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

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 starting May 1.