Westport Historical Society’s 22nd Hidden Garden Tour & Marketplace
Don’t let the tide take you by surprise. Inventor Alan Winick’s whimsical “tidepieces,” which will be on sale Sunday, June 2, during the Westport Historical Society’s 22nd annual “Hidden Garden Tour” celebration, will keep you apprised of the daily ebb and flow.
Winick’s creations – no, they’re not your grandfather’s tide clocks – are just some of the many products that will be displayed during the all-day Garden Marketplace on Veterans Green next to the Historical Society, 25 Avery Place.
In all, some two dozen vendors will be set up from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. selling plants, garden tools and accessories, jewelry, lavender-scented pillows, beach blankets and apparel, olive oils, antiques and more.
The tour itself will feature five gardens, three in Westport and two in Wilton. The locations of the gardens are not announced until the morning of the event, according to Kathy Winter, coordinator for the event.
“We lived and died by the tide,” remembers Winick of the days when he lived at Saugatuck Shores. “Everyone needed a tide clock.”
But most of them were boring, the inventor adds, which can’t be said of his handmade creations, which stand almost a foot tall and include “amusing graphic depictions” just above the clock face itself. One shows a sunbather under an umbrella on a beach; as the tide goes out, the water recedes to reveal a stunning sandcastle with towers.
Downtown store owner Kimberly Cole of KC Westport, 68 Church Lane, will have a table of bikinis and sandals plus duvets, quilts, sheets and pillowcases from the collection of Laguna Beach designer Kerry Cassill.
All the articles in Cassill’s line, which includes summery tops, are cut from “luxury weight Indian fabrics” made by a family in India.
Cole says the things she sells are a few of “my favorites things” and that the store’s offerings “keep evolving.”
Her little shop could pass for a designer creation itself. The interior includes a display table and cases built by her husband Charlie, who directs TV commercials. Hanging from the ceiling is a light with an artistic cardboard shade, also made by Charlie. The shade is covered in foil that has been painted to give a patina effect.
Ticketholders for the Hidden Garden Tour will see firsthand how the owners of showplace plantings have coped with such challenges as climate change, this year’s late spring and the devastation from Irene and Sandy. The gardens were created in several styles, some informal, others high concept.
One covers part of a sloping, four-acre property first occupied by a house dating to the 1740s. The home has been expanded over the years, and the current owner has added color-dappled, terraced beds reminiscent of gardens she visited in England.
The terrace walls, as well as the stone work for a fish pond near the garden shed, were built by her father, a stone mason.
The blooms are mainly blues, pinks, whites and purples in varying textures, with some oranges and reds as accents. Bird houses, trellises, fountains and rain barrels dot the garden, which “is designed to be attractive spring, summer and fall.”
Other stops on the tour are:
• A property that was once home to a Christmas tree farm and now boasts stunning beds of iris and peonies, a pool circled by weeping hornbeam and Japanese maples, and a knockout display of climbing roses.
• An English garden set in a glade of specimen trees and shrubs, with a brook running through it. This magical landscape features a large birdcage gazebo, terraced “rooms” of perennials and annuals, and a walled, fountain-fed rose garden.
• A sunken sculpture garden surrounded by Rose of Sharon, French lilacs, hydrangea and roses. Before entering this dramatic amphitheater, which sits behind the home, facing a pool and tennis courts, visitors pass an Egyptian figure, a vintage white flower cart and a gathering of birdcages.
• Six rolling acres of former farmland whose bounty now includes groves of specimen trees and conifers, orchards, terraced vegetable beds, an Asian garden and meditation garden, all in arboretum-style rooms. Recently, a formal garden inspired by Versailles’ Trianon Palace sprouted on this formally arranged property.
The Garden Tour and Marketplace will be followed by a Toast the Tour party at Gilbertie’s Herb Gardens in Westport from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. There will be wine, food and music during bidding at silent and live auctions. Tickets are $50. There is no admission charge for the marketplace.
The Toast will take place in a sunny, half-acre display garden with a large vine-covered pergola made of rustic timbers. In the event of rain, it will move under glass into an adjacent greenhouse.
Tickets for the Hidden Garden Tour can be purchased in advance online at www.westporthistory.org or by calling (203) 222-1424, or picked up June 2 starting at 9 a.m. at the Garden Marketplace.
The cost is $35 for members, $45 in advance for non-members, and $50 the day of event. Shuttle bus rides are available for an additional $15. The tour takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., but the shuttle is available from noon to 4 p.m. only and seating is limited, so tickets should be purchased in advance.