2002 Season

Litchfield, CT -- Contact: Janet L. Serra For Immediate Release lhcvbnwct@aol.com A driving tour of the unique display gardens of Litchfield Hills, Connecticut is a guaranteed spring tonic. The nine varied stops along this garden path offer both ideas and information. Rather than grand formal plantings, many of the display gardens are on a scale closer to residential settings, created by nurseries so that visitors cannot only admire and acquire uncommon plants, but can preview how they might look at home. Knowledgeable staff is on hand to answer questions. Two more stops are greenhouses offering unusual indoor and hanging plants, and the final gardens are classics providing beautiful inspiration. The first destination is Litchfield, a town with three special places to be visited. The famous catalog from White Flower Farm, which goes to thousands of garden lovers, comes to life here on 10 acres of extraordinary gardens. A printed guide points the way for visitors to the nursery known nationwide for its unusual perennials. The showstopper blooms of the rose garden, the tree peonies, the greenhouse devoted to brilliant begonias, and the all-white garden that gave the farm its name are not to be missed. The 20 theme gardens at the Litchfield Horticultural Center are set on 32 scenic lakeside acres. Among them are a Zen garden, a wetlands garden and a shade garden built into the rocks. A camperdown elm, weeping beech and other unusual trees are among the nursery's prides. Indoor display gardens featuring cactus and tropical plants at Walnut Hill Greenhouse in Litchfield are a delightful change of pace. Walnut Hill is well known for indoor plants such as cacti, succulents and a notable selection of rare houseplants. The giant space of nearly 35,000 square feet is canopied with bright hanging pots ideal for porch or patio. A drive north to Salisbury leads to another colorful greenhouse, Lauray of Salisbury, one of New England's top resources for succulents, orchids and begonias in a rainbow of colors. Salisbury is also home to the delightful Sweethaven Farm, where displays include a kitchen herb garden, a "fairy garden" and a whimsical Peter Rabbit garden, presided over by a mini-scarecrow with tiny stone bunnies peeping out from the greenery. The garden is planted with lupine, foxglove and other herbs and flowers mentioned in Beatrix Potter's famous stories. Not far away in Sharon, Beardsley Gardens has small but choice gardens, including a cottage garden, rose garden, and rockery, and lots of unusual plants in displays of ornamental grass borders. There's nothing small about the selection here; the plant list includes 1200 varieties, with emphasis on ornamentals, both annual and perennial. Heading south once again, the gardens, display beds and seasonal planters also are in full bloom at the Kent Greenhouse and Garden Center, one of the areas largest gardening resource and design firms. While nothing is for sale, those who admire traditional gardens can find ideas and inspiration at two showplaces nearby. The Bellamy-Ferriday House and Garden in Bethlehem is known for its formal garden of historic roses, lilacs and peonies. The Gertrude Jekyll Garden at the Glebe House Museum is the only garden in the U.S. by Jekyll, the English landscape designer famous for her use of color For more information about garden touring, driving directions, and a free copy of UNWIND, a 40-page color guide to lodging, dining and all the attractions in the Litchfield Hills, write to the Litchfield Hills Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06759, call (860) 567-4506 or visit their web site at www.litchfieldhills.com.