Wave Hill Gardeners’ Party

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The New York Sun

A fragrant hosta was more enticing than a gin and tonic at the Wave Hill Gardeners’ Party Thursday night. In other words, the guests having the most fun were the ones shopping for plants at the event, which brought in $320,000.

Myra Hecht picked up a leafy Kirengeshoma Koreana plant, which she liked for its lovely yellow bell bloom. Alfred and Jackie Schlosser were admiring the miniature hosta, which Mrs. Schlosser said would most likely be tended to in their garden by green-thumbed Mr. Schlosser. Susan Burke consulted with the plants-man John Emanuel. “He knows most of the stuff in my garden so he tells me what I can add,” Ms. Burke said.

There was little sadness about summer passing, because every season is a busy one for these serious gardeners. “Fall is splendid,” the founding director of horticulture, Marco Polo Stufano, said. “Fall can go on and on and on. Spring is fleeting.”

When they weren’t shopping for plants, guests admired their surroundings at Wave Hill, the 28-acre public garden situated on the banks of the Hudson River in Riverdale. They gathered round the party’s honorees, Anne and Frank Cabot, who are in many ways responsible for the garden as New Yorkers know it today. Anne Perkins Cabot’s grandmother lived at Wave Hill. When she died, her family donated it to the city. Ms. Cabot has served on its board of directors ever since. Her husband, Frank, created Wave Hill’s Friends of Horticulture Committee.

Asked about his first encounters with Wave Hill, Mr. Cabot said, “I visited as a grandson-in-law. I remember the greenhouses producing all sorts of delicacies. I loved the cauliflower and I’ve never had as good since.”

“Asparagus was a big deal,” Ms. Cabot chimed in. “There were special things to hold them up in and a special plate to serve them in, with three sections, for the dipping sauces.”

Now there are new greenhouses, a visitor’s center, children’s classes, adult lectures, and art exhibits installed in the mansion, inhabited over the years by Theodore Roosevelt and Arthur Toscanini. Over the years, Wave Hill has grown and flourished in its life as a public resource.

“It was very quiet, with lots of open spaces,” Ms. Cabot said of her earliest memories of Wave Hill. Those are qualities it retains.


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