Behind The Hedges At The ARF Garden Tour - 27 East

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Behind The Hedges At The ARF Garden Tour

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Clifford Brechner and Teddie. MICHELLE TRAURING

Clifford Brechner and Teddie. MICHELLE TRAURING

Two white herons rest atop a tree in “Four Fountains,” an estate garden in Southampton that will be featured on the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons' annual tour "A Peek Behind the Hedges" this weekend. MICHELLE TRAURING

Two white herons rest atop a tree in “Four Fountains,” an estate garden in Southampton that will be featured on the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons' annual tour "A Peek Behind the Hedges" this weekend. MICHELLE TRAURING

“Four Fountains,” an estate garden in Southampton that will be featured on the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons' annual tour "A Peek Behind the Hedges" this weekend. MICHELLE TRAURING

“Four Fountains,” an estate garden in Southampton that will be featured on the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons' annual tour "A Peek Behind the Hedges" this weekend. MICHELLE TRAURING

The cutting garden of “Four Fountains,” an estate garden in Southampton that will be featured on the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons' annual tour "A Peek Behind the Hedges" this weekend. MICHELLE TRAURING

The cutting garden of “Four Fountains,” an estate garden in Southampton that will be featured on the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons' annual tour "A Peek Behind the Hedges" this weekend. MICHELLE TRAURING

The cutting garden of “Four Fountains,” an estate garden in Southampton that will be featured on the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons' annual tour "A Peek Behind the Hedges" this weekend. MICHELLE TRAURING

The cutting garden of “Four Fountains,” an estate garden in Southampton that will be featured on the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons' annual tour "A Peek Behind the Hedges" this weekend. MICHELLE TRAURING

The wooded pond of “Four Fountains,” an estate garden in Southampton that will be featured on the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons' annual tour "A Peek Behind the Hedges" this weekend. MICHELLE TRAURING

The wooded pond of “Four Fountains,” an estate garden in Southampton that will be featured on the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons' annual tour "A Peek Behind the Hedges" this weekend. MICHELLE TRAURING

Bruce and Maria Bockmann hold Jeter and Duesy, respectively, at their home in Southampton. MICHELLE TRAURING

Bruce and Maria Bockmann hold Jeter and Duesy, respectively, at their home in Southampton. MICHELLE TRAURING

Jeter drinks from the reflecting pool in “Four Fountains,” an estate garden in Southampton that will be featured on the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons' annual tour "A Peek Behind the Hedges" this weekend. MICHELLE TRAURING

Jeter drinks from the reflecting pool in “Four Fountains,” an estate garden in Southampton that will be featured on the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons' annual tour "A Peek Behind the Hedges" this weekend. MICHELLE TRAURING

The gardens of a newly constructed Southampton Village home will be featured on the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons' annual garden tour, "A Peek Behind the Hedges," this weekend. MICHELLE TRAURING

The gardens of a newly constructed Southampton Village home will be featured on the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons' annual garden tour, "A Peek Behind the Hedges," this weekend. MICHELLE TRAURING

The gardens of a newly constructed Southampton Village home will be featured on the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons' annual garden tour, "A Peek Behind the Hedges," this weekend. MICHELLE TRAURING

The gardens of a newly constructed Southampton Village home will be featured on the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons' annual garden tour, "A Peek Behind the Hedges," this weekend. MICHELLE TRAURING

author on Jun 8, 2012

Clifford and Christy Brechner place a high value on privacy.

Peering in from the street at their home on Toylsome Lane in Southampton Village, no one could not possibly know what lies beyond in their privet-guarded backyard. And that is just the way they like it.

But on Saturday, June 16, the couple is stepping far outside of their comfort zone by placing their house on the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons’ 26th annual garden tour, “A Peek Behind the Hedges.”

Hundreds of garden enthusiasts and animal lovers alike will turn out to see the Brechners’ garden, as well as five others in the village, including the Southampton Rose Society’s rose garden at the Rogers Memorial Library, in conjunction with its 36th annual Rose Show.

“If you’re going to volunteer for something or put your efforts into something, this is what it’s all about,” Ms. Brechner said, keeping a fond eye on her chocolate Havanese puppy, Teddie, who was strolling by the pool. “It’s a way to help the little ones who can’t help themselves.”

