The paths that meander through the gardens are in some ways artifacts of the original plantings. Many of the original plantings originated as well-separated island beds each with a tree or several shrubs planted around boulders, old stone foundations of long-gone outbuildings, or other unmovable obstacles, and then enhanced by herbaceous perennials and ground covers. As the plantings matured, these island beds merged, and what were open spaces today have become pathways through the garden.

Important features of the garden are the many naturalized plants and groundcovers that provide a tapestry-like background for the specimen trees and shrubs. Primula veris, P. elatior, Pulmonarias, Lamiums, Waldsteinia, and many others have spread through vegetative means or self-sown in abundance.

The lawn and pasture areas one sees today were once a derelict tangle of bramble bushes, goldenrod, common juniper, and young pine trees. The only cultivated woody plants that date earlier than 1967 are the Lilac, Philadelphus, and Symphorcarpus at the immediate southeast corner of the house. The woodland gardens behind the barn were created over the years by clearing and planting what once was an impenetrable jungle of 40-year-old pasture pine and grey birch.