Secret Garden

Expansive property adds enchanting feature to the mix
FLORAL ESCAPE // Fully enclosed, this flower and vegetable garden also features fruit trees, a strolling path, and a gorgeous custom cut-out gate. // Photo by Jason Willis

The main goal for a private cutting garden on a 600-acre family estate in Metamora designed by R. Youngblood & Co., a landscape architecture and design/build firm in Rochester, was pretty straightforward. “(The homeowner is) very much into vases and flower arrangements inside her home. With the cutting garden, she can walk out and cut fresh flowers, or take a stroll and simply enjoy time within the cutting garden,” says Ryan Youngblood, president/design director of the company. “Another must-have was that it had to be protected from deer and other wildlife, so it’s fully enclosed — but in a very tasteful way.”

The garden’s featured blooms represent the color tones and textures his client wished to see in her arrangements, such as purples, blues, and whites. It also includes several hydrangeas and a rose garden with varied palettes and petal types, as well as daisies, black-eyed Susans, purple coneflowers, gladiolus, and iris.

Youngblood estimates the cutting garden occupies about a quarter of an acre on the expansive land. “The largest challenge was designing an enclosure that was very tasteful,” he says about the cedar fence with wire panels. “The entire property and the architecture have a timeless feel. A new piece has to look like it’s been there for years, which is why we used a lot of old-school plants like gladiolus, hollyhocks, and tea roses.”

At the entrance, a classic pergola surrounds a charming garden gate. “The garden gate is a very special feature that was designed like more of a garden door, with a large circle cutout that allows you to stand and take the garden in,” Youngblood says. Special elements within the cutting garden include a seating area to soak up the sumptuous surroundings, and chipped granite pathways that weave their way around the intimate space.

“The paths themselves are strategically intertwined with each other. They encourage a stroll the way it’s laid out,” Youngblood adds. An enclosed vegetable garden for the family also yields a productive strawberry crop. Foundation plants include sphere boxwoods and espalier pear trees, which bear edible fruit.

Like fine wine, the cutting garden only gets better with age. “It’s a working harvest garden from the standpoint of fruit and vegetables,” Youngblood explains. “We built it three summers ago and it’s been functional for two full summers. It’s becoming more established and feels more lush, and the textures and colors are threading together as intended.”

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Text by Jeanine Matlow | Photography by Jason Willis