Sunday, October 31, 2021

Innisfree Garden

"I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree"

-- W.B. Yeats, "The Lake Isle of Innisfree" (1888)

On a cool, cloudy, October day, Duane and I visited beautiful Innisfree Garden at Millbrook, NY. We were on our way home from a brief get-away to New England--a wonderful trip with Innisfree as the perfect climax. This was the private garden of artist Walter Beck and his wife heiress Marion Burt Beck. They collaborated with landscape architect Lester Collins to create a garden with an Asian influence exemplified by the elements of water, stones, bridges, and plants. Walter Beck named the garden Innisfree after the island in an Irish loch immortalized by the poet, W.B. Yeats. From the moment we entered the grounds, we were in love with this serene place.

As we approached the garden, we drove through a gate next to a lovely stone building; then traveled down a long, narrow, winding lane

Along the way we passed a small lake where Duane spotted turtles sunning themselves on a log. He took this picture of them.

The centerpiece of Innisfree is the beautiful Tyrrel Lake, 40 acres in size. Water is pumped from this deep glacial lake into a hillside reservoir to feed the garden's water features.

I took pictures of the lake from several spots as we went around it. Every view is stunning.

There are bog gardens filled with water lilies. I would love to see them when the plants are blooming. The second one we saw had lotus that must be stunning in bloom.

Bog Gardens. You can see the leaves of lotus in the picture on the right.

As we walked beneath a sharp, vertical cliff, we saw mist rising above--small waterfalls flowed down the sheer cliff wall. The Mist Waterfall is one of the most dramatic sights at Innisfree. It looks very natural but its creation required an extremely elaborate construction.

The Mist Waterfall

Some of the plants include, on the right, foxglove and columbine. The light green foliage on the left is primula.

Lip Rock Waterfall

We climbed the Stone Steps by Tiptoe Rock then I rested near the Stone Slab Bridge

I believe this is the Water Sculpture with the Hillside Cave at the top

Five pear trees in the Meadow with one vertical rock
On the edge of the Meadow, bees were visiting Joe Pye

One of the terraces with pools and streams

 There are many magnificent trees at Innisfree including ginko, hemlock, and pine.

At first I thought this was a dawn redwood but its root's 'knees' show that it is a bald cypress. I wish my dawn redwood developed knees. Duane said that if it did he would paint faces on them.

I have shown only a few of the areas we visited. Innisfree is a large garden (185 acres) that feels very open yet provides intimate spots called cup gardens. I feel that we need to make several visits to assimilate it all. It didn't help that I wasn't wearing walking shoes--this was a spur-of-the-moment visit. Most definitely we will  return--I have to see Innisfree when the flowers are blooming.

Back at Astolat Gardens, my own dear venture, we have had more nasty storms with at least five inches of rain, plus very high winds. There has not been a frost yet but one is imminent. I plan to start putting the garden to bed over the coming week--never this late before.  

The Serenity Garden from the garden room window. The asters were flattened by the storms and the flagpole lies on the grass. The golden leaves of hosta and climbing hydrangea are pretty but wont be here much longer.


I brought the houseplants inside. I placed some of them in the French window facing west and some in the south-facing dining-room window.

The cactus on the right had quintuplets this summer--see below
Look at the five baby cacti.

A last view of the pond and herbaceous border before leaves fall and we put it to bed.

Fall arrived at Astolat at last

Although this posting is not a full review of my October garden, I am still linking with Sarah, Down by the Sea, in Dorset, England for her Through the Garden Gate meme. To see my October blooms, please click HERE.

I can't believe tomorrow will be the first day of November--this year is passing faster than any other. They say the years pass quicker as you get older--well, that seems true since I am now an octogenarian. Thank you dear friends for the birthday wishes. My wonderful husband and children gave me a surprise party that I will never forget. It is gardening that keeps me young--I recommend it.

Have a great November!


Pamela x


I love reading your comments. I hope you leave one so I’ll know you visited! 

I look forward to visiting your blog in return.


  1. How very tranquil and beautiful. Age is just a number to us gardeners, Pam.

  2. What a fabulous garden and yes, it does look as though a return trip is needed to appreciate all that is on offer. We too have had lots of rain and wind over the last few days, I fear winter has arrived, the leaves are dropping fast from the trees now. I'm glad you enjoyed your birthday, a surprise party sounds like fun.

  3. Thanks for that vicarious visit to Innisfree with those gorgeous pictures. What a beautiful garden. We've had high winds here, too, recently, which have begun to encourage the leaves to fall. Our front yard makes for very crunchy walking now.

    Oh, and a belated happy birthday and happy November!

  4. Both gardens look lovely and worthy of magazine coverage. :-)

  5. What a lovely locale! It actually reminds me of locations in Southern Wisconsin, believe it or not. The rock outcroppings, the lakes, and the rolling hills are so familiar. Beautiful photos. :)

  6. What a beautiful place. I live in NJ perhaps one day I will be lucky enough to visit here.

  7. I wish you every happiness as the next year rolls out.

    Water features at Innisfree are delightful.

  8. I enjoyed your pics and take on Innisfree! I visited in early October with my husband, and we walked the whole way around the lake, admiring all the interesting spaces along the way. Working on my post now too.