Trade Secrets: The Rare Plant & Antiques Fair Turns 10
Trade Secrets is not such a secret anymore. Like a well-tended garden, the rare plant and garden antiques sale grows lusher and more interesting every year, raising ever more money for Women’s Support Services, the not-for-profit agency that provides aid to victims of domestic violence in northwestern Connecticut and nearby towns in Massachusetts and New York. “It’s gratifying to see how it’s become a major event on gardeners’ calendars,” says Naomi Blumenthal of Alford, who helped found Trade Secrets in 2001 at interior designer Bunny Williams‘s property in Falls Village, CT, where she was then head gardener.
Trade Secrets, which is run entirely by volunteers, is both earthy and elegant—it has the well-cultivated ambiance of the sort of country fair you’d see featured in an English gardening magazine. For the fifth year in a row, it will be held at Elaine LaRoche’s Lion Rock Farm on Route 41 on the Sharon/Salisbury border. The nearly 60 vendors not only put aside special merchandise to bring to Trade Secrets but also take great care composing the vignettes in their tented booths. “We love participating in Trade Secrets—it’s an annual reunion of passionate plants people and experts who we know and admire,” says Bob Hyland of Loomis Creek Nursery. Indeed, Trade Secret veterans “love to reminisce about the second Trade Secrets at Bunny’s house when it snowed,” says Blumenthal. “If I could wish for anything it would be for good weather.”
But cold, wind and rain never deter competitive gardeners like Anne Bass, Carolyne Roehm, Martha Stewart, Oscar de la Renta, and Bunny Williams, who are usually among the early buyers and who ask probing questions of vendors such as David Burdick Daffodils and Glendale Botanicals. You can also shop for country antiques (from dealers such as Dawn Hill and Treillage), rare garden tomes (from Johnnycake Books), handmade clay pots (by Guy Wolff), and hand-wrought fences and plant supports by Battle Hill Forge).
Day Two of Trade Secrets is devoted to garden tours: By tradition, Bunny Williams’s beloved garden in Falls Village is included. The other three gardens are in Kent: Joan Larned’s features a walled garden and a rock garden; Monika and Buddy Nixon’s seven acres of ledge that are covered with undulating plantings; Jeffrey Morgan and Robert Couturier’s formal French garden on the shores of North Spectacle Lake.
Saturday afternoon lecture: “Abstraction; Art, Home & Landscape” with Tom Armstrong,1;30 p.m.
Sunday May 16
Garden Tours: 10 AM - 4 PM, $60 ($50 if purchased in advance)
Trade Secrets: The Ultimate Outdoor Shopping Party, May 16, 2009
Trade Secrets: Martha Stewart Makes the Scene, May 17, 2008