Spring 2011

Nearly 60 vendors and garden antiques dealers from around the northeast region will be setting up their wares under the tents at the picturesque LionRock Farm for the 11th Annual Trade Secrets on Saturday, May 14th in Sharon. This much-anticipated yearly event in the Litchfield Hills offers the rare chance to find in one setting unusual garden plants and topiary from specialized growers and some of the nation's best known small nurseries, as well as unusual accessories, furniture, statuary, fencing and garden antiques from the choicest purveyors of these wares.

The event includes the opportunity on Sunday to tour five extraordinary gardens; most of them rarely open to the public. These include the sublime Falls Village garden of John Rosselli and Trade Secrets founder, interior designer Bunny Williams, featuring the mock-coliseum pool house, heirloom apple trees in bloom, wild-flowers, a woodland pool, a birdhouse "village," and a sea of tulips and bulbs,

Another highlight is the private garden of author and noted garden designer Lynden Miller, who is responsible for the beloved Conservatory Garden and rejuvenated Bryant Park in New York City. Her personal garden features mixed herbaceous borders of perennials and shrubs in lovely hues, a daylily walk, a flowering meadow with mowed paths, a woodland garden, a raised herb garden and a cottage garden for unusual plants.

Hodgson Garden -- Holabird House Garden in Falls Village includes three acres of perennials, bulbs, cutting, vegetable and herb gardens planted with tiers and rustic fencing, while the Cobble Pond Garden in Sharon, a vintage Olmsted Brothers landscape designed for strolling, features clipped conifers, walled gardens bursting with bulbs and spring blossoms, an apple orchard, and viburnums and wisteria at their peak.

Judy and Patrick Murphy opened Old Farm Nursery in Lakeville in 1988 on land that had been used agriculturally for generations. Living in the old farm house (c 1800) and using the farmland and barns for their landscape business, the Murphys transformed five acres of paddocks and adjacent cornfields into garden rooms with extensive plantings that include a large kitchen and herb garden, perennial borders, a fruit tree allée, a formal boxwood-lined white garden, a woodland shade garden featuring a Japanese maple collection, and a secret garden with a swimming pool.

Proceeds from Trade Secrets go to Women's Support Services (WSS) a regional non-profit organization celebrating its 30th year in the northwest corner of Connecticut offering free and confidential services to victims of domestic violence.

Trade Secrets includes the antique and plant sale on Saturday, May 14 at LionRock Farm in Sharon, CT, from 10am to 3pm, for $35, and the tour of five gardens on Sunday, May 15 for $70 ($60 if purchased in advance). Tickets go on sale April 1. For those who want first chance at the vendors on May 14, "early buying" tickets are available for $100, and include early admittance with continental breakfast. For more information or to purchase advance tickets phone 860-364-1080 or visit www.tradesecretsct.com.