5 Public Hudson Valley Gardens You Might Not Know About

There’s nothing that says spring like a stroll through a local garden.

Photo by Emily Hart

Blithewood Garden

30 Campus Road, Red Hook

The Blithewood Garden within the Bard College campus has approximately 45 acres for the public to admire, and features sweeping views of the Catskill Mountains. Blithewood has a classic Italianate style, displaying lively clipped evergreens, zinnias, and climbing roses. Marble ornaments, statuary, and a central water fountain highlight the greenery. The garden overlooks the Hudson River, and Henry Hudson himself anchored at Blithewood when establishing the Red Hook region.

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845.752.LEAF; Open year-round; free admission, donations accepted

Demonstration Gardens at RPI

61 State Street, Troy

Designed as an outdoor classroom, the Demonstration Gardens in North Greenbush demonstrate the benefits plant life has to offer throughout their six specialized sections: Prairie Garden, Ornamental Grass Garden, Fragrance Garden, Butterfly Garden, The Hungry Garden, and Herb Garden. Specific species of plants grow in the Butterfly Garden to feed the larvae, and the adult butterfly traffic is expected to increase as the trees and shrubs continue to grow and give them protection. In the Prairie Garden, the flora is strategically placed to keep the garden colorful throughout the seasons. The Hungry Garden is a vegetable garden that was added in 2008 for local community groups to help feed the less fortunate in the Averill Park, Rensselaer and Troy areas. A gazebo at the highest point of the garden is a popular space for evening education classes.

518.272.4210; Open year-round; free admission

Orange County Arboretum’s 9/11 memorial. Photo by Peter Patel

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Orange County Arboretum

211 Route 416, Montgomery

Within Thomas Bull Memorial Park in Hamptonburgh is the Orange County Arboretum, a beautiful spot filled with trees, shrubs, and plants. Pathways connecting the gardens allow for a relaxing stroll, and the cascading water features create an even more relaxing environment. Also inside is the Remembrance Walkway and Garden, honoring those in Orange County who lost their lives on 9/11.

845.615.3830; Open year-round, free admission

Photo by L. Laken

Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden

28 Deveau Road, North Salem

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The Stroll Garden was designed using traditional Japanese garden techniques for visitors to achieve a deeper understanding of nature. With a stepping stone path, and careful placement of crabapple flowers and curling walking-stick trees, a walk through the garden is supposed to be an experience for the senses: pebbles crunch at your feet, and wind whistles through stalks of bamboo. Guests can appreciate not only the coming together of Eastern and Western culture, but art exhibitions, concerts, special events, and more.

914.669.5033; Open from April to November; non-members $5, $4 for seniors

Hammond Museum

Hammond Museum & Japanese Stroll Garden / Photo by L. Laken

Mountain Top Arboretum

4 Maude Adams Road, Tannersville

With four main areas to traverse, the Mountain Top Arboretum in Tannersville offers plenty of plant and wildlife to explore on this self-guided adventure. Enjoy the Bird Cove and Spiral Labyrinth in the West Meadow, or the newest addition to the park, the Spruce Glen. The grounds take about 40 minutes to traverse, but remember to allow time to catch a lecture or performance at the Amphitheater in the Woodland Walk section — and the Fairy Garden, too!

518.589.3903; Open year-round; members free, non-members $5 minimum donation

Mountain Top Arboretum

Mountain Top Arboretum / Photo by Marc Wolf

Open Days at Local Private Gardens

The Garden Conservancy, a national group who aims to preserve gardens for perpetual enjoyment, arranges annual Open Days to showcase special private gardens. Visitors buy tickets, then receive maps of the properties. This year, homes in Dutchess and Putnam counties participate on March 31, April 28, May 4, June 1.

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