On June 20 there are several gardens on tour in Litchfield County, but the one I am most interested in is the Garden of Buddy & Monika Nixon. Rare trees and shrubs are the draw, and I would love to see this garden!
Garden of Buddy & Monika Nixon
Kent, CT Plant Collection, Open Days, Plant Sale
Inspired by a strong interest in collecting specimen trees and shrubs, and by studies at the New York Botanical Gardens, the owners have developed this garden over the past thirty years into an expression of their personal development as landscape designer and horticulturist. The massive stone columns at the entrance to the property set the stage for the extensive stonework that gives structure to the landscape. The owner has taken a complete hands-on approach to development of the garden, as all stone work, planting, pruning and sourcing of plants have been done by him. After retiring from his corporate career in New York City, he has also selectively done design, consultation and plant sourcing on request for other projects.
The garden contains one of the largest private collections of rare, distinctive and hard to find trees in the Northeast. Crossing a terrace with stunning views of Lake Waramaug and beyond, visitors will come upon a large Koi pond, waterfalls and an entirely unexpected cast bronze fountain. The core purpose of the garden is education, allowing visitors to identify new plants for their own gardens. Plants are identified by plant markers, and a plant list and map are made available. The garden reflects the owners’ quest for unique trees that are not only hardy and disease resistant, but also have the form, texture and foliage that can amaze and please year round. Also highlighted will be collection of trees from the late Dennis Dodge, noted grafter and grower of rare trees.
This year, the first phase of expanding the garden by 27 acres has started. It involves design, a wood road to access the property, marking trails, exposing views, pruning specimen trees, and highlighting an old stone quarry with massive, 50’-60’ high stone outcroppings. This will be a 3 to 4 year project with additional trails and plantings to follow. The wood road will be open for the tour, for visitors to witness the first phase of this new garden expansion.
Broken Arrow Nursery will hold a rare plant sale, which will include many trees one can see in the garden.
>> Then, in the same area, there are two others we could visit the same day:
The Jones' Garden
Cornwall Bridge, CT Edibles, Open Days
The Jones' garden is a haven for people, birds, and pollinators. The garden is located behind a classic Greek Revival-style house which dates back to the early 1800s when Colonel Pierce built it to mimic the White House in Washington D.C. The current garden replaces a very small garden that was completely shaded by tall Norway spruces that were destroyed in the devastating tornado of 1989. When the Joneses bought the house in 2000, the garden space was a tangle of overgrown multiflora rose, tree stumps, and scrub trees. Each new cleared space brought inspiration and new ideas to the current garden: meandering paths paved with stones collected from the adjoining fields, peony beds, old rose arches intertwined with clematis and old fashioned perennials. A crabapple allee was planted as well as two long nepeta beds loaded with narcissi in the spring. Look carefully and find a whimsical barberry topiary—a "barberrian" alligator. There is a small kitchen garden near the back door that is planted with spring tulips each year followed by a riot of summer annuals. Across the street, attached to a carriage barn, is a little vegetable garden enclosed by a picket fence. The owners once overheard someone in their garden say he would describe it in only three words: "work, work, work." True, but as with all gardens, this garden brings birds, bees, peace and hope for the future.
>> And another for the same day:
Brush Hill Gardens—Charles Raskob Robinson & Barbara Paul Robinson
Washington, CT Open Days
Take a virtual tour of Brush Hill Gardens on www.brushhillgardens.com for a preview of many different areas, including the Moon Garden planted in yellows and purples, the Rose Walk, the Peony and Wheelbarrow Borders, the Serpentine Garden with its garden folly, and up through the Arch into the Woodland Walk with its series of cascading pools and rills. Each area is adorned with structures designed and built by Charles. The garden has been featured in many articles and books, including Rosemary Verey's book, The Secret Garden, and HGTV's "A Gardener's Diary". Barbara's biography, Rosemary Verey: The Life and Lessons of a Legendary Gardener, will be available.