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June 17, 2013

Secret Garden features American twist on English-formal gardens

PLATTSBURGH — Slow-growing plants are the key secret to the lush garden of “Mr. and Mrs. Heyford” in Plattsburgh.

It is featured in Saturday’s Secret Garden Tour hosted by the Kent-Delord House Museum Garden Club.

ENGLISH TOUCH

Mr. Heyford received his garden primer in England, where he and his wife lived in a rented rectory.

“And that garden and that rectory, which is about a 1 acre lot, was very traditional, from the British standpoint, in that it had an orchard, about 12 apple trees, ... about six or nine plum trees, a lot of flowering trees, a lot of flowers,” he said. “But the particular grounds had been rented for a number of years and had been let run over. So my two or three years living in this house were spent mostly trying to bring it back up to what it was. And that’s where I probably got very interested in gardening.”

While working in the garden, he left work, the world and thinking behind.

“It’s just kind of a place, no one bothers me. Things are simple. If something is ailing, you try to fix it or you move it. If you don’t like the way it is, you can do it another way. So, it’s very peaceful. It’s calming.”

The Heyfords’ 1940s residence is situated on an island that gives them the advantage of garden views from the front and rear.

“What you see before you, none of this was here,” Mr. Heyford said.

STATELY TREES

The Ice Storm of 1998 severely damaged mature locust, maple and birch trees. The big trees were taken down, and new ones, like the honey locust, planted.

“When you buy a house in a neighborhood like this, you buy it because it’s been here for awhile and it has nice big, old trees that shade the house and everything,” he said. “And now what I am doing, I’m setting the next owner up for a nice, shady yard to protect him from the sun at the end of the day and those kinds of things.”

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