THROUGH ADDING A SERIES OF PONDS TO HER PROPERTY, A SUBURBAN GARDENER COMES TO APPRECIATE THE POWER OF WATER TO NURTURE NATURE— AND HER SOUL.
One pond led to many others on Phillis Warden’s sprawling property—with delightful results.
Asked what it is about water that appeals to her,
Phillis Warden doesn’t have to think twice: “It’s the sound,” she says. On her and husband John’s 7-acre property, 11 man-made ponds, one natural body of water, and many fountains provide water music in surround sound. The whole scene is landscaped almost entirely with native trees, shrubs, and perennials.
Forty years ago, the Wardens rented a farmhouse in Bedford Hills, New York, to escape the city. They fell in love with the location and jumped at an opportunity to purchase the tiny house on a single acre next door. Some years later an adjacent 6 acres—with a natural pond— came up for sale, and their property expanded. That’s when Phillis began her love affair with all things wet and watery. But adding more ponds to the woodsy property wasn’t part of the plan until the day Phillis, driving around the neighborhood, happened to notice a little water garden in a front yard. Not particularly shy, she stopped the car and struck up a conversation with the homeowner. It turned out that he made it himself and was willing to try his hand at doing something similar on her property. So he dug a hole, inserted a lining, and