A Tour With the Southhampton Garden Club
BY JAMEE GREGORY
PHOTOGRAPHS BY ERIC STRIFFLER
The next property on the tour, Beechwood, owned by Robin and John Pickett, sits on 4.6 acres and was originally part of a grand, untouched Southampton estate. Stately 150-year-old copper beech trees create a magnificent allée between the main house and the pool house and tennis court. In keeping with the property’s name, the new owners planted several other varieties of beech trees, including weeping oak, fern leaf and American beech. They also put in a full panoply of other trees and lush plantings that include zelkovas, cryptomeria, horse chestnut, Chinese elm, Nellie Stevens holly, star and Dr. Merrill magnolia, willow oaks, Japanese maple, dogwood, dawn redwood, Pin oaks, golden rain, crab apple and crepe myrtle. The margins of a garden walk are carpeted in hosta, astilbe, lily of the valley and other shade-loving perennials, while European statuary creates dramatic focal points. Original hydrangeas were replanted, and the addition of many more varieties, including peegees, produces lush blooms and color all season long.
Vintage Cottage Charm
The last stop is a landmark 1880 Shingle Style beach cottage, one of the first in Southampton’s summer colony. Designed with the help of esteemed landscape architect Deborah Nevins, the gardens here demonstrate just how much magic a designer can work on a single acre.
Visitors enter through a privet hedge onto a front lawn and face the house’s 100-foot-long front porch—bordered by floribunda hydrangeas, draped with Dutchman’s Pipe and shaded on its octagonal south end by purple Chinese wisteria. Ornamental cherry trees were preserved to anchor the front lawn, and London Plane trees shade a walk leading to the beach. Flowering shrubs such as Burning Bush, Viburnum, Korean and Miss Kim lilac and indigenous rosa rugosa (beach roses) in magenta and pink form a border facing east. Vinca, English and American ivy and Bowles Myrtle are used as ground cover all over the property. A Charlotte apple tree shades a playhouse on the east lawn. Viburnum and 10-foot white roses of Sharon form a west-facing border for the pool area, further braced by Calfornia privet. Sixty-five-year-old wisteria, Virginia Creeper and clematis cover the 90-foot-long wrought-iron pergola, which sits adjacent to the pool. The west-facing border, which flanks the 65-year-old grapevine- and clematis-covered gate, forms the entrance to the pool area.
Behind the house sits a formal rose garden brimming with Tropicana and David Austin’s Summer Song, Abraham Darby, Heritage and Fair Bianca roses. Brick paths outlined with hedges of sheered California privet define the space, while clipped boxwood separates the flower beds. New Dawn roses and clematis climb interior pyramids, and a Rosa Banksiae Lutea covers a westfacing wall of the house. Cathy Warren of Broadview Gardens cares for all of the garden’s flowers, while Bill Miller of Bill Miller & Associates looks after the property’s trees, hedges and shrubs.