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2nd Annual Connecticut Historic Gardens Celebration Will Be July 10



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2nd Annual Connecticut Historic Gardens Celebration Will Be July 10

Nine of the state’s most beautiful and unique sites have joined to form Connecticut’s Historic Gardens, a statewide collaboration that has already received the 2004 Award for Excellence in Travel Promotion from the state’s tourism industry and one of 101 Partnership Grants from the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism.

On Sunday, July 10, each site will offer special activities emphasizing their garden program for the second annual Connecticut Historic Gardens Day. The captivating places offer visitors an opportunity to explore a variety of garden styles and time periods.

Visitors may revel in the serenity and beauty of gardens and landscapes that have charmed and inspired for a century or more. In addition, most of the sites have historic properties that may be open to the public and offer tours and special events on this special gardens day. Admission and hours will vary for each site. Details follow:

*The Bellamy-Ferriday House and Garden, Bethlehem (telephone 203-266-7596), noon to 4 pm: Free tours, on the hour, of this Litchfield County garden will include the social and horticultural history of the circa 1915 garden within the context of American gardening history.

Visitors will learn about the mother and daughter who passionately designed and maintained their four-acre landscape, the property’s collections of historic roses, peonies, lilacs and numerous perennials as well, as unusual specimen trees and flowering shrubs.

*Butler-McCook House and Garden, Hartford (telephone 860-522-1806), 1 to 4 pm: Guests can enjoy a special guided tour of the McCook family’s garden with Diana Martens.

Designed in 1865 by the famed landscape architect Jacob Weidnemann, the designer of Bushnell Park, the garden oasis was lovingly cared for by the McCooks for more than 100 years. Tours begin on the hour.

Lemonade and cookies will be served on the back porch.

(The Butler-McCook House & Garden and The Bellamy-Ferriday House & Garden are both properties of The Antiquarian & Landmarks Society of Connecticut.)

*Florence Griswold Museum, Old Lyme (telephone 860-434-5542), 1 to 5 pm: A self-guided tour of the museum’s historic gardens is available with a stroll along the Lieutenant River, both scenes of many American Impressionist paintings.

The National Historic Landmark features gardens, a riverfront gallery and a renowned American art collection. Visitors will also be encouraged to view the special exhibition, “May Night: Willard Metcalf at Old Lyme,” and see how one early 20th Century artist combined his passion for art and nature in breathtaking paintings.

Guests will enjoy lemonade under a shade tree before creating their own masterpiece. Museum educators will supply visitors with canvas, palette, paint, brushes, and the all important smock.

There is no fee for the outside activities, but museum admission will be applied for exhibition.

*Glebe House Museum and The Gertrude Jekyll Garden, Woodbury (telephone 203-263-2855), 1 to 4 pm: Docents will be on hand to answer questions about the 1750 farmhouse complemented by a 1926 English-style perennial garen, stone terrace and intimate rose allee.

Visitors will receive ten percent off garden items in the shop with proof of visiting one or more of the other historic gardens. Refreshments will be served in the garden.

*Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, Hartford (telephone 860-522-9258): Guided tours of the property’s lush, compact Victorian gardens will begin at 1 and 3 pm; fee for each is $8.

The gardens will also be open for strolling all day.

Visitors can explore the ever-blooming gardens and grounds surrounding the Harriet Beecher Stowe House with an experienced historic garden interpreter, and meet Hattie Stowe (Harriet’s daughter, portrayed in period costume by assistant curator Beth Giard) for lemonade, cookies and conversation on the back porch.

House tours will be offered at an additional charge.

*Hill-Stead Museum, Farmington (telephone 860-677-4787), 10 am to 4 pm: Enjoy views from the veranda of the National Historic Landmark while sipping a glass of lemonade. Stroll the paths of the museum’s Beatrix Farrand-designed Sunken Garden, where interpreters will be on hand noon to 4 pm to answer questions.

Outside visits are included with museum admission.

(Hill-Stead and The Florence Griswold Museum are both part of the Connecticut Impressionist Art Trail.)

*Promisek/Beatrix Farrand Garden at Three Rivers Farm, Bridgewater (telephone 860-354-1788), 1 to 4 pm: Tour this restored stone walled garden designed by the noted landscape architect Beatrix Farrand in 1921 and located on a 300-acre property at the confluence of the Shepaug and Housatonic Rivers.

Remnants of the original 19th Century farm and early 20th Century country estate of Dr Frederick Peterson are still visible in structures and plant material throughout the property. Walk past the bamboo grove to enter trails to the shore of Lake Lillinonah.

Garden volunteers will be available to answer questions about the garden and its enticing story. Donations are welcome toward the ongoing care of the garden.

*Roseland Cottage, Woodstock (telephone 860-928-4074), 1 to 4 pm: Site manager Pam Russo will offer a tour of the 1850s historic boxwood parterre garden inspired by the landscape architect Andrew Jackson Downing. Guests will hear about the famous Fourth of July garden parties Henry Bowen held from 1870 to 1894.

Free guided tours of the museum are scheduled on the hour (admission charged for museum tour).

Visitors are welcome to bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the grounds of the National Historic Landmark.

Pink lemonade and tea will be available in the Carriage Barn.

*Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum, Wethersfield (telephone 860-529-0612), 10 am to 4 pm: The Webb House, featuring a 1921 Colonial Revival garden designed by Amy Cogswell, and the Stevens House Herb Garden are open, free, to the public. Garden guides and “What’s in Bloom Board” will be available.

Cold drinks will be available on the Webb house porch. Tours of the museum houses are available on the hour, at $8 for adults, $4 for children.

For more information on individual sites, directions and hours, contact each site with the telephone number provided above or visit www.flogris.org/CTHistoricGardens.

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