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North Salem Gardens Open Their Arms

Visitors came from near and far on Sunday to take a tour of North Salem gardens, part of the annual Open Days program sponsored by the Garden Conservancy .

The open gardens included the Perrin Garden on Titicus Road, Keeler Hill Farm on Keeler Lane, Artemis Farm on Wallace Road and Baxter Road’s Duck Hill, home of horticulturist-author, Page Dickey.

It was Dickey, in association with her friend, Penelope Maynard, who initiated the Open Days program.

“I was inspired by England’s ‘Yellow Book’ tours,” she explained. The National Gardens Scheme in Britain promotes garden visits for charity. “I thought, why don’t we have something like that? So I contacted the Garden Conservancy and they said, ‘Sure, we’ll try it.’”

The first Open Days featured gardens in Westchester and Connecticut. That was in 1995. Today the program covers the entire nation.

Pamela and Robert Becker came from Flemington, New Jersey on Sunday to have a look around. “We’ve found that these tours are the best way to see America without being on a freeway,” said Becker. “We build a weekend around garden tours. We see so many creative things, we get ideas for our own garden.” This was their first visit to Westchester gardens.

Eddie Calagno of New Rochelle also came in search of gardening ideas. “I love gardening, and I like to see what other gardeners are doing,” he said.

Waccabuc’s Mary Kaplan said, “I live not too far away. I’ve been coming for three or four years.” She was sitting in Dickey’s garden, taking a brief rest. “This is my fantasy place to live,” she said. “I’d like to wake up here every morning.”

Carol Greenberg, one of the hosts at Artemis Farm, explained that she did all of the planning and planting herself. Then she added, “It’s a lot of work!”

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