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Balance has always served skating champ Dick Button well



Photographs by Rana Faure

Dick Button’s garden is carefully choreographed. But what might catch visitors off guard is the level of horticultural savvy plugging into his 48 acres in North Salem. Turns out, the champion figure skater, skating analyst, actor, and author is also a visionary landscape designer. And hearing botanical Latin rolling off the sports commenter’s tongue with the greatest of ease might seem like a stretch, even for the ultimate Renaissance man.

Ask Dick Button, author of Push Dick’s Button (CreateSpace, 2013), about his impetus to purchase Ice Pond Farm back in 1979, and the athlete who won his first figure skating Olympic Championship and World Championship at the age of 18 points to his family and the need for an appropriate place to raise two outdoorsy children. What happened later was just a further spin.

Upon purchase, the property was well-endowed with a check list of old buildings in need of repair. It came fully equipped with a litany of barns, an ice house, outhouse, smoke house, spring house, and farmhouse—all of which remain standing in much better condition than when Button arrived. But just as you would suspect, a pond restoration was one of the earliest projects on the agenda at the “old retired farm.”

The silt-filled pond was in desperate need of a full overhaul as well as a dam to render it skate-worthy, but nonetheless, it was a major factor in the selection of the site. Not far away was an impressive sledding hill for the kids. Winter was given full play on the site. But summer also had its perks.

Actually, the first project upon purchase of the property was a swimming pool for the kids. So, filling the various seasons became a critical facet of the agenda. Even back then, Button was thinking like a garden designer, placing the pool discretely where it would disappear during the nine months when it was not in service for splashing and back stroke purposes. Ultimately, it was framed in a flowing garden. Ditto for the other buildings in residence—they were all given gardens as a common thread.

Dick Button was thinking off-the-beaten-track from the beginning, but not before voraciously researching his options. Button does nothing impetuously. Although he has an arsenal of freestyle plans up his sleeve, he does the fieldwork to test out his theories prior to letting them glide. Of his many interests, gardening began to gradually take priority.

Now, Button is really on the cutting edge of what’s happening horticulturally. He attends seminars, reads books, flips through magazines, and hobnobs with fellow aficionados to tweak his plans before digging in. Not surprisingly, movement through the garden and the staging of the landscape are key.

Of course, balance is also a concept in constant scrutiny by the legendary figure skater. And wit is liberally sprinkled in. Whether it’s a statue that reminds him of a fellow figure skater or the placement of a focal point, Button is always choreographing his presentation, weighing shapes and rhythms of form and color. “I’m forever assessing,” he’s the first to admit. Although he insists that serendipity plays a constant role, fact is, seemingly “happy accidents” are often craftily devised.

The result is a garden of many moods. And Ice Pond Farm is never done. Button often asks, “Doesn’t every gardener rethink their garden continually?” And yet, at the root of his landscape is still the old farm with its structures purchased nearly 40 years ago and the simplicity of its surroundings. “I always think about the whole space,” he explains. As a result, the garden glides along smoothly with an occasional jump, lift, and twirl. Beauty and grace have been woven into Ice Pond Farm in a program that will make your heart flip.

 

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July 2018

Sunday, July 22, 2018 – Green Expo at 12pm – Performance at 2pm People’s United Bank Presents  Shakespeare on the Green & Green Expo: Hamlet A FREE...

Cost: free

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The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 E Ridge Rd
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Sponsor: The Ridgefield Playhouse
Telephone: 203-438-5795
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Games, Crafts, Live Music, Watermelon and fun for the entire family on the library lawn. Sunday, July 22nd from 2:00-4:00 PM No registration, just show up. Sponsored by the Friends of the...

