Sunday, May 8, 2011

Garden writer Suzy Bales and her Long Island garden

Photo courtesy
of Suzy Bales
Jolanta and I enjoyed a rare privilege of a visit to the Centre Island garden of Suzy Bales.

Suzy authored 14 books devoted to the enjoyment and benefits of gardening of which the latest three we carry at Think Long Island First - 'Garden Bouquets and Beyond', 'The Garden in Winter', and 'The Down-To-Earth Gardener'. In addition to books, Suzy wrote numerous articles for The New York Times, Newsday, Better Homes & Gardens, Family Circle, and Huffintgon Post, among others. She also appeared frequently on ABC and NBC. Among the accolades she received for her work were the Garden Writer of the Year Award from the American Horticultural Society and the Quill and Trowel Awards by The Garden Writers of America.

Photo by Ewa Rumprecht
Suzy's writing is a joy. Take the 'The Down-To-Earth Gardener' - Suzy describes hydrangeas as 'Shrubs with political aspirations, they change their flower color to fit the soil'. The story of the first outing in her better-than-diamonds dump truck with an impromptu demonstration of its capabilities to an awed audience of drivers at a truck stop is priceless.

Photo by Ewa Rumprecht
Her books are filled with photographs depicting the beauty and colors of her garden at different seasons. As of early May, the time of our visit, her garden was full of blooming lilacs and apple trees. Late tulips were still glorious, blue forget-me-nots spread all around. We have toured the garden accompanied by Suzy's two friendly dogs, Teddy and Max. They added the contrasting and constantly moving patches of white to both sunny and shady areas of the garden.

Photo by Ewa Rumprecht
When on Long Island Suzy spends 4-5 hours a day in her garden, more in the spring. Her labor of love is an expression of a life-long passion for flowers. She extended her horticultural knowledge with classes at The New York Botanical Garden, met many growers while working for Burpee, had countless contacts with experts in the field either as a student or fellow lecturer at various events around the country and overseas.

Photo by Ewa Rumprecht
Her advice for those who embark on an adventure of starting a garden - don't be afraid of trial and error. Learn to listen to what your garden tells you - if a plant thrives and reseeds in one spot grow more of, if it fails after three seasons, remove it. Use common sense. Don't use chemicals. Shred your leaves. Compost. Mulch to keep moisture in and weeds out. Plant an oak tree to keep a great diversity of native species around you.

Photo by Ewa Rumprecht
More information about the author can be found on her website

You may get a chance to visit her garden on June 15th as part of the Oyster Bay Garden Tour organized by the Oyster Bay Main Street Association. The event includes a tour of four private Oyster Bay gardens, a book signing by Suzy Bales, luncheon at the Planting Fields Arboretum, and a lecture by the Arboretum's director, Vincent Simeone.

1 comment:

  1. The Long Island Garden is truly beautiful. One of the most beautiful garden that I have seen. It is quite Eden here in Earth.