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Diggin' It

Touring the gardens of Kykuit can make you feel 'rich as Rockefeller'

In New York's Hudson Valley, the gardens of the Rockefellers' Kykuit estate can enrich your gardening experience.

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Shortly after we returned home, our wall of rhododendrons came into bloom and I was thrilled to see that, though not so numerous as those at Kykuit, ours looked splendid. If riches are counted in rhodies, we're doing just fine.

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If you go:

Tickets for Kykuit tours can be purchased through Historic Hudson Valley , which also manages ticket sales for nearby historic Philipsburg Manor and its vegetable and medicinal gardens, and Washington Irving's home and Romantic-style landscape, Sunnyside . Tours at both Philipsburg and Sunnyside are conducted by costumed guides.

Be forewarned that, while it is possible to visit all three sites in the same day, it is an exhausting schedule. Plan on returning to your hotel room to catch your breath, or going out for a relaxing dinner afterward.

For armchair travelers:

For armchair travelers and history buffs, the book, "Great Houses of the Hudson River," edited by Michael M. Dwyer, is an excellent reference. The exquisite photos and exacting histories and descriptions in it inspired and motivated our trip.

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Lois de Vries, a popular speaker at regional flower shows and garden clubs, writes from her home in rural northwestern New Jersey. To read her other posts at Diggin' It, click here. She's a field editor for Better Homes and Gardens and Country Gardens magazines and has been a contributing editor for other national publications. She was awarded the Jefferson Presidential Award for public service in environmental work. Click here and here to read about her garden design and environmental ideas and her holistic approach to gardening.You can also follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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