The Secret Gardens of Middletown, N.Y.
The Secret Gardens of Middletown, N.Y.
The trellis leading into the garden of Renate and Bob Moson during the Hidden Gardens 2015 tour in Middletown, N.Y., on June 27, 2015. (Yvonne Marcotte/Epoch Times)

The trellis leading into the garden of Renate and Bob Moson during the Hidden Gardens 2015 tour in Middletown, N.Y., on June 27, 2015. (Yvonne Marcotte/Epoch Times)

Part of the garden of Renate and Bob Moson during the Hidden Gardens 2015 tour in Middletown, N.Y., on June 27, 2015. (Yvonne Marcotte/Epoch Times)

Part of the garden of Renate and Bob Moson during the Hidden Gardens 2015 tour in Middletown, N.Y., on June 27, 2015. (Yvonne Marcotte/Epoch Times)

Visitors enjoy the garden of Paul and Malini Chellappa during the Hidden Gardens 2015 tour in Middletown, N.Y., on June 27, 2015. (Yvonne Marcotte/Epoch Times)

Visitors enjoy the garden of Paul and Malini Chellappa during the Hidden Gardens 2015 tour in Middletown, N.Y., on June 27, 2015. (Yvonne Marcotte/Epoch Times)

Biologist Shelly Paradies gives information to visitors at the xeriscape garden at the SUNY Orange Middletown campus during the Hidden Gardens 2015 tour in Middletown, N.Y., on June 27, 2015. (Yvonne Marcotte/Epoch Times)

Biologist Shelly Paradies gives information to visitors at the xeriscape garden at the SUNY Orange Middletown campus during the Hidden Gardens 2015 tour in Middletown, N.Y., on June 27, 2015. (Yvonne Marcotte/Epoch Times)

Kate Honders tells visitors about the woodland garden at the SUNY Orange Middletown campus during the Hidden Gardens 2015 tour in Middletown, N.Y., on June 27. (Yvonne Marcotte/Epoch Times)

Kate Honders tells visitors about the woodland garden at the SUNY Orange Middletown campus during the Hidden Gardens 2015 tour in Middletown, N.Y., on June 27. (Yvonne Marcotte/Epoch Times)

Sustainability Coordinator Kirsten Gabrielson (L) and Jody Donnelly, greenhouse curator, in the wetland garden at the SUNY Orange Middletown campus during the Hidden Gardens 2015 tour in Middletown, N.Y., on June 27, 2015. (Yvonne Marcotte/Epoch Times)

Sustainability Coordinator Kirsten Gabrielson (L) and Jody Donnelly, greenhouse curator, in the wetland garden at the SUNY Orange Middletown campus during the Hidden Gardens 2015 tour in Middletown, N.Y., on June 27, 2015. (Yvonne Marcotte/Epoch Times)

Renee Stover, assistant to the sustainability coordinator, explains the importance of the rain garden at the SUNY Orange Middletown campus during the Hidden Gardens 2015 tour in Middletown, N.Y., on June 27, 2015. (Yvonne Marcotte/Epoch Times)

Renee Stover, assistant to the sustainability coordinator, explains the importance of the rain garden at the SUNY Orange Middletown campus during the Hidden Gardens 2015 tour in Middletown, N.Y., on June 27, 2015. (Yvonne Marcotte/Epoch Times)

Visitors enjoy the garden of Renate and Bob Moson during the Hidden Gardens 2015 tour in Middletown, N.Y., on June 27, 2015. (Yvonne Marcotte/Epoch Times)

Visitors enjoy the garden of Renate and Bob Moson during the Hidden Gardens 2015 tour in Middletown, N.Y., on June 27, 2015. (Yvonne Marcotte/Epoch Times)

Barbara Boyles (L-R), Betty McClung, and Celeste VanFleet enjoy the garden of Renate and Bob Moson during the Hidden Gardens 2015 tour in Middletown, N.Y., on June 27, 2015. (Yvonne Marcotte/Epoch Times)

Barbara Boyles (L-R), Betty McClung, and Celeste VanFleet enjoy the garden of Renate and Bob Moson during the Hidden Gardens 2015 tour in Middletown, N.Y., on June 27, 2015. (Yvonne Marcotte/Epoch Times)

Michelle Ellerin and Michael Diefenbach in their garden during the Hidden Gardens 2015 tour in Middletown, N.Y., on June 27, 2015. (Yvonne Marcotte/Epoch Times)

Michelle Ellerin and Michael Diefenbach in their garden during the Hidden Gardens 2015 tour in Middletown, N.Y., on June 27, 2015. (Yvonne Marcotte/Epoch Times)

MIDDLETOWN–On a slightly overcast June 26, Middletown homeowners who love their gardens opened them to the public. Visitors also enjoyed the gardens at the SUNY Orange Middletown campus with guidance from knowledgeable docents.

The Paul and Malini Chellappa garden resulted from converting a large backyard swimming pool into Malini’s “sanctuary.” In the center is a koi pond with lily pads. “No matter how tired I am it rejuvenates me,” she writes in the tour guide.

Renate and Bob Moson’s garden began to take shape when they moved in. “It was woodsy and wild with an overgrowth of all sorts of vines, weeds, saplings and shrubs. We pruned, removed, and replanted.”

Ellerin and Michael Diefenbach built their garden hideaway around a garden room, terrace, and pool. A natural wall of what Ellerin calls her “Cape Cod roses” grace one side. “Our home and yard exude a warm, comforting, and friendly vibe.”

The SUNY Orange Middletown campus is committed to sustainability and its gardens highlighted that commitment. Biologist Shelly Paradies showcased the xeriscape garden to highlight water conservation. The various plants shows visitors ways to “tackle the issues of finite water amounts and longer and drier periods due to climate change,” according to the tour brochure.

Just around the corner Kate Honders stood in the native woodland garden to explain how a shade garden can work within a natural wooded area. In a lower part of campus, Kirsten Gabrielson, sustainability coordinator, and greenhouse curator Jody Donnelly showcased the wetland garden. The garden illustrates a “natural approach to pond filtration that enhances the aesthetic value of a low area.

Middletown’s Garden Lovers’ Club contributes greatly to the beauty of Orange County. Members provide monthly garden therapy sessions for seniors at adult care facilities, sponsor children to attend the DEC’s Camp DeBruce, plant flowers in Middletown parks, maintain a garden at the Greenville fitness entrance, restore the herb garden at Campbell Hall’s Hill-Hold museum, and have a program for junior gardeners.

 

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