Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Garden Envy

A Nod Hill Charmer is Blooming and Beautiful



Photos by Rana Faure

Twenty years ago, when Sandi Blaze and her husband Wiley Bell moved into their 18th- century Nod Hill antique charmer with their three young children, there was plenty of work to be done. The entire property had been sorely neglected and there were only two garden beds 18 inches wide planted with a few ho-hum perennials on the four-acre lot.

The transformation that has taken place over the last two decades is nothing short of spectacular. Today there are 12 exquisitely beautiful flowerbeds, as well as a vegetable garden and many fruit trees. 

When Blaze first laid eyes on the grounds, she knew there was enormous potential but she also recognized that a great deal of manual labor and thoughtful planning would be required to tame the tangle of out-of-control flora that was actively taking over.

First came the removal of leggy yews and an abundance of poison ivy. Next came dealing with the massive junipers that completely cut off the stone terrace closest to the house. 

The shrubs were so ancient and entrenched that the new homeowners had to use a truck and heavy gauge chains to literally yank out dozens of these shrubs. But these exertions paid unexpected dividends.

“When stripped out the juniper, we discovered a granite ledge. My husband and I felt like archeologists when we also uncovered a thin copper pipe that led to a stone bridge and an old fish pond.” 

Next, they relocated Viburnam that had grown so tall that it almost completely prevented light from entering the living room. Once things were tidied up, Blaze rolled up her sleeves once a gain and dug into the dirt.

 “In my mind’s eye I saw a blueprint of our gardens as they exist today. My goal in the design was to have something blooming from spring through frost, and to include structural elements that would lend interest to the garden during the summer and winter months. I fashioned garden rooms and follies to create anticipation as you move through the garden.”

When asked what challenges she faces maintaining the property, Blaze doesn’t hesitate. “Deer! We do not have a deer fence, so the herd has date night, including an all-you-can-eat buffet, in our garden.”

Blaze is always changing things up, moving plants from one area to another, and adding new species. “It’s my creative outlet. I view the garden as my canvas.” And what a breathtakingwork of art she has created on said canvas!

The couple enjoys entertaining al fresco, and serves luncheons made with organic fruits and vegetables they’ve grown themselves. “We also like to have a party every summer with catering by The Big Green Pizza Truck, and we set up games of badminton, volleyball, horseshoes, and croquet.”

Throughout the area there are multiple seating nooks but Blaze confesses that she rarely sits to admire her handiwork. 

“Who sits? My favorite thing to do each morning is to walk through the garden with a cup of tea in hand, looking to see what has bloomed overnight or what perennials might need to be moved around in the fall.”

She strives to grow rare and unusual plants and there are now hundreds of varieties of flowers, ferns, trees, and  shrubs, on the property.

 

When pressed to choose a favorite, she demurs, “That’s like asking someone with a large family to choose their favorite child. I love Baptismal,  peonies, summer vetch, Blue Star, and patrinia, to name a few.”

She then adds diplomatically, “But I love all my ‘children’.”

Just talking to Sandi Blaze about her gardening techniques is like getting a primer on horticultural practices. But her final piece of advice is one she hopes most people will take to heart: “Plant what makes you happy, and never feel that your garden isn’t as good as someone else’s. Each garden has its own charm.” 

Experience “Pixie Perennials” gardens September 17, 10 am to 4 pm, the Garden Conservancy Open Days.

Add your comment:

Connect With Us

            

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Wrapped in Wreaths

Wreath Festival––Nov 16-18

Tony Danza's in Town

Enjoy seeing this iconic actor sing, dance and share stories at Ridgefield Playhouse

Not So Hidden Hideaway

The Hideaway offers standout comfort food classics and a terrific selection of craft beers

Art of It: Narrative in a Box

Cock-a-Doodle-Doo

Red Rooster Pub has something for everyone

Profiles

Your Guides to Leading Local Professionals

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Edit ModuleShow Tags

November 2018

Meet us under the Dome and catch all the excitement! Come out for the 16th Annual Festival of Trees to benefit Ann’s Place at the Danbury Sports Dome for a weekend filled with live events...

Cost: Ages 3 to 64, $10; Seniors, $5; kids under 3, free.

Where:
Danbury Sports Dome
25 Shelter Rock Ln
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »


Sponsor: Ann's Place
Telephone: 203-790-6568
Contact Name: Michelle Frosch
Website »

More information

Acclaimed soprano Justine Aronson (seen in photo with Alma Mahler) and Music from Copland House present rare performances of Schoenberg's Ein Stelldichein,...

