The weather gods smiled down on the Stonington CT Garden club’s “Gardens by the Sea” tour, which took place June 9 and 10. It was a truly splendid day for a walking tour of 10 gardens, described by the garden club as ” a hand picked collection of rarely seen gardens behind the walls and gates of Stonington’s historic properties.”
We picked up our tickets at Wadawanuck Square. They were $40, and $35 if purchased in advance. We arrived just at the start of the tour at 10 a.m. and it was a good thing, because parking was tight – well-organized, though, with plenty of volunteers waving us into a parking area.
Consulting the booklet, which, like most tours, has descriptions of each garden and a map so we could walk there, we began at Garden Number 1, “An Elegant Town Garden.” The promised flower carpet roses were not yet blooming, likely a consequence of the recent rainy, cool weather.
Finding ourselves caught in a crowd of visitors, we decided to live dangerously and walked all the way over to Garden 10, figuring it would be far less crowded. We just did the rest of the tour in reverse, a good strategy.
This garden, somewhat comically named “A Hidden Hideaway,” was one of the more floriferous of the gardens.
There was also some charming garden statuary, like this presiding pig.
The ninth garden was described as “several gardens in one,” and the largest garden on the tour. It was large indeed, and featured some fantastic trees…
…like these impressive, mature Japanese umbrella pines.
The charm of this water feature was somewhat compromised by the pond itself, which needed a thorough cleaning. I feel strongly that if people are going to pay $40 to visit your garden, then you should ensure that every inch of it is show-worthy and in tip top shape.
(And lest you think I am overly critical, I have helped prepare several gardens for tours so I am very familiar with what that entails.)
Here are a few shots of the remaining gardens:
This one had stunning views of Long Island Sound.
This “White Garden by the Sea” was pleasant, even though it was not, strictly speaking, white.
We all agreed that walking the streets, most of which were lined with beautiful mature trees, was the highlight of the tour. We also enjoyed looking at some of the historic buildings in the town.
This is Dr. Lord’s Hall. The sign said it was the “former headquarters of the 1st Stonington Band” and had been built “prior to 1784.”
I’ll have more photos from this tour in a future post.