Open Days: Lush Litchfield, Blooming Berkshires
The Garden Conservancy’s Open Days program is not only about touring extraordinary private gardens, but also about meeting great gardeners in situ. You see first-hand how gardeners’ passions and peculiarities are reflected in the landscapes they create for themselves. You come to understand that gardening requires irrational exuberance and incredible commitment. You witness how gardening is not a hobby but a way of life. Each garden has a $5 admission fee, which benefits the Conservancy, which is a small price to pay for so much inspiration. This weekend, you can see some of our region’s most original gardens (such as Michael Trapp’s, left) and meet some of our favorite gardeners.
Bunny Williams‘s “estate” in Falls Village has become a New England icon (right) thanks to her best-selling book, An Affair With a House, and her allowing her property to be included on so many garden tours. This year, the internationally-known interior designer and her head gardener, Eric Ruquist, have reworked the perennial borders and added a grove of birdhouses. Walking through her woodland, cutting and parterre gardens, you see how one propety can have many moods. We’ve raved before about Michael Trapp‘s terraced gardens in West Cornwall, which suggest that Trapp is not a mere mortal but a magician. His landscape is a testament to the power of the imagination. The most charming aspect of Lee Link‘s hillside gardens is, perhaps, the effervescent Link herself, who has created her own private Shangri-La in Sharon. From her Zen-inspired poolhouse to her rustic-style greenhouse, everything about this property is stylish, sybaritic and down to earth. You can also visit Linda Allard‘s in Washington, Gael Hammer‘s in Washington Depot, Hollister House in Washington, Nancy McCabe‘s in Falls Village, and Buddy & Monika Nixon‘s in Kent,
Maria Nation lives to garden and gardens to live. There is no place more soulful than her home by the Housatonic River in Sheffield (left) with its freestanding sleeping porch, hand-built bake oven by Mark Mendel, abundant perennials, and handsome vegetable garden. Known as Good Dogs Farm, there is real farming going on here this year as Maria’s partner, Roberto Flores, has cultivated a few acres where he is growing spinach, radishes, arugula and other vegetables, which he sells at the Sheffield Farmers’ Market and the Millerton Farmers’ Market. In Great Barrington, garden designer and writer Honey Sharp practices what she preaches, combining her interests in horticulture, ecology, architecture and art into a dynamic landscape. A lily pond and sunken “fairy woodland” enchant at Under the Hemlocks in Housatonic.