Field Trip: Long House Reserve

– Posted in: Miscellaneous

I was in Long Island over the weekend, to give a lecture in Southampton. Luckily, I had an intrepid host who took me garden touring even though it was a near monsoon. We went to a Long house Reserve, a private garden in the midst of making the transition to a public space. It was a modernist kind of garden, almost minimalist in some places. But, wow! Did they have some color. I loved their red border, above.

The Dale Chihuly installation at pond’s edge, positively glowed in the gloom.

As did these glass veggie-like objects nestled into a sandy bank.

It wasn’t all knock-your-eyes-out color, though. The simply earthy hues of this scene were entrancing.

And the almost oriental simplicity of this vignette was a real grabber.

We also stopped at a garden in Wainscott, the Biercuk/Luckey garden, which is open at times for the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days Program. It’s well worth a stop, and later in the season when it transforms into a purple and orange tropical extravaganza.

Steve Silk

Steve Silk

Steve Silk

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Frances May 12, 2008, 6:24 pm

That is the most amazing use of garden ornament and color. You don’t even notice the plants, in the photos anyway. Was the red area as brilliant in real life, or more so? Those glass gourds are exquisite, but they look fragile, not to be left out all the time are they? Wonderful, thanks for showing us.

Yes Frances, the whole place is really about the display of objects and its full of sculptural spaces which are perfect for staging artwork. But the garden colors are VIVID-those reds just glowed in the gloomy weather, as if they were lit from within. So did the glass, which I’m sure must spend winters indoors.–Steve

Lisa at Greenbow May 12, 2008, 9:02 pm

What knock out displays. I love Chihuly glass in the garden. I got to see the display in Chicago a few years ago. I didn’t ever really like glass until I saw this display. It is tremendous. I can’t imagine having it in a real garden though. I would be worried that it would be broken. I do like to look at it though.

Yes Lisa, Chihuly has the touch for contemporary but timeless-looking garden ornaments. No idea how fragile they are, but I sure wouldn’t leave them outside for winter either. I can’t imagine they do that at LongHouse.–Steve

Bonnie May 12, 2008, 9:50 pm

Great photo- that border with the color in the background is amazing.

Thanks Bonnie–It’s eye-catching alright. Two rows of azaleas punctuated by painted posts–simple but spectacular.–Steve

Les May 13, 2008, 6:24 am

I hope that something in my garden may sprout a Chihuly this year. The garden looks like a very interesting place.

Hi Les–I know what you mean–if only Chihuly glass wares would sprout in my garden. Too bad you can’t just buy some seeds.–Steve

Gail May 13, 2008, 8:40 am

This is too amazing…I love Chihuly installations and had only seen them in public gardens. The structure seen through the cobalt blue spears is awesome.


Hi Gail–I wish they’d come up with some Chihuly lookalike stuff for the rest of us. In the meantime we can admire it at places like LongHouse Reserve.–Steve

our friend Ben May 13, 2008, 2:39 pm

Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow, oh wow!!!!! Steve, WHAT an inspiration. Thank you so much!!!

Elly–You took the words right out of my mouth, or at least my brain. My jaw just dropped when I saw that red border, and then to have that followed up by the Chilhuly stuff, well…Oh wow! Oh wow!.–Steve

Sandra May 13, 2008, 9:58 pm

About 15 years ago, we came to the conclusion that our north fence had to be replaced, well, it was knocked down by our neighbours, what more can I say. So we decide to build an 8 foot fence with panels attached to round posts. We painted the posts Chinese red. I loved those posts especially in the snowy winter.

Sounds great Sandra. And do you plant lots of colorful foliage around those, or surround them with bright blooms? I too love brrightly painted objects in the winter.–Steve

Jean Ann May 14, 2008, 10:42 am

Yummy! Those colors make my mouth water…what a bold design…why are so many people afraid to use red in the garden?

Hi Jean Ann– I think red is one of the most challenging colors-there are blue-reds and orangey-reds, and they look awful together. So you have to keep to one side of the color or the other. Or be very, very skillful. I’ve been trying a red area for a few years. It’s mostly annuals so I can re-invent it every year. Maybe this year will be “the one.” I hope.–Steve

Tina Ramsey May 14, 2008, 2:36 pm

This is the kind of garden I’d love to tour! I love the ‘whimsy’. The other kind are the castle gardens of Europe, but they are totally different aren’t they? No whimsy there.

Yes Tina, someone’s having a lot of fun here. But I once went to a water garden outside Salzburg, some old muckety-muck’s palace, and this thing was full of surprise bursts of water, erupting fountains, etc. It must have been very hard for a guest to get home dry. But fun!–Steve

Layanee May 15, 2008, 9:22 am

Okay, let’s all go and visit! It is like a crayola crayon garden. Very interesting.

Hi Layanee–A crayola garden? I like that notion. It’s definitely worth a visit. And how about Tower Hill? I never did get there yet this year, I wanted to catch their tulip display but guess it’s too late for that now. Any big crescendoes of color coming up there that you know about?–Steve

Tina Ramsey May 15, 2008, 10:24 pm

Sounds interesting! Some European gardens do have some whimsy. My favorite in them are the follies and paintings. Have you toured lots of gardens in Europe? I am thinking of one in Schwetzingen Germany outside of Heidelberg. It had an old world painting at the end of a tunnel which looked like scenery that changed depending on the outside light. Do you know this place? I have never seen anything like it. I went to Salzberg once-in the winter. Would’ve loved to have toured more gardens. This one is neat and to think it is here in the U.S. I gotta get out more I think. Have a great evening.

Hi Tina–No , i’ve only visited a few in Bavaria and in Austria in the Salzburg area. I go more often in winter, though haven’t been at all for a few years now. But that water garden place couldn’t have more follies–they have a huge grotto, all those water surprises, seashell constructions, etc.–Steve

Curtis May 16, 2008, 8:30 am

Very interesting garden. They are not afraid to use color garden ortaments and it works.

I agree Curtis, interesting indeed. They are really bold in the presentation of colored ornament, seems to be a good way to go.–Steve

Matko Tomicic June 15, 2008, 9:54 pm

Dear Steve,

Please note LongHouse is spelled as one word with “L” and “H” in caps. Nice pitcures.
We are public garden and general public can visit. Please visit our website for details.


Matko Tomicic
Executive Director

LongHouse Reserve
133 Hands Creek Road
East Hampton, NY 11937
t. 631 329 3568 f. 631 329 4299
[email protected]

Thanks Matko! Sorry about my version of LongHouse. However you spell it, it’s one superlative, eye-popping garden. And worth making every effort to visit, even in garden rich Long Island. I hope I can get back there on a day when the rain isn’t teeming down.–Steve

Matko Tomicic June 15, 2008, 9:59 pm

To Frances and Lisa!

At LongHouse we actually do leave outdoors year around Chihuly Cobalt Blue Spears and Niijima Floats (not pictures). However, Onion like pieces go indoors.

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