Gardens of delight

Annual tour sponsored by St. James shows off Goshen's loveliest private gardens

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  • Annabelle Ramdass (left) and guide Jeannie Zygmunt enjoy the arbor that greets visitors with the smell of lilac and honeysuckle on Maiden Lane. (Photo by Geri Corey)

  • Friends for more than 30 years, Goshenites Julie Zeccola (left) and Pat Strong enjoy the luncheon on the lawn at St. James Episcopal Church. (Photo by Geri Corey)

  • Judi Gleeson relaxing in her Glen Drive garden. (Photo by Geri Corey)

By Geri Corey

— “We love our flowers,” said Judi Gleeson, speaking for herself and her husband, Dean. The Gleesons, who live on Glen Drive in the Village of Goshen, opened up their garden for public enjoyment at the 11th annual “Gardens of Goshen” tour.

“I wouldn’t miss this event. With everyone so busy all the time, I get to see people I don’t seen very often."
Pat Strong

St. James Episcopal Church sponsors the eagerly awaited tour — held this year on June 21 — that includes a tasty luncheon on the lawn with the price of the ticket. This year every ticket was sold.

The Gleeson garden has a formal look, but in a relaxed inviting way that says "Come and sit, see the flowers, enjoy the peace." The backyard garden, which includes pavers, perennials and annuals, was designed four years ago, and each year Judi adds new plants for color and deer resistance. She cares for the center court herself that displays a wonderful array of boxwood, foxglove, cosmos, coreopsis, geraniums and Rudbeckia (Black-eyed Susan), and more.

Judi also has a vegetable garden and grows tomatoes, zucchini, and cucumbers for canning homemade pickles.

Featured in the self-guided tour are four more gardens, including the Arnold and Annabelle Ramdass yard on Maiden Lane. Annabelle admits to a “labor of love” in planting 27 English boxwoods herself that line her front walkway.

“I do what makes me happy,” she said. “I keep it simple.”

It’s a joy for her to know that her husband, Arnold, who commutes two hours a day for work enjoys coming home to his sanctuary.

“If what you seen here proves it, then I am a gardener,” she said, showing her beautiful smile. Annabelle’s prize piece is an arbor surrounded by the fragrance of lilac and honeysuckle.

'Like something from the past'

There’s more, though, to the garden tour than flowers — it also brings together friends who have the chance to sit during the luncheon, enjoy the buffet and chat. Everything has a hint of luxury, like the Shrimp and Mango Salad, Cucumber Sandwiches, and this year’s luncheon hit: Summer Beet and Orange Salad.

“The yellow beets were flown here from California,” said Co-chair Marsha Burke. Paul Wasmund’s Aunt Marsha, learning that he wanted them, kindly flew them in from California. Paul was the chief cook and bottle washer at this year’s affair.

“I wouldn’t miss this event,” said Pat Strong, who enjoyed the luncheon with her friend of over 30 years, Julie Zeccola. "With everyone so busy all the time, I get to see people I don’t seen very often."

Julie was truly enjoying the luncheon. For the last three years, she was responsible for the food, but this year, just the raffle.

“It’s much less stressful,” she said.

“The gardens are beautiful,” Julie observed, "and everyone always enjoys the luncheon. It’s like a wedding setting, with tablecloths and flowers on the tables. It’s a garden party — something from the past."

The tour is a group effort, with many parishioners at St. James Episcopal Church pitching in.

According to the pastor, the Rev. Carl Lunden, the proceeds are used for the preservation of the 1853 historic building, for the sake of the worshipping community and Goshen’s future residents.

Co-chairs Ursula Degenhardt and Marsha Burke can be proud of coordinating this successful affair that was blessed by clear skies and bright sun. Other gardens on the tour include the Youngman and Claster home on Clark Road; Crawford home on Avalon Drive; Stellato home on Old Minisink Trail; and Sannesy home on Ridgeview Terrace.

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