November 20th, 2012
Did you know that Connecticut has its very own Garden and Landscape Trail? Yes indeed. A joint project established by the Connecticut Nursery and Landscape Association and the Connecticut Greenhouse Growers Association, the Trail traverses the state. It guides citizens of all ages to the fascinating facilities of the state’s green industry; the nurseries, garden centers, greenhouses and public gardens. The website (www.ctgardentrial.com ) is replete with locations, admission information, (most are free) hours of operation, contact data and directions.
On the Trail you’ll view nurseries from Bethel’s Hollandia, which is Fairfield County’s largest, to Woodstock’s Sprucedale Gardens, which is not only a family-run nursery farm, but whose owners are involved with the Connecticut Invasive Plants Council. And don’t miss Broken Arrow in Hamden, with its amazing collection hardy trees and shrubs; Gilbertie’s in Westport, known for its vast array of herbs, or venerable Sam Bridge in Greenwich, as well as many more examples of Connecticut’s green businesses. You’ll observe the best in horticulture and view all types of gardening, from seaside, suburban, or rural, to large landscapes with towering specimen trees. Want information on container plants or fairy gardens? There’ll be examples along the way. Need to know about water gardens, pond plantings or koi ponds? You’ll find what you need along the Trail.
Also listed are Public Gardens, (some of which may have an entry fee). Many are of historical significance. Ever been to the Bellamy-Farriday House and Garden in Bethlehem or the Glebe House in Woodbury? Visits to such esteemed treasures are a pleasurable way to discover our state’s legacy, but for the gardener, such a trip is also an adventure in horticulture. It’s intriguing to observe what flowers Victorians grew, how the Gilded Age used statuary, or which trees and shrubs were employed for structure in bygone days. Any time the Public Gardens are open is the right time to explore these venues, but to see the gardens in their prime, plan on a warm-weather jaunt. And speaking of warmth, don’t miss the Laurel Ridge Foundation in Litchfield, with its thousands of daffodils blooming their sprightly heads off each April.
When you check out the Trail’s website cast a glance at the listing for Special Events. These change with the seasons but currently displayed are such events as Holiday Decorating, wreath making, pruning, and putting the garden to bed. Attending such events is opportunity to learn as well as enjoy the best of the season.
The Trail brochure also showcases 39 Connecticut GardenStars. These are plants selected by month which perform well in our state and are available at Trail nurseries. These chosen ones include stalwarts such as lilac, sedum, heuchera, columbine, hosta and many more. Whether you’re planning, planting or revamping a flower bed you can’t go wrong with GardenStars!
A bonus to visiting the Trail this time of year is the fact that many of the locations are decked out for the Holidays…full of the heady scent of conifers and cinnamon, the glow of Christmas lights, and the dazzle of amaryllis, pointsettia, hollyberry and red-twig dogwood.
Gardening, to be sure, is all about the senses…seeing, touching, smelling, hearing, tasting. And don’t forget about the 6th sense, teaching. Passing on the knowledge to the younger generation is of the essence. Grab the kids and plan your trip!
For more information contact the CNLA or the CGGA at 800-562-0610. As the groups say on their website, the family that gardens together grows together.