AN ACRE OF PAR­ADISE

TWO DED­I­CATED AM­A­TEUR HORTICULTURISTS GET A SEC­OND CHANCE TO MAKE THEIR DREAM GAR­DEN.

Hamptons Magazine - - Contents - BY JAMEE GRE­GORY PHO­TOG­RA­PHY BY JOSH LEHRER

Two ded­i­cated am­a­teur hor­ti­cul­tur­al­ists get a sec­ond chance to make their dream gar­den.

Clelia and Tom Zacharias de­voted 20 years to their first gar­den in Southamp­ton, search­ing nurs­eries for plants and tend­ing to them side by side. In 2013, facing an empty nest, they pur­chased a new home, dou­bling their acreage. In early spring of last year, they turned to Hal Gold­berg, the late land­scape de­signer and for­mer Southamp­ton Rose So­ci­ety pres­i­dent, to make small changes.

“In­stead, we were so mo­ti­vated by his coun­sel that we ended up re­do­ing ev­ery­thing!” Clelia says. “We bought huge urns for fo­cal points and learned not to buy three plants of many va­ri­eties but hun­dreds of the same. Hal cre­ated a May gar­den, us­ing 100 white dig­i­talis. That is a state­ment.” Other touches in­clude the seven-foot-tall pleached horn­beam trees that

punc­tu­ate the premises. A mag­i­cal walk­way of blue­stone steps makes the fern-filled shade gar­den a lovely place to linger. Pared-down plant ma­te­rial, framed by ev­er­greens, cre­ates a serene set­ting.

“We’re old-fash­ioned,” Clelia says. “Hal pushed us out of our com­fort zone, elim­i­nat­ing our English flower beds and cre­at­ing a more for­mal, Ital­ianate gar­den, de­fined by green spa­ces, box­wood, and pow­er­ful shapes. He in­stalled a rose gar­den, teach­ing us what a rose can do. We did in­sist on keep­ing one bed, be­hind the pool, where we still pot­ter around. He turned us loose there!”

Hal Gold­berg passed away in May, but Tom, who is in­volved with the Checker­board Film Foun­da­tion, the Par­rish Art Mu­seum, and the Southamp­ton As­so­ci­a­tion, is de­voted to this pro­ject, spend­ing hours at work on it. “It’s just be­gin­ning,” he says. “We have lots of time to de­vote. A gar­den has to be re­vis­ited ev­ery three years.”

Clelia’s first love is the flower bed. “At the end of a day of gar­den­ing,” she says, “we take a bot­tle of wine and two glasses and sit to­gether on the lit­tle bench in the gar­den, sur­vey­ing our ‘es­tate.’ Thank God we only have one acre! We love en­ter­tain­ing out­side, host­ing 60 for din­ner around the pool. We had a July 4th lunch for 100 with pizza trucks. We use the whole gar­den. A hum­ming­bird sta­tion, filled with nec­tar, sits out­side our back door—i see it from three win­dows. The birds visit like an­gels. Our kids come from the city, bring­ing friends.” For the Zachari­ases, it seems, their redesigned gar­den is hardly an empty nest!

“IT’S JUST BE­GIN­NING. WE HAVE LOTS OF TIME TO DE­VOTE. A GAR­DEN HAS TO BE RE­VIS­ITED EV­ERY THREE YEARS.” — tom zacharias

An invit­ing path leads to Clelia and Tom Zacharias’s shade gar­den, filled with Ja­panese painted ferns, hosta Ele­gans, and astilbe Bridal Veil. The Bud­dha head, rep­re­sent­ing har­mony and en­light­en­ment, con­trib­utes to the peace­ful feel­ing.

left: The French-style parterre is out­lined with box­wood, while each sec­tion con­tains a dif­fer­ent va­ri­ety of white rose. The tow­er­ing Ital­ianate urn in the cen­ter was dis­cov­ered in River­head. be­low: Egyp­tian-style obelisks add ver­ti­cal el­e­ments to the...

Af­ter work­ing in the gar­den, Tom and Clelia Zacharias love to re­lax there in the af­ter­noon, where pur­ple bud­dleia and vi­tex pro­vide splashes of color.

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