Garden News

Wonderful color and form even when the leaves fall!

Posted on November 27, 2016

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Fall colors were beautiful, muted by warmth and dryness…

Posted on October 1, 2016

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Our Summer Garden in glorious color!

Posted on July 4, 2016

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Old-fashioned Egg Hunt welcomes Spring!

Posted on March 26, 2016

The eggs were everywhere – in the grass, in the trees, around the outdoor arena and round pen – everywhere! Each egg had treats nestled inside, and several golden rabbits were found.

Dads and Moms were in the swing of it, too!

Egg-and-spoon races were next, with lots of cheering and laughing. The weather really cooperated, and some were down to shirtsleeves!



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Witch Hazels Show Off

Posted on March 1, 2016

The genus Hamamelis, multi-stemmed native shrub Witch Hazel, grows in a range of soils at the wood’s edge and flowers in full and partial sun. Four species – japonica, mollis, vernalis, and virginiana – are available in the trade along with a raft of japonica x mollis hybrids. Cricket Hill has two H. vernalis specimens and a half dozen of these ‘intermedia’ hybrids, which are considered to be the best all-around performers in the garden. Four are shown below.

web-MM-Hxintermedia-Arnold- web-Arb-Hxintermedia-Jelena web-house-Hxintermedia-Prim web-Bird-Hxintermedia-Sunbu

Witch Hazel is very adaptable to soil pH, has a sweet if gentle fragrance, and can have dramatic fall foliage ranging from bright yellow through orange to dark red. This was a particularly good bloom year, flowering over a 6 week period February through April. If you keep alert, you may see this very hardy shrub growing naturally around the Farm, a few at the roadside near Kira’s drive!

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Our one and only snowstorm…. or so we thought!

Posted on February 9, 2016

web-Mare-barn-crop-fields-s web-Crab-branch-snow-2-9-16 web-Snow-chameacyparis-2-9-

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Shelly Francis Clinic Oct 10-11, 2015

Posted on October 11, 2015

Shelly was back at Cricket Hill for her third time this year.  It may be a little while before Shelly returns as she has a heavy competition schedule planned for the upcoming season and 2016 Olympic Team selection. She is on the short list with two horses, Doktor and Danilo, both trained by Shelly from youngsters. Shelly remains one of the few U.S. international riders who compete on horses they have trained themselves, yielding a training and instruction approach which is understandable to both the horse and the rider.

Riders enjoyed another great Saturday evening to commemorate not only the great rides, but also the abundant apple harvest! Click here for the the menu and story of the Wolf River Apple!


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Shelly Francis Buffet Features Garden Delectibles!

Posted on November 11, 2013

Shelly Menu_11-9-13Cricket Hill hosted a two-day clinic with international dressage rider and trainer Shelly Francis.  Saturday night dinner at Sue and Art’s home featured 19 different dishes, from appetizers to desserts, developed from the produce of the gardens at Cricket Hill.

The Cricket Hill preparations included fruits, vegetables, herbs of all types grown organically on the farm. There were pickles, chutneys, and sauces of all types. Art contributed the pheasant for pheasant sausage! Decorations were made with flowers from the cutting garden dried in the Summer Kitchen. The food was prepared by Melanie Melius, Flowering Gardens, who also helps Sue with the plantings.

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Annual Barbecue Attendees enjoy lush fall gardens

Posted on August 30, 2013

Kristin Emymeadow viewWe were actually happy to have an overcast day for the annual barbecue, riding academy entertainment and tour of the gardens – the temperature was just right! The gardens, lush from all the rain earlier in the season, still showed the summer bloomers overlapping the classic fall asters, anemones, chrysanthemums and grasses.

new vedge bed still producingIt was a terrific year for fruit production: apples, two kinds of pears, Cornus mas, quince just ripening – and some wonderful jams, jellies, chutneys and preserves were put away. And veggies were turned into pickles, barbecue and chili sauces, stewed and dried tomatoes. Garlic and shallots were already hanging in the summer kitchen along with all the flowers drying. These will see us right through until spring!

Prope DietterBrad cooks while Anna, Steven, John look onrefreshments after the tour

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Cricket Hill opens August 17 for the Garden Conservancy Tour

Posted on August 17, 2013

dragonwing begoniaOver 250 people strolled about the farm during this year’s Open Days’ tour of the Gardens at Cricket Hill, our largest group ever. Everything looked beautiful, and visitors were filled with questions and compliments! Melanie Melius was Garden Host as Sue was away at a horse show. We had many inquiries about plants for sale, especially those in bloom or about to come into bloom. As we have continually planned for four-season interest in the garden, there is always something going on. Plant sales benefit the Academy’s schoolmaster Support and Scholarship Programs, so maybe next year, we’ll have more plants potted up!


toward arboretum 8/13flowers flow from the terrace to the fieldsview from terrace 8/13


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Posted on May 6, 2008

Forsythia ‘Golden Times’One way or the other, with a detour through heat, another through frost, spring has definitely made it to Cricket Hill.

