Planting Fields Arboretum, a 400 plus acres estate in Oyster Bay, NY was once the private enclave and home of Mr. & Mrs. William Robertson Coe and is now listed as a state historic park. There is so much to see on its grounds at every season. The open space, the great lawn, various gardens, and magnificent trees are everywhere. Besides the great trees, gardens and beautiful greenhouses, other buildings abound with a magnificent Tudor Revival Mansion as the centerpiece. The mansion called Coe Hall was built between 1918 and 1921 after the original home burned.
Mr. Coe loved nature and with unlimited funds at his disposal, he started his horticultural collection. Big trees were shipped from out of state and carried by barge thru Long Island Sound into Oyster Bay harbor. With Hicks Nursery transporting these magnificent trees, Mr. Coe made arrangement with the town to clear utility wires that were in the way to Planting Fields. From 1913 on, when Mr. Coe purchased the land, he sought the Olmstead Brothers, the noted landscape designers of New York Central Park for their expertise.
Mr. Coe bequeathed Planting Fields to the State of New York in hope that it would be preserved for future generation to enjoy. After he died in 1955, there was some doubt as to how to revitalize the gardens which were in decline. The Coe Foundation, along with the founding of the Friends of Planting Fields started a volunteer program geared to the renovation and care of the gardens.
In June, the roses in the rose gardens are in peak bloom. Within the park there is a main rose walk of eight long beds, rosebeds at the small manor house, roses climbing up the pillars in the courtyard of the mansion and an arbor of 32 arches covered with 64 ramblers and climbers. The arbor was created in 1908 and many of the original bushes still survive. .
There are also rosebeds in the Synoptic Garden, an alphabetical planting representing every class of plant, shrub and tree that can be grown in the area. It is superbly designed and stretches for five acres through wooded groves. Of course, there is a lovely planting of roses in the "R" section.
Last year, all hybrid tea roses in the main rose garden were pulled out and replaced with David Austin English Roses and other shrub roses as part of the state park system. Planting Fields is not allowed to spray chemicals anymore. Since hybrid tea roses need spraying to keep the plants free of diseases and insects, they decided to limit their rose plants to easy maintenance roses.
Copyright © 2008. By Rosalinda Morgan, "The Rose Lady". All rights reserved.. *PLANTING FIELDS ARBORETUM'S ROSE GARDEN IN OYSTER BAY, NY GOES GREEN*