And While You’re in the Neighborhood, Enjoy Other Regional Attractions
Sometime during this garden season, we hope you’ll visit our display gardens in the Morris section of Litchfield, Connecticut. Depending on the timing of your visit (or visits), you’ll find plenty of blooms in our outdoor borders, and quite possibly, in the Begonia House, which is generally in peak bloom from July to September. We also offer a variety of events each year, and you might consider planning your visit around those. Our 11th annual Great Tomato Celebration takes place May 20th–22nd at the farm, and our annual Open House will be held June 18th.
While you’re in the neighborhood, you might take the time to explore some of the other attractions Litchfield County and the surrounding hill towns have to offer. For gardeners, it’s pure heaven, and you can see why as you scroll below. If you’re accompanied by someone who doesn’t know a Hosta from a Hydrangea, coax them along by offering a number of other enticements: There’s hiking in Kent Falls State Park in Kent, and in the White Memorial Conservation Center in Litchfield, horseback riding at several area farms, live music at Infinity Hall in Norfolk and Bridge Street Live in Collinsville, the 21st annual Litchfield Jazz Festival in Litchfield, and an abundance of truly great restaurants. For the non-garden attractions, we’ll let you rely on the links provided. For the garden highlights, read below:
The mission of this highly regarded national organization is “to save and share America’s outstanding gardens for generations to come.” Since 1989, the conservancy has worked to ensure the survival of more than 100 gardens across the United States, and to promote gardens and gardening. In addition to lectures, garden-study opportunities, and other events, it hosts annual regional garden tours called Open Days.
Whether you visit a single site or multiple ones, viewing gardens of all types and sizes is a terrific way to absorb and appreciate fundamentals of garden design, glean tips on what to plant, and come away inspired to try new ideas.
In our neck of the woods, the 2016 Litchfield County Open Days are: June 11 and 18, July 9 and 30, August 28, and September 11. For a complete calendar of Open Days garden tours in Connecticut and across the United States, and to learn more about this organization, visit www.gardenconservancy.org.
Trade Secrets, May 14 & 15, 2016
Martha Stewart keeps the annual Trade Secrets event on her calendar. “Growing With Plants” blogger Matt Mattus has made the trip from Massachusetts. And, speaking for ourselves, we wouldn’t miss it. The two-day event features a garden market on the first day and self-guided tours of several private gardens on the second. This year’s event will be held May 14 & 15. Saturday brings the Trade Secrets Rare Plant and Garden Antiques Sale at the hilltop LionRock Farm in Sharon, CT. On Sunday, drive yourself around the hills of northwest Connecticut, stopping to visit four different gardens between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The gardens you’ll see this year belong to: internationally known interior designer and Trade Secrets founder Bunny Williams and her husband John Roselli; author, and lifestyle and fashion icon Carolyne Roehm, whose garden is called “Weatherstone”; Pat and Judy Murphy of “Old Farm Nursery”; and antiques dealer, and interior and landscape designer Michael Trapp, whose home garden is rarely open to the public. The Trade Secrets event is a fundraiser for Women’s Support Services of the northwest corner of Connecticut.
For more information about Trade Secrets and to buy advance tickets, visit www.tradesecretsct.com.
Hollister House Garden
300 Nettleton Hollow Road
Inspired by some of England’s great gardens – Sissinghurst, Great Dixter and Hidcote – Hollister House Garden is an American interpretation of those classics. Situated on 25 acres in Washington, CT, it was begun in 1979 by George Schoellkopf and Ron Johnson. Schoellkopf’s 18th century house is surrounded by a succession of garden “rooms” that are separated by stonewalls and hedges, and decorated with a glorious abundance of plantings. Equal parts formal and informal, classic and wild, it’s a marvelous place to stroll and learn. Hollister House also hosts a series of events each season, and this year’s lineup is superb.
Hollister House Garden opens for the season April 30, 2016. For more information, including a calendar of events, visit www.hollisterhousegarden.org
Cricket Hill Garden
670 Walnut Hill Road
Otherwise known as “Peony Heaven,” this specialty plant nursery in Thomaston, CT, grows and sells rare and unusual peonies (including herbaceous, tree and intersectional varieties). If you manage to make your visit during blossoming time, you’ll understand where the “Peony Heaven” nickname comes from. Founded in 1989, the nursery is run by members of the Furman family. It also specializes in perennial landscape edibles including Asian Pear, Pawpaw, Persimmon, Elderberry, Mulberry, and heirloom and other Apples, among other treasures. Visit Cricket Hill online at www.treepeony.com, or in person. Cricket Hill’s 27th Annual Peony Festival is timed for the weeks of peak bloom in the peony gardens. This year, it’s slated for early to mid-May for tree peonies and mid- to late May for herbaceous and intersectional varieties. Before driving, call the number above for blossom updates.
The Bellamy-Ferriday House & Garden
9 Main St.
Built in two stages between 1754 ad 1767 by the Rev. Joseph Bellamy, this home became a gardener’s paradise beginning in 1912 when it was purchased by Henry and Eliza Ferriday. It was Mrs. Ferriday who began designing the outdoor spaces, creating a formal parterre garden, planting fragrant perennials, shrubs and trees, and utilizing evergreens to screen the house from the adjacent roadway. When Mrs. Ferriday died, daughter, Caroline, took over ownership of the property. In addition to her work as an actress, philanthropist, and conservationist, Caroline continued her mother’s work in the garden. Today, the gardens are a treat for those who love lilacs, peonies and historic roses, as well as flowering trees and shrubs. Tours of the house and gardens are offered from May to early October. The home is considered a Connecticut landmark, and it’s included on the register of National Historic Places.
For more information, visit www.ctlandmarks.org/bellamy-ferriday.