When the Brechners moved out to their home in 2006, the yard—which is a long, narrow, 1-acre lot—was completely cleared out. There was not a single blade of grass, the couple recalled.

“The thought process was how to make it all cohesive and have the front tie into the back,” Ms. Brechner said. “And we’re not very formal people. We didn’t want flower beds and all of that stuff. It looks more wild and English, but still tailored and clean. I think there’s something about a garden that doesn’t look like it takes a lot of work—just like the house.”

“That’s a good point,” said her husband, who founded Safemade Pet Products a year ago. “It’s just a few things done well.”

Landscape designer Joseph Tyree worked with a limited palette of Natchez crape myrtle, western arborvitae, privet, boxwood, dogwood and various white-blooming hydrangea to create the modern, symmetric, geometrically-controlled garden, explained tour co-chairman Mark Fichandler as he walked through the yard.

A bluestone walkway leads to the furthest area of the garden, which has the pool and pool house, creating a separate “room,” Mr. Fichandler said. Toward the middle of the garden, side beds planted with butterfly bushes interrupt the white color scheme with sprinkles of purple and blue, Ms. Brechner said. In between is a subtle rise, laid with brick steps.

The deep, corridor effect sharply contrasts the look of “Four Fountains,” an estate garden on Halsey Neck Lane owned by Maria and Bruce Bockmann, who live with two miniature dachshunds, Duesy and Jeter, named after the automobile and New York Yankees shortstop.

“Four Fountains,” also on the tour this year, is set on more than 6 acres and divided into half a dozen individual areas: the front courtyard, the cutting garden, the wooded pond, the reflecting pool and pear tree allée, the Italianate south garden, and the expansive lawn that connects them all.

“This is three owners’ worth of garden work,” Mr. Bockmann said during a tour last week, talking over the roar of the ocean and the garden’s resident rooster crowing in the background. “It was originally based on a Russell Page design. He has a lot of the pond and flow, and you’ll see formal trees around the gardens and ponds themselves. And then we got in. Maria’s a phenomenal gardener. She really cares and knows her stuff, so we started doing things a little bit differently.”

Much to her husband’s “horror,” Ms. Bockmann said, she continues to expand the garden under her artistic eye.

“I’ve always liked gardening. I’ve always liked design,” she said. “I worked with David Hicks in my misspent youth in London. So I’ve always been keen on creating new designs.”

She recently planted a vegetable garden, as well as azaleas and iris around the back of the pond.

“Basically everything around the pond is blue and white,” she said. “Different shades of blue and white. There’s fish in the pond.”

She gasped, and pointed above her head. “Look at the heron!” she exclaimed, gesturing at the two white birds perched atop a tree. “They’re coming for snacks. I’ve seen 14 heron here at a time.”

The garden’s long and short vistas incorporate the unique architecture of the house, which was built as a theater in 1929, Mr. Bockmann explained. He bought the home just one hour after it was put up for sale 20 years ago, he said.

“There’s no other house like this,” Mr. Fichandler said. “It’s completely unique. I just love this place.”

“It’s wonderful,” Ms. Bockmann agreed.

“The relationship of the house with the grounds, the interiors, all the stones,” Mr. Fichandler mused. “Just the feel of it, you can feel it. It just flows into the grounds.”

Even though “A Peek Behind the Hedges” is all about the gardens, Mr. Fichandler said that he urges tour-goers to pay attention not only to the landscapes but also to the homes themselves. For instance, many wouldn’t guess that the Brechner house is new construction, he said.

“Our biggest compliment is when people say, ‘Oh wow, I didn’t realize this was a new house. I thought it was here for decades,’” Mr. Brechner said.

“It’s nice that people don’t know what’s going on in the back,” Ms. Brechner added. “It’s our little world back here.”

“It’s great,” her husband said. “It’s August and it’s mayhem in town, and you come here and it’s completely silent.”

The Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons will hold its 26th annual garden tour, “A Peek Behind the Hedges,” on Saturday, June 16, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., featuring five Southampton Village gardens and the rose garden of the Southampton Rose Society at Rogers Memorial Library. A cocktail reception will follow from 4 to 6 p.m. at the home of Leni and Adam Sender in Sag Harbor. Tickets start at $75, or $175 for the tour and cocktail party. For more information, visit arfhamptons.org.

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