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Squirrel Hall Garden

by Stephen Kaye
Sun Jul 31st, 2016

The surprising and altogether witty centerpiece of this formally laid out garden is just one example of the tongue-in cheek approach that makes Squirrel Hall a delight to visit.  We were among the many admirers who queued up for a personalized tour-de-force tour given by Michael Poulin pictured above with his favorite archer.  That the archer poses on his pedestal at the end of an allée is one of the jokes.  We aren’t at Versailles or Wethersfield, but at a house on Maple Avenue in the village of Millbrook.  In a small space of .7 of an acre, Michael and his husband, Bobby DeFrank, have created a series of rooms that are both living spaces and hallways, all carefully designed and planted with wit and horticultural sophistication.  

We were particularly taken by the woodland walk at the back of the property where in a space not much more than 30 feet wide we are in a forest of deep shade, coolness and woodland plants.  There’s an overall logic imposed by the rectilinear design that gives an impression of formality mitigated by the originality of the plants and the found objects in which Michael  delights and which keep the visitor guessing.  A miniature hermitage/shed is a cozy hide-away.