Botanical Watercolors at Oliver Wolcott Library for Sept. & Oct.

Located in the historic heart of Litchfield, the Oliver Wolcott Library has a long and fascinating history. The library was founded in 1862 and was named in honor of a generous donation from J. Huntington Wolcott, grandson of Oliver Wolcott, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation. His son, Oliver Wolcott served as Secretary of the Treasury under President George Washington and John Adams as Governor of Connecticut.

The Oliver Wolcott Library is located in a house built by Elijah Wadsworth in 1799. Parties were frequently held in the ballroom on the second floor. It is said that President George Washington danced his last minuet in Litchfield in that ballroom. The ballroom was restored by the Society of Colonial Wars and can be viewed upon request.

Over the years the Library has expanded. A modern structure was added by Eliot Noyes who studied at Harvard and went on to become the Director of the Department of Industrial Design at MOMA in New York. Noyes love of modern design, open spaces and geometry is evident in this expansion that marries a historic house with a modern structure.

Among the many programs offered by the Oliver Wolcott Library, art shows are always popular. From August 28th – October 26th the work of Molly O’Neill-Lally will be featured. The opening reception will be held on Thursday, September 6, from 5:00-7:00 p.m.

Molly O’Neill-Lally’s passion for watercolor painting began under the tutelage of internationally respected painter and illustrator, Arthur Getz, through the Washington Art Association. Years of gardening and encouragement from Getz to “paint what you see” motivated Molly to create watercolor paintings of the variety of flowers she has grown. Her gentle brush strokes, smooth shadows and translucent highlights capture the stunning beauty and delicate nature of every flower she paints.

Molly uses a dry brush watercolor technique and smooth hot pressed paper to achieve a clear representation of flowers during precise phases of growth. At times, she will incorporate different stages of development as well as colored pencil into her stunning botanical paintings. After years of owing a framing business, Molly frames and mats each of her paintings to compliment the individual flower.

In the summer, Molly works from live flowers taken from her garden; in the winter she works from photographs, art books and botanical studies to provide the correct information as to what a flower may look like at a certain point in its development.

The Oliver Wolcott Library is located on 160 South Street, Litchfield, CT. 06759. 860-567-8030. www.owlibrary.org.

Stamford’s Bartlett Arboretum Presents “Garden Rooms by Design

The Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens of Stamford has announced its “Garden Rooms by Design” showcase now open June 8th – 15th. The week long event welcomes visitors to experience the top to bottom transformation of the Bartlett’s historical homestead, once the home of the famed Dr. Francis A. Bartlett at 151 Brookdale Road, Stamford. Tickets to see the “Garden Rooms by Design” showcase are $20/person. Showcase hours are 10-4 daily and tickets can be purchased at the door. For more information and a sneak preview of each designer’s ideas, visit www.bartlettarboretum.org events.

Top local designers and artisans have been given the challenge of bringing the outdoors inside to create the unparalleled “Garden Rooms by Design”. This theme proves to be a fresh take on the Bartlett Arboretum’s purpose: to inspire the community to explore, examine, understand and appreciate the natural history of the botanical world and its place in our lives. This inimitable design challenge has requested some of the area’s top interior and landscape designers, artists and artisans to “think-out-of-the-box” and consider “green” elements in a not-so-usual sense. This renovation of the Bartlett homestead will include rooms, staircases, landings and gardens. The Designer Showcase is a new element added to the Bartlett’s ever-popular Spring Garden Tour Event going on concurrently.

An added feature to the Designer Showcase is an informative lecture series featuring experts in hydrangeas, landscape design, design inspirations, photography, and creative design solutions.

All lectures are free of charge with admission to the Showcase with the exception of the featured presentation, “Success with Hydrangeas” by Famed Nantucketer Mal Condon which is $25 per person. The Series kicks off from 10 a.m. to noon with Mal Condon’s presentation on “Success with Hydrangeas” that will be held in the lecture room of the new Silver Educational Center on the arboretum’s property.

Hydrangeas continue to be a very popular woody ornamental genus. Widely grown along our New England coastline, they create something special in so many gardens. This discussion will include the following topics; climate and plant siting, a major species review, cultural issues including fertilizing and bloom color control, best pruning practices, new varieties of merit, and propagation/making more plants. A lifelong gardener, Mal has always loved the genus hydrangea and began collecting plants from his extensive travels during his engineering career. His retirement in 1999 allowed him to pursue hydrangea nurturing with total commitment. Ever the engineer, he brings a strong technical and investigative nature to the continuing development of the genus – searching for new and better plants, evaluating their landscape performance, and finding superior ways to produce them. Hydrangea Farm on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts has become a much visited location for serious hydrangeaphiles. This lecture is being partially underwritten by gifts made in memory of Barbara Saverine, lover of hydrangeas and wife of the Bartlett’s executive director. This will be a digital presentation featuring detailed graphics relevant to all topics. A Q&A session will follow the lecture. Class Fee $25. Call 203.322.6971 for more information or to reserve your spot.

