The Garden Conservancy’s Open Days Program invites the public into local private gardens beginning on May 4th

The Garden Conservancy’s Open Days Program for 2014 in Dutchess County, New York begins Sunday, May 4th, featuring three private gardens in Red Hook, Rhinebeck, and Wappingers Falls, open to the public 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 Admission to each garden is $5, the Open Day is rain or shine, and no reservations are required. Call 1-888-842-2442, or visit www.opendaysprogram.orgfor more information. Seven additional Dutchess County Open Days will take place through October, featuring eleven private gardens.

Featured on the May 4th Open Day is The Chocolate Factory – Garden of Ruth Oja (21 Cedar Hill Road, Red Hook), built on the ruins of the Livingston Grist Mill, the garden combines English style naturalism with the Hudson Valley ideal of picturesque, and includes a dramatic waterfall and thousands of spring bulbs. At Cedar Heights Orchard (8 Crosby Lane, Rhinebeck), yew hedges, specimen trees, and stone walls add structure to informal plantings, a large vegetable/cutting garden is designed to attract pollinators, and a large hillside orchard faces west with a stunning view of the Catskills. At the garden of Anne Spiegel (299 Maloney Road, Wappingers Falls) a massive stone outcrop has been enhanced by a series of stone-walled raised beds constructed on stepped ledges and cliffs and planted with choice specimens of xerophytic and drought-tolerant plants, a separate fenced stream garden is home to plants that like wet feet, and a new area beyond the north end of the cliff is being developed for hellebores and other shade-lovers.