The Chat

by Alejandro Saralegui

Dear Friends,
People may think that wintertime equals quiet time for me and the garden. This year in particular that couldn’t be further from the truth. We’re busy here planning our winter lectures, Madoo in Manhattan featuring British garden designer Jinny Blom, shoveling snow and starting to order seeds for early spring planting. Oh, yes…and we’ve started a top-to-bottom restoration of the summer house and studio.

We are continuing to move full steam ahead. This past season we’ve seen remarkable growth at Madoo and we are capitalizing on our newfound popularity. Our children’s programs have continued successfully for another summer season. In August, actress Blythe Danner dropped by the garden to read to the kids with Josh from the Hampton Library. And, with the unseasonably warm weather, Monday Mornings at Madoo storytelling hour continued into the fall. We’ll continue with new secret storytellers from time to time helping out—and it’ll always be a surprise.

We finished the renovation of the sunken terrace in the spring, with a perimeter hedge of Osmanthus planted and donated by Landscape Details. We re-laid the paving and planters and painted the fences bright red and charcoal grey. This is the kind of change that’s occurring throughout the garden. Over seven Saturday evenings, the newly refreshed garden was the site of a series of intimate cocktail parties hosted by Sotheby’s—revealing to scores of new visitors the beauty of Madoo.

Thanks to a very generous grant from the Ala and Ralph Isham Family Foundation, we’ve just started the renovation of the pond gardens. The ponds were drained and the quarter century-old liners were removed in preparation for the redesign. With new plumbing, the ponds will share a single recirculating system, and we’re adding a recharge garden where the pond water will be naturally filtered through aquaticplants. Water, we are learning, is one of our most precious resources and one that is most at risk—even here on the East End of Long Island. This new water garden will be a showpiece of the garden and a wonderful illustration for our visitors of how a natural water system functions.

Many more projects—small and large—are in the works. As we continue to reimagine Madoo for future generations, we find ourselves celebrating the special genius of this place. Bob’s creativity, found indoors and outdoors at Madoo, will find new expression in revitalized gardens and innovative programs in the near future. This is especially crucial as more and more of our guests appreciate how Madoo is an environment for promoting creative thinking in a myriad of fields.

As we begin 2017, I’m particularly thankful for your generosity and kindness in supporting Madoo. It’s crucial to protect, preserve and enhance this place where children and adults alike can escape the real world and enjoy the beauty of nature.

My best wishes to you and your family for a wonderful winter season

Stay green,

Alejandro Saralegui, DIRECTOR