Gardening: Vocation And Avocation


By Dagmar Fors Karppi

It was Show and Tell day at the Locust Valley Garden Club at their recent meeting as members displayed floral arrangements based on a work of art, followed by two gardeners who told the nitty-gritty details of transforming a natural disaster into a masterpiece garden.

Tables were set up along the walls of the first room at Bailey Arboretum. Floral Display event chair Judith McQuiston had covered them with burlap as a general backdrop for the nine arrangements brought in by members.

Club president Janet Doctors described a few of the displays.

Garden Conservancy President Jenny DuPont with Dean Yoder and Jonathan Grimm. (Photos by Dagmar Fors Karppi)

“I decorated a straw hat with flowers. My painting was ‘Two Sisters’ by Renoir and they were both wearing hats,” said Doctors. “Susan Caravello made an Ikebana arrangement and displayed a Japanese print. Margie Hepp made two displays since she knew we had fewer than planned. Both of hers were exquisite. One was based on a needlepoint she made of a vase with a bird on it. Another was based on Native American designs she saw while touring the National Parks out west. Judy McQuiston showed a lovely watercolor of daisies she bought on a trip to Russia. She reproduced the flowers in the painting with flowers from her garden.”

The Garden Tour

The slide presentation by interior designer Dean Yoder and husband Jonathan Grimm, designer and craftsman, left everyone in awe. They showed how they transformed their property into a site worthy of being part of the Garden Conservancy Tour on Long Island this June.

“It was great. They had photos of what the property looked like before, during and after. Dean did most of the talking and Jonathan worked the computer and added information here and there,” said Doctors. “They had photos of the two of them working all these heavy machines, which they rented. Some of the ladies were amazed. They didn’t know the men did all the work themselves.”

The Lord & Burnham glass hot house that Jonathan Grimm (right) is refurbishing.

Their Glen Cove garden was the last visit on the tour for Garden Conservancy president Jenny DuPont. The mission of the Garden Conservancy is to save and share outstanding American gardens for the education and inspiration of the public. The June date for the tour was chosen to highlight the Rhododendrons in full bloom at Mary Phipps Estate in Old Westbury.

The Glen Cove garden is inspirational. The men worked over six and a half years to transform the site on what was known as Doctor’s Row, an affluent area in Glen Cove, just down the road from Glen Cove Hospital. Before Yoder and Grimm rescued the property, it had been a half-way house for women. There was a chain link fence around the property, a dog run outside and red shag carpeting inside. Luckily, the great price reflected the amount of work that needed to be done to transform the community disaster into a showplace. The neighbors all welcomed the change.

The re-circulating fountain with a bronze centerpiece that Jonathan crafted.

The work included taking out about a dozen maples and putting in a prized copper beech they had always wanted. There is a Chinese Pagoda that is a hen house; a Lord & Burnham glass hot house rescued from the wrecking ball at a Gold Coast estate that is being refurbished; a fountain with recirculating water; a croquet lawn; the statue of a nymph being restored and arrangements everywhere of blooming flowers to enchant the eye. The garden will be on the Garden Conservancy Tour next year, according to Yoder.

The next club meeting is on Sept. 9, at 10 a.m. Tom Golon of Wonderland Trees will be speaking on tree care. Program co-chair McQuiston said his talk will include the life span of trees, diseases and pruning the specimen trees at Bailey Arboretum, which they do. New members are welcome to attend. The luncheon cost is a donation of $10. For more information, call membership chair Gerry McKey at 516-671-8987.

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