Secret Garden Tour - Palazzo Riggi

Sunday, July 13, 2014
Ever since I began this blog, I've been on the look-out for cool things to photograph and blog about for the purpose of sharing with you all neat places you may not know exist or haven't had the opportunity to check out.   With this in mind, for my birthday earlier this month, my youngest daughter gave me tickets to the 20th Annual Secret Gardens Tour in Saratoga Springs.  This event benefits the Soroptimist International of Saratoga County which is part of an international organization that supports programs for woman and girls, including educational programs for  victims of domestic violence, as well as providing awards and grants of various kinds.  Today's tour featured 11 properties in and around Saratoga Springs.  Before the rain arrived to put a damper on our day, we had the opportunity to visit 4 gardens, all beautiful in their own way, but one of those was of particular interest to me and I believe you'll understand why soon!

Long before today, I've had a love affair with Palazzo Riggi.  I've photographed it every season because it is a sight to behold - decorated or in its "everyday" state.  But today, as part of the Secret Garden Tour, I got to see 'inside' the gates and I'd be lying if I said it was just as I'd expected.  It was more, so much more!    The grounds, which includes formal gardens, courtyards, pools, a pavilion, a radiant heated area for the 42 dogs who are lucky enough to reside here, a koi pond and more, were designed with the help of Rich Morris of Toadflax Nursery.  Not only did Mr. Morris help Michele Riggi design this amazing space.....Toadflax plants, waters, fertilizes, dead-heads and maintains this paradise.  In fact we were told that a Toadflax staff member is here all day, three days a week working on keeping this treasure looking picture perfect.  And it shows!!
Just inside the gate..........

It was obvious that we were not the only spectators who were enthusiastic about having the opportunity to see the Riggi "secret garden".  And it was no wonder!  Holy Cow....I spent an hour and could have easily spent all day.   Not only was there beauty and perfection everywhere you looked, our Hostess - Michele herself - was welcoming, humble, friendly and gracious in making everyone feel welcome in her 'home'.   Speaking of cannot even imagine what's behind those stone walls, but if it's anything like outside, I'm sure it's beyond anything I can imagine.   One would expect that the owners of such a palatial estate might be a little pompous or pretentious, but Michele was the farthest from that!  She was delightful and down to earth.  In fact when I asked if I could take her picture, she said, "sure but I didn't even do my hair this morning.  I was up late at the Ballet Gala last night".   Despite that, she looked radiant.
Michele Riggi - Our gracious hostess!
 Besides Michele and members of the Soroptimists available to answer questions, several staff from Toadflax Nursery were on hand to answer gardening questions as well.


 Michele's dogs are a very special part of her family.  The current census is 42 - most of which are rescues and it was obvious Michele loves each one!   More obvious was how much they love her, and why wouldn't they?   They live inside this gorgeous home and when they go out, they have a specially designed 'yard' with radiant heat, a fire hydrant, and at least today a uniform staff member who was discreetly scooping poop to keep everything looking pristine for the guests.  I think life for the Riggi canines must be pretty luxurious, don't you?

And as if the backyard isn't enough - here's the front yard!   Is it even called a 'yard'?   This can be seen walking past on Broadway.  Every season at Palazzo Riggi offers its own special charm. I have photographed them all, but this is by far my favorite!

Just some simple refreshments -cookies from Dolce Biscotti, lemonade, bottled water and a rose for every guest!

This was a great birthday gift and a very special opportunity to see one of the most breathtaking gardens I've ever seen.  I hope these photos encourage you to check out next year's Secret Garden tour to donate to this great charity while enjoying this and many other beautiful gardens in Saratoga Springs.

To view the photos in a slide show format - click on any photo.  Once you are at the show, just click the pics along the bottom of the page to move from photo to photo.   

 All photos, unless otherwise noted,were taken by Gail A. Welter.  All Rights Reserved. Photographs in this blog may not be reproduced or manipulated in any form or fashion without my express written consent.


  1. That was by far one of the most beautiful and colorful places I have ever seen. I cannot even describe how lovely I find it to be. What a fairytale land you got to see for your birthday!!! Next time I am in the area I will at least make a point to walk by this Eden.

  2. This blog is beyond spectacular! What a beautiful place this is, and you have photographed it beautifully! You MUST let me know when it is opened for a tour again as I would really love to go!! Fantastic job!!!


  3. WOW, WOW, awesome! Those photos are beautiful. Breathtaking gardens, lovely blog. Bravo.


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