Garden Club of America House and Garden Tour Celebrates 100 Years in Litchfield CT

“Garden of Margaret Hicks Gage, Litchfield Garden Club Archives, Litchfield Historical Society, Helga J. Ingraham Memorial Library.”
“Garden of Margaret Hicks Gage, Litchfield Garden Club Archives, Litchfield Historical Society, Helga J. Ingraham Memorial Library.”

To fete their 100- year anniversary, the Litchfield Garden Club is hosting a flower show and house and garden tour including two Smithsonian Gardens on June 15 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. The Flower Show will take place at the Litchfield Community Center located on 421 Bantam Rd. (Rte. 202) in Litchfield and will feature outstanding horticulture and three exhibits one on garden history and design including details on four Smithsonian gardens, a second on the history of the Litchfield Garden Club and a third conservation exhibit on organic food. A boutique offering special garden items will also be a highlight. The Flower Show at the Community Center is free and open to the public.

In conjunction with the Flower Show, the Litchfield Garden Club has organized a very special house and garden tour of five members’ homes and gardens that includes judged design classes in each home. Tour tickets and maps are available for purchase at the Community Center and are $50 per person. Tour goers may also purchase a box lunch at Breeze Hill Farm Gardens for an additional $18 and enjoy lunch on the grounds of this spectacular garden. For tickets in advance visit for a printable registration form.

Houses featured for this very special tour include some of Litchfield’s most interesting homes and gardens.

The Ozias Lewis house, built in 1806 is a perfect example of a late traditional center chimney, 5 bay Federal style dwelling. The garden has newly installed stonewalls, terraces and imaginative gardens, including extensive beds of peonies. The gardens provide extensive views of Chestnut Hill to the east.

The Lismolin House named after a castle in Tipperary in Ireland is a gracious Colonial Revival style house complete with a Palladian window. The gardens with elegant stonewalls and garden beds afford wonderful eastern views and contain a former owner’s pet cemetery.

Perhaps one of the most interesting houses featured on this tour is the Oliver Wolcott House, built by Oliver Wolcott, Senior, the Colonial High Sheriff of Litchfield, a member of the Continental Congress, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and Governor of Connecticut, in 1753-1754, is the oldest house in the Borough of Litchfield. Many of the leading figures of their day, including General George Washington, Lafayette and Alexander Hamilton were entertained here. During the Revolution, the statue of King George III, torn down by a mob from its pedestal in Bowling Green in New York City, was brought by oxcart to the orchard behind the house, where the women and children of Litchfield melted it and molded bullets for the Continental Army.

The current owners bought the house in 1978 and carried out extensive renovations under the direction of expert restorers. The house has the original, hand-routed, beaded clapboards on its exterior and oak floors with handmade nails throughout the first floor. The “keeping room” contains a cooking fireplace and beehive ovens. The delft tiles in the dining room were installed about 1790 and the paneling over the dining room fireplace is original 18th century work. The rear terrace overlooks extensive gardens that are breathtaking.

Another beautiful home on the tour is the Ethan Allen House, the birthplace of Revolutionary war hero Ethan Allen in 1738. Today the house boasts a renovated kitchen, breakfast area and garden room. A landscape design is in process including renovating the parterres off of the terrace, originally designed in the early 1950’s. The gardens offer an extensive eastern view of Chestnut Hill.

Breeze Hill was built in 1800 as a summer home and the Oldmsted brothers were hired to landscape the grounds. In 2012, the owners of Breeze Hill Farm joined a select group of Garden Club of America homeowners whose garden documentation was accepted into the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Gardens. On June 15th, you are invited to pick up your reserved boxed lunch here and enjoy a pastoral picnic lunch in these bucolic meadows and gardens.

Another Smithsonian Garden featured on the tour is Chestnut Hill Gardens that consists of a 240-foot perennial border composed of deer-resistant and native plants. The border surrounds a large vegetable garden, herb gardens, a water garden, pinetum, fruit trees and native shrubs.

For area information visit

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