11:00 am - 4:00 pm
We’ve pushed the clocks ahead and welcomed in spring; now thoughts are turning to summer sunshine and flowers. And this goes double for planners of our Hidden Garden Tour, who have been busy for months sowing the seeds for an exciting new edition of this annual fundraising event.
Their efforts have yielded seven beautiful properties: six in Westport and one in neighboring Southport that is Fairfield County’s only flower farm. Darcy Sledge, co-chair of the event with , put it this way:
“We have a wide variety of gardens this year, from those planned and executed by professional landscape architects, to those nurtured over many years by owners experimenting with their properties. We have cutting gardens, woodland gardens, rose gardens, shade gardens, and one which I venture to call a ‘micro-garden.’ It is very small, but every square inch is meticulously planted with interesting combinations of plants, sculpture and stonework.”
Tour day will also see a Garden Market from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the grounds of WHS’s Bradley-Wheeler House, where home-grown and home-made items from gardens and cottage businesses will be available.
In the evening from 5 to 7:30 p.m., we’ll gather at Gilbertie’s Herb Gardens at 7 Sylvan Lane in Westport for a festive Garden Party catered by A Dash of Salt. Founded by Culinary Institute of America graduate, Jonathan Mathias, A Dash of Salt offers a menu inspired by cuisines from around the world. Click here, for tickets to the Garden Party.
Participants must first stop by Bradley-Wheeler House, 25 Avery Place across from Westport Town Hall, to pick up their tickets and directions to the “hidden gardens.”
Three of the gardens are either on or just off North Avenue in the Coleytown section of Westport and another sits atop Old Hill, and yet another, bearing the whimsical name “Tidebrook,” nestles beside a tidal stream just off the Saugatuck River. Sneak preview: one of the tour homes belongs to a celebrity friend of the Historical Society, Westport author and lifestyle expert, Mar Jennings.
Rose gardens will be near their peak at tour time, and beds of these elegant flora are the main attraction at one of the homes. Another, owned by a doctor who served a tour of duty with the military in Japan, features bonsaied Japanese maple, cherry and weeping redbuds, and ornamental pines and broad leafed evergreens.
The owner of another describes her property as a sloping wooded lot with lovely old stone walls, a pool, lawn sculptures and a fern walk along a pond, all on a parcel designed by Frank Geiger, namesake and founder of the Westport lawn and garden firm.
How do displays of white daisies and drifts of frothy, chartreuse lady’s mantle sound? Or borders backstopped by tall, white spires of aruncus and false astilbe, along with spires of deep pink lupines and dark purple salivas? Or globes of purple allium, pink and white peonies and mature clumps of deep pink astrania? The names alone are beautiful and inviting.
Given that onions were once a staple crop in Westport, it is not surprising that one of the gardens occupies a former onion farm. The setting is essentially woodland in character and notable for its many weeping trees. In early June, azaleas and rhododendrons paint the landscape with swaths of pink, yellow and orange.
Lastly, there will be an educational aspect at a home planted with native, pollinator-attracting, drought-tolerant and disease-resistant species that provide a diverse and robust habitat for birds and bees.
Hidden Garden Tour, Sunday, June 14, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tour tickets are $45 members, $55 non-members, $60 day of tour. Garden Party tickets are $60 members and non-members. Combo tickets are $90 members, $100 non-members, $110 day of tour. Tickets may be purchased here: BUY TICKETS or by calling 203-222-1424, or by visiting the Westport Historical Society.