Following Mal’s presentation on Wednesday will be free lectures by Jan Johnson on Landscape Design at 1 p.m. and Victoria Lyon at 3 p.m. The Art of Design in Bringing the Outside In. On Thursday, June 14th the series will feature at 11 a.m. Jamie Gotto of Bungalow 5 and Napa Home and Garden followed by Michael Yedowitz from Wainscot Solutions and concluding with Jeremy Keets Saladyga Photography. All free lectures will be held in the Showcase house.

Finally, the event will conclude on Friday, June 15th with a Designer Sample Sale of materials and props used in the showcase, including a variety of lovely potted plants and extra samples that the designers will bring in just for the sale. Designers will be donating 20% of their sales to benefit the Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens. The showcase admission ticket must be purchased to enter the designer sample sale.

About the Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens

The Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens is a non profit 501 (c) (3) organization that inspires the surrounding community to explore, examine, understand and appreciate the natural history of the botanical world through its research, living plant collections, education and arts and cultural programs. The 91-acre property located at 151 Brookdale Road in Stamford is a living museum of champion majestic trees, rare plant collections, themed gardens, and natural landscapes traversed by hiking and walking trails. The historic site is the former residence, training school, and botanical research grounds of the renowned arborist, Dr. Francis Bartlett, dating back to 1913. With a summer concert series featuring both classical and contemporary selections, and a regular schedule of exhibits by local artists and photographers, the Bartlett Arboretum plays an ever expanding role in the regional cultural community. For more information about the Bartlett Arboretum and the events at the new Silver Educational Center including children’s and adults’ nature programs please visit the website www.bartlettarboretum.org or call 203-322-6971.

New Canaan Nature Center Announces Annual Secret Gardens Tour

The Annual Secret Gardens Tour benefiting the New Canaan Nature Center will take place on Friday, June 8. The popular tour is a fund-raiser for the New Canaan Nature Center and an opportunity for homeowners, gardeners and anyone who appreciates the beauty of the outdoors to be inspired by several outstanding garden settings. The self-guided tour takes place between 10:00a.m. – 4:00p.m., allowing attendees to visit the gardens at their own pace and on their own schedule.
New Cannan Garden Tour

This year’s tour will feature a variety of spectacular New Canaan gardens representing the past, present and future of landscape design. Gardens will include historic estates with meandering garden “rooms,” newly-designed and transformed landscapes and grounds incorporating the latest sustainable practices and plantings. In addition to hundreds of varieties of annuals and perennials, attendees will see a wide variety of majestic specimen trees, unique water features, and delightful woodland gardens.

New Canaan Nature Center is pleased to welcome Elise Landscapes & Nursery and the Bank of New Canaan as the lead sponsors of the tour. Mark Hicks of Elise says “The Secret Gardens Tour is a New Canaan tradition that we are thrilled to support, and we see this as a terrific opportunity to reach out to those who are passionate about garden design and appreciate spectacular landscaping.”

Tour tickets are $75 including lunch or $50 for the tour only. The tour lunch will be available at the New Canaan Nature Center or to take and enjoy while touring the gardens. The lunch is sponsored by Hobbs, Inc., Austin, Patterson, Disston and Devore Associates. Tour tickets will be $60 on the day of the tour. Tickets can be purchased at the New Canaan Nature Center, by calling (203) 966-9577 x50, or online at www.NewCanaanNature.org starting May 1.

Hollister House Garden Launches 2011 Season with Escorted Daffodil Walk on April 30 Washington CT

The Hollister House Gardens sets its 2011 season in motion with a one-of-a-kind Daffodil Walk at 10 a.m. on Saturday April 30.

George Schoellkopf, the garden’s creator and steward for the past 32 years, will escort an informative and entertaining tour of the 25-acre property, speaking about what to plant for the early spring garden and sharing tricks that he has discovered for better gardening in Northwest Connecticut, all born of long experience. He will be accompanied by Krista Adams, Hollister House’s chief gardener and the person responsible for planting and maintaining the extraordinary property which combines the formality of a classic English garden with a generous abundance of common and exotic plants in surprising combinations.

Mr. Schoellkopf is well known in horticultural circles as a gifted garden designer and charming raconteur. He has written articles on gardening for Town & Country, House & Garden, House Beautiful, and Rosemary Verey’s The American Man’s Garden. The Hollister Homestead, site of the garden, was recently listed on the National Register of Historic Places in recognition of its significance in American history and the garden is also one of only 16 Garden Conservancy Preservation Projects.

The April 30 Daffodil Walk is the first of a series of Garden Walks planned for 2011, with a Daylily Walk scheduled for July 23 and a Dahlia Walk for August 13. In addition, there will be two festive evening events this season: Twilight in the Garden cocktail party July 9 and a Moonlight Serenade dinner dance on August 20.

Admission to the Daffodil Walk is $5, identical to the fee requested during normal garden visiting hours. Hollister House Garden is open every Saturday in season. From April 30 through May hours are 10 a.m. to 12 noon and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.; from June through August hours are 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.; and September to October 1 hours are 10 a.m. to 12 noon, and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The garden is located at 294 Nettleton Hollow Road in Washington, CT. For more information on Hollister House Garden, its history, special events and directions, go to http://www.hollisterhousegarden.org.