Garden Conservancy’s Open Days Program invites public to visit private gardens

Through the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days Program, the public is invited to visit two private gardens in Greenwich and Wilton on Sunday, Sept. 18, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A pop-up boutique sale will be on site at the Wilton location, featuring plants and garden-related items by local artisans. Admission to each garden is $7; children 12 and under are free. Open Days are rain or shine, and no reservations are required. Call 1-888-842-2442, or visit opendaysprogram.org for more information.

Visitors can start the September 18th Open Day at either of the following locations:

Sleepy Cat Farm, 146 Clapboard Ridge Road, Greenwich — the 13-acre gardens of Sleepy Cat Farm have evolved over the past 18 years through a close collaboration of the present owner and Virginia-based landscape architect Charles J. Stick. The most recently developed portion of the landscape which borders Lake Avenue includes an extensive greenhouse and potager. The newly constructed “Barn,” distinguished by its half-timbered French Normandy vocabulary is surrounded by thyme-covered terraces which provide an elegant stage set for a fine collection of garden ornament, sculpture, and boxwood topiary. The central portion of the garden is distinguished by two parallel garden spaces, the first is dominated by a long reflecting pool, terminated on the north end by a wisteria-covered arbor and on the south end by a pebble mosaic terrace and fountain basin. One of the great surprises of the tour is the adjacent garden space – bordered by a precisely clipped serpentine hornbeam hedge, the green architecture of this room is meant to frame the view to the Chinese pavilion (Ting) positioned on a small island in the middle of a pond teeming with koi. The heart of the original garden of six acres is most joyfully experienced along the “Golden Path,” a granite dust pathway that leads from the main house and formal terraces on top of the hill out into the native New England landscape. As it winds through the oak and beech woodland, the path engages a rose and wisteria arbor, a small fruit orchard, fountains, statuary, an iris garden traversed by a Japanese spirit bridge and planted with 10,000 Siberian and Japanese iris, and, finally, a rustic stone grotto and fish pond, the source of the woodland stream which is bordered by native azaleas and a collection of spring flowering trees and bulbs all planted for enjoyment throughout the year. The most recent additions to the property include a limonaia used for the winter storage of citrus trees, a new fruit orchard, and a sacred woodland grove which is enjoyed from a series of pathways that radiate from a newly planted meadow.

Pixie Perennials, 200 Nod Hill Road, Wilton — terraced perennial gardens with a wide variety of unusual plants surround a 1740 homestead set on four acres overlooking a reservoir, home to mature and specimen trees. A small rock garden tucked into the exposed ledge leads to a fish pond, and a frog pond is nestled in between rows of flowers. The property features peach trees, an old leaning apple tree, fig trees, kiwi, blueberry bushes, strawberries, raspberries, and a vegetable garden. The kitchen courtyard garden room hosts shade plants: hellebores, brunnera, heuchera, ligularia, shaped boxwoods and other varieties of perennials that live nestled under a giant maple tree. A back garden built around the exposed stones showcases tall plants that can be seen from the house. In late summer a stand of perovskia creates a blue backdrop for fall flowering perennials. The party barn boasts quarter sawn oak floors, and hosted town dances during Prohibition.

All Open Days gardens are featured in the 2016 Open Days Directory; a soft-cover book that includes detailed driving directions and vivid garden descriptions written by their owners. The directory includes garden listings in eighteen states and costs $25.95 including shipping. Visit opendaysprogram.org or call the Garden Conservancy toll-free at 1-888-842-2442 to order with a Visa, MasterCard or American Express, or send a check or money order to: the Garden Conservancy, P.O. Box 219, Cold Spring, NY 10516. Discount admission tickets are available as well through advanced mail order.

The Garden Conservancy created the Open Days program in 1995 as a means of introducing the public to gardening, providing easy access to outstanding examples of design and horticultural practice, and proving that exceptional American gardens are still being created. Its mission to share American gardens with the public is achieved each season, through the work of hundreds of private garden hosts and volunteers nationwide. Digging Deeper, a new series of Open Days programming, is designed to offer a deeper look into the gardening world through immersive experiences with artists, designers, gardeners, authors and other creative professionals. The Open Days program is America’s only national private garden-visiting program. For information and a complete schedule of Open Days visit the Garden Conservancy online at www.opendaysprogram.org.

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