella, bought the property. With the help of Calvert Vaux, Frederick Law Olmstead’s senior partner (you know them as the designers of Central Park), the Wisners came up with an overall landscape plan. They planted specimen trees, created winding pathways and Isabella sowed the first daffodils that formed what is now called the daffodil bowl. Later, in 1916, the second owners, Richard and Susie Reeves, increased that daffodil bowl, which now has 30,000 of them!, extended the gardens and added a rose garden: 286 rose bushes with more than 150 varieties. Floribundas and hybrid teas are planted in a traditional circle-in-a-square pattern. One’s eyes are drawn to the cherub fountain from the Reeves period that is the centerpiece. Climbing roses grow on posts and chains. 

In 1924, the Reeveses hired landscape architect Ellen Biddle Shipman, one of the first women in a male-dominated career, and Carl F. Pilat and from 1924 to 1925 they created the plan one sees today. The gardens are a great example of early-twentieth-century landscape architecture, also known as the Country Place era. It’s Italian in character, symmetrical and axial, creating formal garden rooms off a main axis from the house. Charles and Ann Reed bought the property in 1968 and opened the arboretum, a nonprofit public garden preserved by the City of Summit, in 1974. The variety of trees is stunning: witch hazel, a century-old sugar maple, dozens of beech cultivars, the elephant tree (also probably 100 years old), ginkgoes, a Franklin tree (in honor of Ben), bald cypress, katsuras (weeping and dwarf), sequoias, and sourwood dot the land. It also boasts dogwoods, azaleas, lilacs, deutzia and crabapples.

Between Greenwood and this arboretum there is something for everyone—in gardening, hiking, art, bird-watching, community involvement, or a place for quiet contemplation. The gardens and arboretum represent design trends by prominent landscape architects of the late-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and are now being curated by skillful and knowledgeable twenty-first-century horticulturists. 


By Matthew Shayly, Master Gardener Volunteer Intern

The Dutchess County Master Gardeners have partnered with local food pantries Dutchess Outreach and the Dutchess Community College Pantry to directly provide fresh produce through urban gardening projects during the 2023 growing season. A 4,000 square foot traditional garden is under construction on the Dutchess Community College campus with an expected first planting during the fall of 2023.

At the Cooperative Extension building in Millbrook, a newly constructed greenhouse is being utilized to grow hydroponic tomatoes and test a variety of other vegetables for future seasons.

A drip irrigation system provides nutrient watering every three hours into a rockwool block used as a growing medium. Nutrients are monitored and adjusted daily by Master Gardener volunteers, alongside weekly pruning and trellising of the plants.

The 800 square foot greenhouse currently holds 159 plants.

125 of those are tomatoes, 16 peppers, 9 cucumbers, 6 cantaloupe and 3 eggplants.

The greenhouse will provide a direct source of organic produce to the pantries as well as educational opportunities for the Master Gardeners and community members interested in learning hydroponic gardening. Beginning in June, the greenhouse setup was installed with the first planting on June 3rd.

The tomatoes have since reached a height of eight feet and are beginning the ripening process for the first harvest.

As the project moves forward, avenues are being explored between hydroponic greenhouse growing and the fields of mental health, food insecurity, STEM, and resource conservation within the county.

What's Bugging You?—First Fridays Webinar

Practical Solutions to Pest Problems.

Remaining 2023 Schedule

  • September 1: Right plant, right place | Transplanting trees/shrubs
  • October 6: Jumping worms | Roof gutter pests
  • November 3: Winter garden prep | Tick check reminder
  • December 1: Houseplant IPM | Firewood pests

Click to Register


Van Zanten Garden

August 19 & 20, from dawn to dusk, rain or shine

Frank and Lois Van Zanten will open their garden for public viewing

at 138 Wilbur Avenue, Poughkeepsie.

Meet friends and other gardeners and enjoy light refreshments.

Their garden was in the Garden Conservancy's Open Days program for 3 years and last year and was also visited by the Mad Gardeners (CT). 

For more information, call the Van Zanten’s at 845-242-1279.

College Hill Park Lown Memorial Rock Garden

Every Wednesday until August 30th, 9 am - 12 pm

Interested in gardening, helping pollinators, or contributing to a local historic landmark? Join us at the College Hill Park Lown Memorial Rock Garden, from 9am to 12pm, every Wednesday this summer. No experience needed, tools will be provided, and transportation is available to Vassar students. The Lown Memorial Garden is a wonderful historic rock garden on the east side of College Hill Park in the City of Poughkeepsie.

Natural Dye Workshop with Nicole Campanale

Saturday, September 2, 2023 1 - 4 pm

Beatrix Farrand Garden Association

at Beatrix Farrand Garden at Bellefield, 4097 Albany Post Rd, Hyde Park, NY

Join us for a hands-on workshop with Nicole Campanale, a talented textile artist and gardener who specializes in using natural dyes. In this workshop, you will learn how to create beautiful, unique colors using only natural materials. She will teach us about different kinds of natural fibers and how to prepare them for dyeing, as well as how to identify several dye plants that are easy to grow or collect in the wild.

