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How to create garden rooms & build garden décor Collections: the annual Antique Garden Furniture Fair: Antiques for the Garden and the Garden Room at The New York Botanical Garden


The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) hosted its special
Preview benefit this evening for the 22nd annual garden fete, Antique
Garden Furniture Fair: Antiques for the Garden and the Garden Room
sponsored by 1stdibs®.  

General admission visitors can enjoy the Fair from 10 am to
5 pm, Friday through Sunday, April 25-27 with the All-Garden Pass or you can purchase tickets on-site at the Garden.

But from The Collectors’ Plant Sale to the rare antiques,
items were already selling like first-day sales of Harry Potter books or
Apple’s latest iPhone. 

The Sold stickers
were blistering plants, urns, mirrors, fountains, benches, botanical prints, bird
baths, and sundials, faster than the cherry blossom petals falling from the
trees gracing the Enid A Haupt Conservatory.
According to NYBG the Antique Garden Show is the “country’s
original, largest and most important venue for authentic garden antiques  – with more than 30 leading exhibitors.”
There is no doubt this is THE event to build an indoor or
outdoor garden room Collection.  The
unique items at the show are important, authentic, decorative art.   

Entering the event, me and my Plus+One, EunYoung Sebazco ( a graduate
of the NYBG School of Professional Horticulture (SOPH), landscape architect,
pioneer of growing rice in NYC and former associate with my garden design
firm, Duchess Designs, were greeted with cool jazz from the live band, hort
friends, and double-sided rows of unusual herbaceous and woody plants from the
finest growers, including Itoh peonies, orchids, Coral Bark acers, herbs, and
Here too, were the Silent Auction items. I had pen in hand
poised to bid on the Munder Skiles (  bench designed by my garden friend, John

Exterior designer, Horticultural Society of NY 2014 honoree, John Danzer (c)

John will have the distinct honor of being honored at this
year’s Horticultural Society of New York on Monday, April 28th at
the Pierre, along with Sofia and Peter Blanchard, patrons and visionaries of
the Garden State’s Greenwood Gardens.
I wrote about Greenwood in January featuring the glory of
this beautiful jewel of historical significance.
For tickets and support to the Horticultural Society:
Garden Room Magic
Stepping in to the garden room furniture showroom area,
there were waiters poised with silver platters of wine and hors d’oeuvres,
flanked by giant urns and planters filled with glamorous and colorful,
spring-blooming plants.  

The annual Antique Garden show oozes more than great garden
room finds, though.
It’s an intimate, frisson-fueled party. 
Straight away, there was Barbara Corcoran, successful real
estate maven and Bunny Williams, doyenne of design, in a tete a tete.
Barbara Corcoran, (L) Real Estate mogul & Shark Tank panelist,  Bunny Williams, renowned designer 
More Garden beautiful people, L: Charles Yurgalevitch, Director, School of Professional Horticulture, NYBG; EunYoung Sebazco, SOPH graduate, landscape architect, Randall’s Island hort pro, Eric Lieberman, Garden Ed Manager, NYBG, SOPH student, Chris Ruiz   
Every exhibitor booth was curated with items that elicit
curiosity, awe and garden lust!

In no particular order, we found these items particularly
Gilded wrought iron florals from Italy circa 1950’s from
Brennan & Mouilleseaux Antiques   According to Tim Brennan, “The NYBG Show is
the best of its kind in the country and we come perilously close to selling
out.”  He added, “The show attracts a
sophisticated and educated clientele.”

Here was also a slate table for $12,000. that sprouted a
Sold sticker while we were just getting started.
The sweet, white garden furniture winked a happy welcome at
Dawn Hill Antiques.  

But I was completely smitten with their whimsical, antique sprinklers.
Why haven’t I ever seen these conversation pieces cum works
of art and garden workhorses?
John Peden, who with his wife Paulette, own the
Connecticut-based dealership explained how these wonders worked. 
Made of indestructible cast iron, he’s passionate about
these 1950’s American-made wonders, manufactured by the Nebraska company,
National Manufacturing Company. 

With accelerating enthusiasm, he describes how the
mechanical sprinkler spins, and “walks” the yard, even crawling up a hill, all
the while following where the hose was laid out.”
Kind of like those Roomba robot vacuum cleaners – but for
the lawn. 
But more rugged and clearly more cool. And handsome.
“They move at a stately pace,” he says with pride.
NYBG president, Gregory Long (R)
As Gregory Long, president of NYBG stops to say hello, Peden
doesn’t break stride; continues to narrate how he’s sold perhaps three dozen of
the sprinklers over the course of his career.
“How do you keep finding these?” asks Long. 
“They find me,” Peden replies gleefully. 

The seashell “floral bouquets” from were such a score that
they were seized almost immediately by David Rozenholc and his wife Dina
Weiner, who said they attend the show every year. 
When I asked the cost of the seashell bouquets, Rozenholc
didn’t know the price – but knew they’d be perfect for their Southampton
country house.  Along with the stork
The dealer was reticent to share the price but when asked
for a ballpark figure, she offered they sold for around a thousand a piece.
Well done, David. I covet these beauties! 
David Rozenholc

Another shell-based design was found at Blitheworld Home (
A 1940’s gem, this treasure box had a surprise inside – 1949
magazine headlines decoupage!
Blitheworld previewed a mix of intriguing through the
looking glass pieces contrasting BIG and diminutive.  

Owner Sandra Seiger sources her art from
Belgium and France.  Love the Big, early
20th century, pond-scum green & gold mirror $2,200 and small
outdoor garden chairs $3,900.
The Oscar de la Renta Collection from the Shop in the Garden
is even better than I remembered from seeing it in the Shop during the Orchid
Show, after including the collection in the Garden Glamour post about the
Macy’s Flower Show and tablescapes. 

Who wouldn’t love the story about how the designer researched
the look from the Garden’s LuEsther T. Mertz Library’s Rare Book Collection for
this, his 20-piece home collection.   (
The marbleized green chargers are a nod to the inside covers
papers found in the antique books. 

Upon closer inspection – and pointed out to us, the trellis plates
are in fact based on an in-plan garden design drawing and then repeated.  Brilliant!
Peonies (my favorite flower) and the May apple botanicals
punctuate the cocktail, dinner and dinner plates that coordinate to mix and
match casual, elegant look. 
I loved the dahlias, magnolias, and gardenia paperweights
and pagoda salt & pepper shakers that look for all the world like table

A first-time exhibitor, Cottage & Camp, showed
intriguing toile painted andirons.  

booth showed lots of other intriguing garden lifestyle items, too, including plant stands. 
We discovered an astonishing mirror whose provenance hailed
from South Kensington in London and was originally a ceiling mirror that was
embellished with a frame that will make you blush. 

Here also was a very, very, extremely rare set of four large
mid-19th century French blue decorated enameled cast iron
conservatory planters, each with lion head handle and our lion paw feet, signed
C.H. Paris & Cie, Le Bourget, selling for $65,000. 
The set is in excellent condition and is from the collection
of Gene and Marlene Siskel (Siskel & Ebert fame) posing 20” high and 16”
in diameter. 
This look is referred to as the “Rouen style”  “likely because the decoration in both color
and form is similar to 18th century Rouen enameled pottery”
according the Chicago-based dealer and exhibitor Finnegan Gallery, (
The Philadelphia-based Francis J. Purcell ( dazzled with
a zinc and cast iron Fiske fountain circa 1876 priced at just south of $20,000. 

Joseph Winn Fiske and his company J.W. Fiske & Co. was
the most prominent American manufacturer of decorative cast iron and cast zinc
and was the preferred darling of mid Victorian garden art. 
The fountain bowl is stamped with the Fiske New York Park Place
foundry address.  
Don’t you agree that
banter about a Foundry on Park Place alone is worth a few year’s of cocktail party
chatter when showcasing this piece?  
Toss in the American-made craft and
legacy, along with the fountain’s enduring beauty  — and you can surely make that 20K sticker
price justified.
There were Fiske classic urns, too. 

And 1930’s grills that were found in a hotel inspired
by Rococo gate and trellis designs.

The Italian well from Balsamo was a remarkable beauty – and
already sold $16, 500. The dealer wouldn’t reveal the selling price when asked but EunYoung simply turned over the price ticket…
Firehouse Antiques was a first-time exhibitor ( and
given what we saw of co-owner Paul Thien’s creative design, they are sure to be
successful at the show.
Thien showed us a pair of early glass consoles that he had a
wood topped with zinc to look like slate, make two tables.  Brilliant design and very handsome. $900. 

The two black Salterini wrought iron chairs with black and
white pony skin seats are too gorgeous: a work of art to behold. $600. 
I have
to look into collecting Salterini mid-century sexy gems… I researched his nesting
tables, cocktail tables, and Peacock chairs! 
Joan Bogart exhibited a mint-condition Salterini white
liquor cart that still had its original finish. $2,695.

Firehouse also presented two arresting zinc wall panels from
1930’s for $1,875. 

RT Facts was all about neoclassical inspired pieces – from a
startling svelte settee (American 1820) to mirrors and stands and urns. (

The highlight for me at the Scott Estepp Gallery were the
two pieces they’d just gotten in from atop mid Western grange exchange – and
are now gold sculptures perched on stands. 
Ornate, floral designs!

The catering was provided by Steven Starr Events. 

Most everything edible was teeny:  mini bison sliders, cherry tomatoes stuffed
(with a tweezer, I guess) with Feta cheese and itsy-bitsy, toothpick-sized
cucumber slice, served on an ingenious bed of olive tapenade that looked not
unlike potting soil! 

There was also mini BLT, spicy tuna tartare rolls, and be
still my heart: marble-sized risotto arancini rolled in truffle oil and honey.
For a full list of the Garden Furniture Fair’s weekend
special programs, including lectures, book signings, and Q&A with NYBG
plant experts, visit:


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 I adore plants. Plants are my muse ~ they are my paramour… I’m a garden artist; a nature lover, & horticulturist. I’m an author & writer. My passion for culture & beauty, along with my trait curiosity, brings you an authentic celebration of life. I’m a storyteller ~ weaving the artful gifts of horticulture, garden design, tablescape decor, floral design, cocktail culture, garden-to-glass recipes & their glamorous garnishes, homegrown edibles, food & drink; & cooking, to bring you my flair & what I’ve been told is an avid elan ~ as well as the stories from those who inspire me ~ to pursue an elegant, enduring, & joyful, entertaining lifestyle. It’s an honor & a privilege to do what you love.

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