Enthusiastic delegates from 22 New York State chapters of the Garden Club of America (GCA) were in Westchester this week. Green-thumbed horticulturists, historians and civic volunteers from Rochester, Millbrook, Binghamton, Bedford and more – along with officers of the GCA including the Chairs of Conservation and Scholarship attended the Zone III Annual meeting aptly themed “Seeds of Rye.” The 3 day event hosted by the Rye Garden Club and The Little Garden Club of Rye showcased our city’s most treasured gardens and open spaces including the National Historic Landmark Jay Estate. At their visit to the Jay Heritage Center on Wednesday morning, everyone first heard a stimulating talk by Charles Birnbaum, Founder and President of The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF). Charles engaged the audience with a dynamic presentation about the challenges and opportunities facing stewards of America’s designed spaces – how do we protect and interpret “What’s Out There” and make it relevant? Advocacy, dedicated research and active dialogue are some of the effective tools that TCLF offers.
The lecture was followed by walks around the Jay family property; guests were then treated to tasty box lunches served on the veranda overlooking the meadow abuzz with dragonflies. The best reveal was saved for last – a private tour of two of three stone walled garden spaces slated for future rehabilitation and community use. On Wednesday evening, JHC and JHC President Suzanne Clary were further honored by the Garden Club of America with a prestigious Zone Historic Preservation Award in recognition of their work forging a new public private partnership with NY State and Westchester County Parks. Other Westchester organizations receiving accolades and commendations were the Native Plant Center at Westchester Community College and Untermeyer Gardens in Yonkers which received a special Commendation for Historic Preservation.
Photos by Cutty McGill