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Gardens Open to Visit Madoo Conservancy

The Garden of Robert Dash, Long Island, New York

Story and Pictures by Margaret Chapman

Created over 40 years by the painter Robert Dash, Madoo is a uniquely personal expression. The planting is especially skilled - Long Island is subject to cold, severe winters and hot dry summers. Plants must be tough to survive here and Dash has selected those that flourish.

There are no clichés here, although many elements have been copied and used in gardens elsewhere.

The famous yellow arch, echoing the shape and colour of the door behind has become a classic. The use of paint in bright, ever changing hues in a Dash signature. Colourful fences, ladders and chairs are found throughout the garden.

A covered, Chinese-style pavilion sits at the centre of an arched bridge across a pond. Again colour and line come into play giving the structure an elegance that the average interpretation lacks.

A garden shed, both sides adorned with mirror-windows have been much photographed. Box balls grow beneath fastigiate gingkos. Garden hats, left hanging on posts and the many gates marking transitioned from one area to the next, all are special Robert Dash touches.

A lilac summerhouse captures a view over the garden and fields beyond, the colour echoed in the strange ladder-like fences bounding the garden.

The long brick path, narrowing to increase the effect of perspective, has had to be modified because the development of the once open-fields at its end. Lined with rugosa roses and the length emphasised by a series of arches, it concludes at a pair of covered rustic seats and yet another visual trick; a long window is actually a mirror reflecting the garden and not a view beyond. It is a delight - as are the blueberries to be found at the far end!

Long walks, mazes a kitchen garden and even a 'dog's garden' complete with kennel add to the whimsical and personal in this imaginative and seemingly never-ending garden. Dramatic effects such as a gilded mask contrast with the light-hearted use of colour.

And if you are interested in the practical side of the garden, Dash propagates many of his own plants, grows vegetables and annuals from seed and eschews chemicals in the garden. The local wildlife clearly approve as frogs, birds and butterflies are to be seen everywhere.

Madoo. It's different, it's special and it should be seen.


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To Visit:
Address: 618 Main St, Sagaponack, Long Island, NY.
Hours - See Garden Open Listing
Entrance fee - USD10.00 (2002)
Owner - Madoo Conservancy
Tel +1 631 537-8200; Website www.madoo.org


The summerhouse catches views of the garden and beyond
The summerhouse catches views of the garden and beyond


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Madoo, Long Island, NY
Madoo, Long Island, NY

Chinese-style pavilion
Chinese-style pavilion

A bright green door on the 'mirror window' shed
A bright green door on the 'mirror window' shed

Box balls under fastigiate gingkos are backed by a weeping silver pear
Box balls under fastigiate gingkos are backed by a weeping silver pear

Long brick walk, ending in a covered seat
Long brick walk, ending in a covered seat

A gilded mask shines in deep shade
A gilded mask shines in deep shade

Strange ladder-like fences
Strange ladder-like fences

Bright late-summer colour in the borders
Bright late-summer colour in the borders

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The information here is believed to be correct but changes do occur. There may be closures and changes to times of opening. Entrance fees may vary without notice. bestgardening.com cannot take any responsibility for any errors, changes or omissions. Visitors travelling a distance to visit a garden are advised to check opening times with the owners before setting out.
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Last revised 16 Aug '02