15 distinctive historic sites and gardens, all within Connecticut's borders, will participate in Connecticut’s Historic Gardens Day 2017 on Sunday, June 25, 12:00 – 4:00 pm – Rain or Shine. Among them is Wilton's own Weir Farm.
Enjoy this special state-wide celebration of Connecticut’s stunning historic gardens. Member sites host special events and activities celebrating their gardens. Choose the gardens in your own backyard, or plan a daytrip to see those further afield.
Events will take place RAIN OR SHINE, though activities may vary depending on the weather.
Here are activities taking place at member garden sites:
Weir Farm National Historic Site, Wilton
Celebrate Connecticut’s Historic Gardens Day at Weir Farm National Historic Site, where gardens and art go hand-in-hand! From 12pm to 4pm, park staff and Garden Gang volunteers will offer short informal talks in the Sunken Garden and Secret Garden about each garden’s history, flowers, restoration, and ongoing preservation. In addition to the talks, visitors can spend an afternoon painting en plein air in the only national park dedicated to American painting. Join a professional art instructor from 1 to 4pm for informal art instruction using the park’s free-to-use watercolor supplies! Be sure to see inside the visitor center for a special exhibition featuring contemporary paintings, photographs, and prints inspired by the park’s gardens, buildings, and landscape.
Bellamy-Ferriday House & Garden, Bethlehem
Discover the treasures of the Bellamy-Ferriday estate. Stroll through the formal parterre garden designed by Eliza Mitchell Ferriday between 1915 and 1918. Grounds admission is free; regular admission applies for historic house tour.
Butler-McCook House & Garden, Hartford
Walk through our historic Jacob Weidenmann Garden that was installed by Eliza Butler McCook and her sister Mary in 1865. Today the garden is lovingly maintained by the West Hartford Garden Club. Grounds admission is free; regular admission applies for historic house tour.
Florence Griswold Museum, Old Lyme
Visit the gardens and landscape that inspired a generation of artists. Enjoy refreshments on Miss Florence’s porch. Get creative and pick up all the painting supplies necessary to make your own masterpiece in the garden or down by the river. Discover more about the landscape using one of the Museum’s new “Explorer Kits.” Have lunch at Café Flo. Visitors can watch members of the Connecticut Society of Portrait Artists paint models posed in the gardens. Grounds admission is free; regular admission applies for historic house and gallery.
At 2pm join artist Ellen Hoverkamp as she explains and demonstrates how she makes hauntingly beautiful images of plants and flowers from the garden using a scanner rather than a camera. Her final photographs are created by arranging botanical cuttings and natural objects face down on a large format flatbed photo scanner. The mission of Ellen’s work is to draw attention to the spectacular beauty of nature. A book signing of her collaboration with author, Ken Druse Natural Companions, The Garden Lovers Guide to Plant Combinations and a display of her artwork will conclude the event. There is a $7 fee for the lecture.
Glebe House Museum and The Gertrude Jekyll Garden, Woodbury
Garden volunteers will be giving tours through the Gertrude Jekyll Garden and answering your questions about Miss Jekyll’s design and the history of the garden at The Glebe House Museum. Admission to the garden is free, but donations are suggested. Refreshments will be served. Call 203-263-2855 for more information or visit www.glebehousemuseum.org.
Harkness Memorial State Park, Waterford
Tours of the gardens designed by America’s first female landscape architect, Beatrix Farrand and the history of the Harkness Estate, EOLIA, will be presented free of charge from 12pm to 4pm by Park Staff and Friends of Harkness volunteers at Harkness Memorial State Park, on Great Neck Road, in Waterford. Also, tours of the Harkness mansion will be available from 10am until 2pm for a suggested donation. After your garden and mansion tours, visit the Gift Shop at the Carriage House open from 11:30am to 3:30pm. Bring a picnic and after your tours enjoy the spectacular views of Long Island Sound from the Great Lawn.
Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, Hartford
Take a self-guided tour of Stowe’s historic gardens with offerings from shade-loving perennials and colorful annuals to exotic elephant ears, castor bean plants, and stately roses. The gardens include Connecticut’s largest Merrill magnolia and the Stowe Dogwood™ cornus florida rubra, a pink dogwood believed to be from Stowe’s time. Enjoy plein air painting in the gardens! With paid admission, take a Stowe Center tour and be inspired by the life and work of Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of the best-selling, anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
Hill-Stead Museum, Farmington
Join us in the Sunken Garden at 1 pm for a short talk about the garden and its designer, Beatrix Farrand, America’s first female landscape architect. Come learn a little about the garden of the past and the present, while you enjoy a pleasant stroll in the 1920s Sunken Garden. Gardeners will be available from noon to 4:00 pm to give guided tours of the garden, and answer your questions. Participate in a fun hands-on art activity with the Museum Educator (children welcome!). Stroll the grounds of the 150-acre estate, visit the newly renovated gift shop, and tour the museum at your leisure to view the historic home (open from 1:00 to 4:00) and the collection of Impressionist art (fee applies for self-guided house tours, all outside activities free).
New London County Historical Society and Shaw Mansion, New London
Enjoy beautiful historic garden, free of admission. Staff will be present to answer questions relating to the garden, the historic Shaw Mansion, and New London County. Additionally, each visitor will receive a package of heritage seeds to plant in their own gardens this season.
Osborne Homestead Museum, Derby
Visitors can enjoy tours of the museum’s lovely Colonial Revival gardens and learn about flower and tree legends and Frances Osborne Kellogg’s favorite flowers. After strolling through the gardens, visitors can visit the historic house museum and learn about Frances Osborne Kellogg’s passion for gardening and land conservation. Complimentary museum and garden tours will be offered every half hour on the hour.
Promisek at Three Rivers Farm, Bridgewater
Promisek gardeners will be on hand to answer questions about the Beatrix Farrand-designed garden and the history of the land. Violinists from The Hartt School will perform from the garden terrace, and iced tea will be provided. For those wishing to sketch, draw or paint, please do! Admission is $5 per person.
Roseland Cottage, Woodstock
Enjoy a guided tour of the formal parterre garden at Roseland Cottage, chosen by Connecticut Magazine as Connecticut’s Best Public Garden. Learn the history, significance, and theory behind the garden layout and design, and how that design reflects the theories of Andrew Jackson Downing. Guided tours on the hour. Admission is free. Please call 860-928-4074 for more information.
Stanley-Whitman House, Farmington
The authentic 18th-century gardens at Stanley-Whitman House are intimately linked to their companion ca. 1720 National Historic Landmark house. Women and children tended these utilitarian gardens to produce plants for food, medicines, hygiene and dying textiles. These beautiful gardens feature raised beds overflowing with colorful plants and herbs, a small apple orchard, heritage stone walls, and the site’s original stone-lined well. Raised beds featuring plants cultivated by English settlers in the 17th century line the entry to the museum. Join us on June 26, from 12-4 pm for free tours of the gardens led by members of the Dooryard Garden Society, the museum’s garden volunteer group. Also featured will be free tours of the historic house, herbal beverages and treats, costumed interpreters, and an informaive printed garden guide to take home.
Thankful Arnold House Museum, Haddam Historical Society, Haddam
Visitors will learn how herbs, vegetables and plants were used by the Widow Thankful Arnold in the early 19thcentury. The Wilhelmina Ann Arnold Barnhart Memorial Garden features over 50 varieties of herbs including those used in cooking, dyeing, fragrance and medicine.
This year’s acitivity for both adults and children will be making a teasel (bristly flower head) animal, a hedgehog and porcupine. Light refreshments will also be served including our famous rhubarb tea. Free admission and crafts all afternoon. For further information visit www.haddamhistory.org or call 860-345-2400.
Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum, Wethersfield
Step back ninety-five years into the color and fragrance of a colonial revival garden at high summer! The Garden at the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum has been thoughtfully re-created from the original blueprints drawn up by early 20th-century landscape designer Amy Cogswell. View these blueprints and a slide show of a year in the garden before beginning your free tour of the garden.
Museum grounds, garden and gift shop will be open and may be visited for free. Regular admission applies historic house tours.
Cookies and cold drinks will be available for our visitors and a silhouette artist will be on hand for those who would like to purchase a personal portrait.
After visiting the museum, enjoy the small shops and outdoor dining in the historic village of Old Wethersfield.
Learn more about this special event on Connecticut's Historic Gardens website here.