During the workshop, you will have the opportunity to experiment with different dyeing techniques and create your own samples to take home.

No prior experience is necessary, all materials will be provided, and this event is all ages.


Would you like information on an upcoming gardening event to be shared in this newsletter? 

Please include the date, time, location, a short description, cost and contact information for more details.

Send an email to: Francheska Kuilan at [email protected] by the 20th of each month to be included in the next month’s newsletter.


Spotted Lanternfly

Avoid Home Remedies to Control Spotted Lanternfly

How to destroy spotted lanternfly egg masses

What is late blight?

Late Blight spotted in NY, find out where.

Collaboration brings healing, honoring garden to Akwe:kon

Peach leaf curl

What's wrong with my plant?


Master Gardener Volunteers offer lectures on a wide array of subjects for gardeners. Favorite topics include: Vegetable Gardening; Pollinator Gardens; Home Composting; Sustainable Gardening Best Practices; Gardening in Small Spaces; Deer Defense; Bulbs for All Seasons; Spotted Lanternfly; Jumping Worms, Putting the Garden to Bed in Fall; and Nature in Winter. Additional topics can be prepared to meet a particular group’s needs or interests. Most of these topics are available to be delivered in person or online. 

The talks are 45 minutes in duration, followed by 10-15 minutes for questions from the group. A fee of $75 per lecture (or 3 for $200) helps support our numerous community projects. 

To arrange for a speaker, and details of offerings, contact Francheska Kuilan at [email protected]


Note: We have a brand new presentation on 'Spongy Moths'. Let your local library know you are interested in hearing it and find out what you can do at home to help minimize the damage next year.



Saturday, Aug 5, 10am, Millbrook Library, 3 Friendly Ln, Millbrook, NY 12545.

“Putting Your Garden to Bed”

by CCEDC Master Gardener Volunteer, Philomena Kiernan.

For more information go to:


Did you know ??? Where to look for our booth this month...

Aug 13 Rhinebeck Farmers' Market 10am - 2pm

 Aug 19 Butterflies and Blooms event at Stony Kill 4pm - 7:30pm

Aug 22 - 27 Horticulture Building at Dutchess County Fair 10am - 7pm

Note: The Horticulture Hotline will be closed (8/23) during DC Fair week.

Come visit our booth at the fair!

July 29 Pawling Farmer's Market


Need Soil pH Testing? Need Lawn or Plant Diagnosis?

Have any gardening questions?

The Horticulture Hotline, (845) 677-5067 is open April to October, each Wednesday from 9am to noon. Diagnostics questions can also be submitted to our website at or you can use this quick link Ask Horticulture Diagnostic Lab/Hotline Questions Here. If a photograph is included, please ensure it is focused and as close up as possible. 


Our office is open to the public with staff occasionally working from home. Please call before bringing soil or diagnostic samples to the office at 845-677-8223 or email [email protected] to arrange sample drop-off.

For more information:

Visit our Horticulture Diagnostic Lab website for reliable resources and information on our services.

Cornell University Diagnostic Services:

Gardening Information:

Click Here To Help Spread The Dirt!

Taste NY at Todd Hill

4640 Taconic State Parkway North, Poughkeepsie, NY 12603

Follow Us:

Instagram @tastenytoddhill Facebook @tastenytaconic Twitter @tasteNYTaconic

Join Our Farmers' Market!

We are seeking vendors for our Outdoor Summer market! Interested? Contact [email protected] for more information.




Open year-round

Monday*: 8 AM – 6 PM

Tuesday: Closed

Wednesday: 8 AM – 6 PM

Thursday: 8 AM – 6 PM

Friday: 8 AM – 8 PM

Saturday: 8 AM – 6 PM

Sunday: 9 AM – 7 PM

*Monday Holidays: 9 AM – 6 PM

We are currently in the process of building a new restroom facility. While that takes place, we will have portables located in the park and ride for public use.

Shop Local NY Products

Every product on our store comes from a farm, vendor, or producer in New York. Many of our items are from the Hudson Valley region and all of your purchases help support local businesses!

Order Taste NY products online! 

Last Month:

This is a native vine to our area. Do you know what it is?

Answer: Moonseed

Can you identify this caterpillar recently spotted in our area?

Read Previous Editions of Dutchess Dirt Here

Websites mentioned in Dutchess Dirt are provided as a courtesy to our readers. Mention of these websites does not imply endorsement by Cornell University, Cornell Cooperative Extension or by the author. 

Cornell Cooperative Extension is an employer and educator recognized for valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities and provides equal program and employment opportunities.

The programs provided by this agency are partially funded by monies received from the County of Dutchess.

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