Cost: $25, $10 (Students)

Where:
Copland House at Merestead
455 Byram Lake Road
Mount Kisco, NY  10549
View map »


Sponsor: Copland House
Telephone: 914-788-4659
Website »

More information

Founders Hall's First-Ever Gingerbread House Decorating Contest! At this year’s bi-annual Wreath Festival, Founders Hall (https://founders-hall.org/) is introducing a fun new contest...

Cost: Entry Fee: $10 / Event is FREE

Where:
Founders Hall of Ridgefield
193 Danbury Road
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Founders Hall
Telephone: 860-799-5207
Contact Name: Michelle McQueen
Website »

More information

Ridgefield Guild of Artists' 14th Annual Festive Home...All That Glitters! opens Friday evening, November 16th with a preview party from 6-8pm.  For an entry fee of $20, attendees will...

Cost: $20 Preview Night Party/Free Days

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Guild of Artists
Telephone: 203.438.8863
Contact Name: Mary Pat Devine
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ridgefield Town Hall, Lower Conference Room
400 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Commission on Aging Town Committee
Contact Name: Debra Franceschini-Gatje

More information

Founders Hall's First-Ever Gingerbread House Decorating Contest! At this year’s bi-annual Wreath Festival, Founders Hall (https://founders-hall.org/) is introducing a fun new contest...

Cost: Entry Fee: $10 / Event is FREE

Where:
Founders Hall of Ridgefield
193 Danbury Road
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Founders Hall
Telephone: 860-799-5207
Contact Name: Michelle McQueen
Website »

More information

Ridgefield Guild of Artists' 14th Annual Festive Home...All That Glitters! opens Friday evening, November 16th with a preview party from 6-8pm.  For an entry fee of $20, attendees will...

Cost: $20 Preview Night Party/Free Days

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Guild of Artists
Telephone: 203.438.8863
Contact Name: Mary Pat Devine
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Ridgefield Guild of Artists' 14th Annual Festive Home...All That Glitters! opens Friday evening, November 16th with a preview party from 6-8pm.  For an entry fee of $20, attendees will...

Cost: $20 Preview Night Party/Free Days

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Guild of Artists
Telephone: 203.438.8863
Contact Name: Mary Pat Devine
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Facilitated by Nina Bertolino This program will meet every other Wednesday from 10:30 - 12:30 on the following dates: September 12th & 26th, October 10th & 24th, November 7th & 21st, December 5th...

Cost: Free

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


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

More information

Ridgefield Guild of Artists' 14th Annual Festive Home...All That Glitters! opens Friday evening, November 16th with a preview party from 6-8pm.  For an entry fee of $20, attendees will...

Cost: $20 Preview Night Party/Free Days

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Guild of Artists
Telephone: 203.438.8863
Contact Name: Mary Pat Devine
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Ridgefield Guild of Artists' 14th Annual Festive Home...All That Glitters! opens Friday evening, November 16th with a preview party from 6-8pm.  For an entry fee of $20, attendees will...

Cost: $20 Preview Night Party/Free Days

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Guild of Artists
Telephone: 203.438.8863
Contact Name: Mary Pat Devine
Website »

More information

EVERY THURSDAY | 7:30 PM - 10:00 pm Music | Spoken Word | Comedy | More Hosted by Don Lowe Hunt Hill Farm is excited to announce OpenMic night every Thursday night.  Please stop by to...

Cost: donation

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Road
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farm
Telephone: 860.355.0300
Contact Name: John C. Maxwell III
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Draw inspiration from your favorite emoticons in this workshop inspired by emojis! Design symbols that convey emotion, represent an object or favorite food, or faces that make you giggle! All ages

Cost: Free for members or with Museum admission

Where:
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
258 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Website »

More information

Friday mornings from 10:30 to 12:30. Free, no registration. Open to adults and older teens. Participants are asked to bring their own supplies in, but some basic supplies will be provided by the...

Cost: Free

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


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

More information

Ridgefield Guild of Artists' 14th Annual Festive Home...All That Glitters! opens Friday evening, November 16th with a preview party from 6-8pm.  For an entry fee of $20, attendees will...

Cost: $20 Preview Night Party/Free Days

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Guild of Artists
Telephone: 203.438.8863
Contact Name: Mary Pat Devine
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Ridgefield Guild of Artists' 14th Annual Festive Home...All That Glitters! opens Friday evening, November 16th with a preview party from 6-8pm.  For an entry fee of $20, attendees will...

Cost: $20 Preview Night Party/Free Days

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Guild of Artists
Telephone: 203.438.8863
Contact Name: Mary Pat Devine
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags