Garden Tour Adventure

This past Saturday, the Cobblestone Society hosted a local Garden Tour. My dear friend, Sue Starkweather Miller led the tour that took a group of about 25 garden lovers on a spectacular adventure!

We gathered at the Cobblestone Church on Ridge Road and boarded a bus for the day.

Goody Bags and Door Prizes….we were also treated to freshly baked scones that were simply heavenly!


Our first stop was Sara’s Garden Market in Brockport. Sara’s has some incredible plants and garden supplies for sale and offered us a discount on anything we purchased while we were there. But, the main attraction was the stunning gardens and stone walls beyond the market.

Alma and Jeanette Riley Gardens – Private Residence

Two weeks in a row I was treated to the splendor of the Riley home! The first time was a Garden Party (scroll down to find the blog post about it) hosted by the Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners and I was in such awe I completely forgot to take more than a handful of photos….and none of the most amazing parts! I didn’t make that mistake, again! Also – the difference this time was that it was a guided tour by Jeanette Riley, who explained the meaning of all the different colors, items, themes, and focal areas, as well as what some of the less common plants and trees are and where she got them. Her gardens are a true family affair and everything in them ties somehow to the family and what is close to their hearts. I especially love the use of mirrors in the gardens — just amazing!

Jeanette Riley – she lives here with her mother, Alma. Jeanette’s brothers and sisters all help with the gardens, but it is Alma’s vision and touch that make them so unique!

The first of several mirrors throughout the property…..each one different and uniquely special

Jeanette explained that there is a seating area in each section of the gardens specifically so that they are never too far from a spot to sit and rest while working in the gardens, as well as being able to enjoy each section in comfort! Each seating area is a different color and theme tied to a specific meaning for the family!

The bird houses on this archway signifies the family – Jeanette is one of 10 children – there are 10 smaller houses with a large house on each end representing the mother and father.

This little house is built around a tree!

The gardens come alive with light at night with lanterns and lighting throughout the property

This seating area is pink in reference to the breast cancer that has plagued their family

The largest of the mirrors…..note the fairies sitting on the top ledge

This is the back side of that mirror…..nothing goes un-adorned in some way

Right behind this hill is the Erie Canal —- walkers along the tow path get to enjoy the gardens on their stroll

When not in use, even their boots and gloves are garden art!!!

Cobblestone Church

Our next stop was back at the Cobblestone Church where former Gaines Town Historian and current Reference Librarian at the Hoag Library in Albion, Dee Robinson, gave a talk on the “Language of Flowers”. Every flower has a meaning and in the olden days, people used flowers as a secret language to convey messages to those they delivered flowers to…..even the way in which flowers were arranged and handed to another person sent a specific message!

The organ loft and balcony seats in the oldest Cobblestone Church in North America – the only National Historic Landmark in Orleans County!

Dee Robinson (L) and Sue Starkweather Miller (R)

In the Ward House next door to the Cobblestone Church – also Cobblestone and originally built as the church parsonage – there is an excellent example of a Hair Wreath known as Victorian Mourning Art! People in Victorian times collected the hair of their loved ones and used it to make decorative remembrances of them by wrapping the hair around wire and weaving it into flowers and other such decorations (often home decorations, but also jewelry and other more personal items) – this one is especially ornate and is open at the top, signifying it was made in remembrance of a deceased loved one (the opening in the wreath was symbolic of a way to allow the spirit to rise to Heaven).

Vintage Apple Garden

After our time at the Cobblestone Church and the Ward House, we made our way to the Vintage Apple Garden – a market place for garden plants and decor located on Route 98 north of the Ridge just before it is joined by route 18 on the way to Point Breeze. They have started serving lunch and ice cream at the market, so that was our lunch stop! They also decorated their greenhouses to make them more inviting and picturesque! It was a nice stop!

We had a few choices for lunch – I had the chicken salad on a croissant with pasta salad and lemon aid – VERY GOOD!!!

Raven Ridge Gardens of Shirley Bright-Neeper – Private Residence

Our next stop was Raven Ridge – home of Master Gardener, Shirley Bright-Neeper and her husband. It stated to rain a little while we were there, but it didn’t stop us from thoroughly enjoying the Neeper’s amazing gardens! I believe they said they have been working on these gardens for 40 years – the property behind their house was originally a corn field….now, it is like wandering through a little slice of Heaven!

The Neeper’s showing photos of how the gardens look in other seasons……they are ever changing throughout the year because of what happens to be blooming at the time you view them, so they like to show what you’re missing from other seasons of the year!

Mr. Neeper commented on how these are the perfect dogs to have in a garden — they never bark and don’t leave little surprises behind in the walkways! 😀

If you don’t look closely, you’ll miss some great little detail — like this praying mantis sticking up out of the bushes

This is a beating heart sculpture made by a metal sculptor from Rochester — it slowly spins with the breeze! Lovely!

Shirley explaining about the flowers in this section of her property

Shirley said she likes to think of this as her “Chihuly Knockoff” piece! 🙂

This area has several dinosaur sculptures…..hard to see in this photo, but this is a pterodactyl

Closer shot of it

This dinosaur is surrounded by baby dinosaurs and a dinosaur egg off behind it!

One of the babies and the egg is just to the left of center by his tail

This is a wind harp — I have never seen one before — the wind flows through the strings and makes the most amazing music!!! I’m obsessed with it — I’m going to have to find one for my yard!

Leonard Oakes Winery

After leaving Raven Ridge, we stopped in at Leonard Oakes Winery at Lyn-Oaken Farms on the Ridge just north of Medina for a wine tasting and shopping.

There were two other stops…….Miller’s Amish Store and Watt’s Farm Market, that I didn’t get photos of. We ended the day back at the Cobblestone Church to draw for the door prizes…..I didn’t win anything, but I was still a major winner just by having experienced this incredible adventure!!!

6 Comments on “Garden Tour Adventure

  1. Hi Kim, I’m such a “sucker” for flowers! I enjoyed your efforts to share these beauties.

  2. beautiful pictures!! Wow! I had no idea of how beautiful some of these places were. What a fun day you all had. Thanks for sharing

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