People love parks and their stewards! A packed room at American Yacht Club in Rye listened intently to the incomparable public parks designer and advocate Lynden B. Miller. Miller is renowned for her brilliant restoration of Olmsted’s Central Park Conservancy Garden, the revitalization of Bryant Park, the Heather Garden at Fort Tryon and a myriad of green oases in Upper Manhattan. She was introduced by long time friend and colleague Ira M. Millstein, the former Chairman of the Central Park Conservancy and current Chairman of the Central Park Conservancy Institute for Parks. Both underscored how the success of any park, including the Jay Estate, truly relies on a foundation of private and public investment, a commitment to maintenance and best management practices, anchored by a core group of volunteers (Tuesdays are preferred!) The audience enjoyed a presentation of gorgeous before and after photos that illustrated the impact that good bones, soil preparation and wise plant selection can have in a garden through all four seasons.
The resonance of their message was echoed in a second presentation by noted American arts specialist and Winthertur expert Jay E. Cantor. Cantor traced the evolution of Henry F. du Pont’s iconic estate from private to public domain. With a choice selection of slides, he explained how du Pont’s passion for creating an unsurpassed collection of decorative arts pieces spilled out into his landscape as well; the vibrant rose colors of his coveted Staffordshire china are echoed in swathes of Japanese azaleas throughout the grounds. Though many associate Winterthur primarily with antiques and interiors, Cantor emphasized Du Pont’s equal fascination and success with horticulture and agriculture. Drifts of daffodils planted 20,000 bulbs at a time throughout the Delaware woodlands had guest dreaming of what similar plantings might look like in Rye.
The event was Co-chaired by Elisabeth Casey, Liz Garrett, Keelin Pye and Carol Sellon. Guests were mesmerized by both talks and distracted only occasionally by the scent of fresh gingerbread in the air – whimsical hearth centerpieces created by Sweet Lisa’s of Cos Cob, Connecticut were raffled off to 12 lucky winners.