By Timothy Hull
We have christened the grounds at our house on Horseshoe Lane with the name “On the Bend Gardens” as we are on the bend of the horseshoe that is our little road. Once the home of local landscape designer, Robert Reiter, and his wife, Ann Fusco, the property features two acres of fully considered landscaping and gardens. Having been neglected for sundry seasons, we’ve spent the better half of two years just cutting back, weeding out and restoring much of what was there. Only now are we getting our heads above water and able to begin creating new beds and extending our horticultural experiments.
There are constant lessons to be learned and a ridiculous amount of trial and error! A gardener must make peace with abject failure. Thankfully, we have many local experts who are quick with advice and suggestions. My own mother, Jo Hull, once president of the Orange and Dutchess Garden Club of America, has been our closest advisor. And although Bob and Ann have passed away, we feel their spirit and guidance linger across the gardens and house.
Once, I was going to cut down a tree, only because I didn’t think its location necessary. Yet one evening I had a dream that Bob told me that the tree was special and that cutting it down would be a mistake. I heeded that call, and now have come to love the tree and its location. As Thoreau once said “For every oak and birch too growing on the hill-top, as well as for these elms and willows, we knew that there was a graceful ethereal and ideal tree making down from the roots, and sometimes Nature brings her mirror to its foot and makes it visible.”
For all things visible to us at On the Bend, what was always out of sight were Bob Reiter’s files on the house. I knew Bob to be a meticulous record keeper and archivist. In fact, he hardly threw anything away. When we bought the house, we found hundreds of old glass jars filled with every kind of nail and screw imaginable. He had also kept a few dozen binders filled with cooking recipes, cut out of magazines and all organized by theme or season. We also found hundreds of files on houses, landscaping and gardens; just nothing about our own!
I kept thinking, where were all the records and files about the house? There were so many unanswered questions, because both Bob and Ann had passed away before we actually closed on the property. I had asked the executor of their estate, Dee Page, if she had any of the house files or old photos. She told me that she didn’t and to her knowledge, when they were cleaning out the house had never come across them. So, Kory and I had resigned ourselves to a life of pondering all the mysteries of such an old house. Until one day a large package arrived from beyond the grave…
Stay tuned for the next Trail Sketches to discover what we were sent!