Cost: free

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Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
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Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
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Cost: free

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Sponsor: Keeler Library
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Cost: $125

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The Ridgefield Playhouse
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Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

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Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
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Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
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Cost: Free

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Heather Gaudio Fine Art
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Sponsor: Keeler Library
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Cost: $19.08

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AMC Danbury 16
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Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
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Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

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Cost: Free

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Maritime Garage Gallery
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Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
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Cost: Free

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66 Elm Street
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Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
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Cost: $35

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Sponsor: Red Bee Honey
Contact Name: Emily Sabo, Events Manager
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Cost: free

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Keeler Library
276 titicus road
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Sponsor: Keeler Library
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Cost: $67

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The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 E Ridge Rd
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Sponsor: The Ridgefield Playhouse
Telephone: 203-438-5795
Contact Name: Vania Saintfery
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On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
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Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Burn Baby Burn”, a group exhibition featuring works by Kathleen Kucka, Dennis...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
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Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
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Looking for some family-friendly activities this summer? Visiting museums is educational and engaging for even young children, but tickets can often be expensive. Luckily, The Friends of Keeler...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
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View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

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Cost: $77.50

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The Ridgefield Playhouse
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Sponsor: The Ridgefield Playhouse
Telephone: 203-438-5795
Contact Name: Vania Saintfery
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Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
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Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Burn Baby Burn”, a group exhibition featuring works by Kathleen Kucka, Dennis...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
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Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
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Looking for some family-friendly activities this summer? Visiting museums is educational and engaging for even young children, but tickets can often be expensive. Luckily, The Friends of Keeler...

Cost: free

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Keeler Library
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Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
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Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
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Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
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Cost: $39.50

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 E Ridge Rd
Ridgefield, CT  06879
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Sponsor: The Ridgefield Playhouse
Telephone: 203-438-5795
Contact Name: Vania Saintfery
Website »

More information

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Burn Baby Burn”, a group exhibition featuring works by Kathleen Kucka, Dennis...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
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Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
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Cost: donation

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Road
New Milford, CT  06776
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Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farm
Telephone: 860.355.0300
Contact Name: John C. Maxwell III
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Looking for some family-friendly activities this summer? Visiting museums is educational and engaging for even young children, but tickets can often be expensive. Luckily, The Friends of Keeler...

Cost: free

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Keeler Library
276 titicus road
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View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
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More information

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Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

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Cost: $77.50 Gold Circle | $67.50 Orchestra | $57.50 Mezzanine & Balcony

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 E Ridge Rd
Ridgefield, CT  06879
View map »


Sponsor: The Ridgefield Playhouse
Telephone: 203-438-5795
Contact Name: Vania Saintfery
Website »

More information

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Burn Baby Burn”, a group exhibition featuring works by Kathleen Kucka, Dennis...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

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The Golf Performance Center is hosting an Open House to showcase the facility and its programs. Try out our technology, talk with our golf experts, sample refreshments from our Energy Zone, and...

Where:
The Golf Performance Center
824 Ethan Allen Hwy
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Website »

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Join us Saturday, July 28, 2018 for the 7th Annual Westside Reggae Festival presented by Heart and Soul Entertainment. Featured artists include Culture "with the lead vocals of Kenyatta...

Cost: Advanced: $15- $35; At the gate: $25-$45

Where:
Ives Concert Park
43 Lake Ave Ext
Danbury, CT  06811
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Sponsor: Heart and Soul Entertainment
Telephone: 203-470-1141
Contact Name: Terrance Jack
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More information

Looking for some family-friendly activities this summer? Visiting museums is educational and engaging for even young children, but tickets can often be expensive. Luckily, The Friends of Keeler...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 titicus road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

Blackmore’s Night seamlessly weaves together elements of modern folk, renaissance and progressive rock music in a style that can only be defined as their own, performing sold-out shows all...

Cost: $52.50

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 E Ridge Rd
Ridgefield, CT  06879
View map »


Sponsor: The Ridgefield Playhouse
Telephone: 203-438-5795
Contact Name: Vania Saintfery
Website »

More information

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

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Cost: Three and Five Class Packages (3 times for $33, 5 times for $42)

Where:
Vary with each class
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More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Burn Baby Burn”, a group exhibition featuring works by Kathleen Kucka, Dennis...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
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Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
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