Vinny Simeone on Rose Care and Travels with Allan Armitage


Fields Arboretum State Historic Park
in Oyster Bay, NY is worth at least one more post here, especially to introduce its director, Vinnie Simeone.  Here he is looking mighty happy with some of his many roses (which he sprays twice in spring with Neem oil, and that’s it.)  For
more about Planting Fields, I’ll just refer you to a recent profile in the NY Times, about this Flowery Legacy of a Gilded Age.





Should Ugly be Preserved?
Okay, that’s a provocative header but really, who could love the newly restored fountains in the pool above?  Dare I suggest – only people living that gilded age of aping everything glitzy and kinda Italian. 

Travels with Allan 
But a bit more about Vinnie. In addition to his hort duties, he’s written four books, a feat I admire, but what I ENVY are his duties as co-tour leader of Garden Vistas, with none other than Allan Armitage.  Here’s what Vinnie wrote me about that:

I have been traveling with Allan Armitage and a
group of garden enthusiasts since 1998.  We have visited England,
Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, Ireland, East and West sides of Canada,
New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and North and Southeastern US. We visit
both private and public gardens and many interesting people along the way. We
teach and also learn a lot about horticulture and see many exotic plants,
animals and places.

Now if we could just get a guest post from Vinnie about those travels.  Got stories?



  1. Actually, the Italian fountains were not part of the gilded age. The swimming pool was redesigned recently and the fountains were added. Personally, I think it was a mistake and it takes away from the beauty of the garden.

  2. Vinnie has done an amazing job restoring Planting fields and adding the beautiful rose garden. Planting Fields has to rely on state money and not a lot staff. My hat goes off to him and all he has done.

  3. Leave the ugly fountain. If we destroyed everything when it went out of fashion there would be no more Victorian or Art Deco gardens. Leave it for a historical purpose of understanding the aesthetic for the time it was built.

  4. Thanks for all of your wonderful comments. Actually, the pool was never meant to swim in and was only used for ornament. When we restored it a few years ago, it was kept virtually the same as it was in 1920.The tile, fountains, statues, everything is the same you would see in the old mattie hewitt photos. I don’t consider the Italian Garden a traditional one, more like an Italian pool with an American garden with a english influence. The shrub roses were our creation about 10 years ago. There are many good ones including carpet, knockout, carefree, austin, mediland and oso-easy.


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