Thousands of daffodils, hundreds of tulips – a few with deer-provided flat-top haircuts! – and all the other bulbs join the Forsythia. This one has golden variegated leaves…so once it starts blooming, it looks like it’s blooming all season! Aptly named “Golden Times”.

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ICE BEAUTY at Cricket Hill

Posted on January 11, 2008

Winter provides many unexpected delights for the Garden-Watcher! A unique combination of precipitation, temperature change and light gave us some breathtaking glimpses of fairyland.

Viburnum IceChuckery IceClematis tangutica IceBarberry Ice

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FROST – Fall’s First

Posted on October 29, 2007

frosted dahliasThe gardens were still going strong until the first frost hit October 29. This is about 6 weeks later than “the way it used to be”, and a tangible sign we deserve the upgrade from 5 to 6 of our Hardiness Zone, i.e. it’s warmer. Taking advantage of this, we are adding to the late season display in the Gardens at Cricket Hill Farm… might as well enjoy it! Visitors to the farm next year will see the results of this year’s transplants and addition to stock of fall bloomers.

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Posted on September 1, 2007

Another perfect day! Good fun and great food for all Cricket Hill’s friends and families. Games and a treasure hunt for kids, a hotly contested horseshoes return match, walks down to the lake. Tours through the gardens. Beautiful flower arrangements taken away in the Silent Auction along with lots of other goodies. As always, 2 important highlights: the Horse Demos – first, a 6-member drill team, the Cricket Hill Cowgirls, delighted the audience with an ambitious routine developed that week in camp and flawlessly performed – see below in their final line-up. And a pas-de-trois celebrating the start of the football season performed by Beth Anne, Stephanie and Laura. Also eagerly awaited is the BBQ presentation of the coveted “Golden Fork Award”! Pictured below is Paddy Rossbach, 2006 recipient, passing the perpetual prize to Krys Schrom, recognizing all her work on behalf of Cricket Hill Academy!

CH Cowgirls 2007BBQ 2007Golden Fork 2007

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PLANT SALE – Hudson Bush Plant & Garden Exchange

Posted on May 26, 2007

Plants ready for sale

This sale is held annually at Clermont State Historic Site in Germantown NY. A lovely spot under the trees right on the Hudson, worth the trip, even if there weren’t a plant sale! This was Cricket Hill’s third time at this event, all plant sales benefitting the Academy Scholarship Fund. Those who couldn’t make it on this busy Memorial Day weekend lucked out…extra plants were available at the farm; some people are ordering the special ones right out of the garden!

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CRICKET HILL BARBECUE – 20th Anniversary

Posted on September 2, 2006

20th Anniversary Barbecue InvitationThe weather held up its end of the bargain – as it generally does – for a grand day! The 20th anniversary celebration of Cricket Hill’s Labor Day weekend barbeque! The arena was decorated with farm-grown cut flowers and large plants. Special plants garnishing each picnic table were favors to be taken home. Many of the 150 attendees toured the gardens, at their September finest.

The horsey entertainment included a Quadrille to music presented by the Horsemanship campers, a Pas de Trois of three of our young riders, and of course, the highly regarded Pony Rides!

The Awards Ceremony highlighted the passing of the coveted Fork d’Or from Sarah Morgan to Paddy Rossbach.  Four Snyder “children”, visiting from all over the Eastern seaboard, commemorated growing up at Cricket Hill Farm with the original song, “A Boy from Ancramdale”.

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GARDEN TOUR – Garden Conservancy Open Days at Cricket Hill

Posted on August 5, 2006

This day was chosen for the oriental lilies and the meadow perennials and grasses. Everything was in full swing! Visitors came from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts as well as Millerton, Copake, and Pine Plains! We had several repeat visitors who were interested in how to manage seasonal change in the garden and so, wanted to compare what they’d seen in July or the previous September. The visitors were quite experienced, knew all the most common plants, and had more questions about garden design and the very unusual specimens.

   Tiger LiliesVisitors from New JerseyStone Terrace

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GARDEN TOUR – Garden Conservancy Open Days at Cricket Hill

Posted on June 17, 2006

A beautiful sunny day greeted the 70+ visitors. Iris were still glorious, with the daylilies and lilies just starting. The Orchard Meadow was already in full swing as seen in the picture below.

Plants for Sale included the Maxim Strawberries, a special variety from Holland with up to 3″ tasty berries, already well fruited and ripening in their pots. A group from nearby Pine Plains took home some of these and other tempting plants, all grown in the gardens at Cricket Hill. Proceeds benefit the Academy Scholarship Fund.

Orchard MeadowMaxim StrawberryVisitors from Pine Plains

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