Trade Secrets Event, Litchfield area, May 16

diggingthedirtMay 14, 2009

I've been wanting to get to this for a long time, and will miss it again this year unless there's a rip in the space/time continuum. It's in Sharon, CT, and on Sunday there are garden tours (including Bunny Williams and some other interesting sounding gardens).

Have you gone? Was it fabulous?

Here is a link that might be useful: Trade Secrets

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Here's some good news for you: three of the gardens listed in the Trade
Events website - Bunny Williams, Nancy McCabe and Michael Trapp - will be available for public viewing as one of the Garden Conservany's Open Days
programs on Saturday, June 27. Admission to each garden is a mere $5.00 (which goes to support the Conservancy) - go to the website below for a
complete listing of the event. I have visited the first two of the gardens
above: BW was reasonably interesting (given it's a huge country estate), but
while she may dabble here and there, and may have had much to do with
design choices, it was pretty obvious that she had to have a sizeable garden
crew at her disposal - no one there was willing to tell me just how many
workers she used. No criticism of her lifestyle intended - it's just an overwhelming spectacle for those mere mortal gardeners like ourselves!

(What am I saying?! You ALL probably garden on estates and I'm the only
mere mortal with a suburban back yard garden . . ! )

Nancy McCabe's garden was a major disappointment, especialy given her
reputation as a potter - and it wasn't suffering by comparison to BW, because McCabe's was the first garden I saw that day - maybe my frustration was with all the "missed opportunities", since I view any garden from a design aspect. Michael Trapp's garden I have heard great things about and will be
seeing it this year.

On that same day, June 27th, the one garden on the list of Litchfield County
"Open Days" gardens that you MUST not miss is Hollister House in Washington Depot - talk about a "gardener's garden" !!! It will take your
breath away, without being in any sense formidable.

See you on the 27th - I'll wear my GW armband !


P.S. Seeing these gardens in late June instead of mid-May should mean
you'll be seeing quite a bit more blooming. . .maybe you lucked out
after all. . .

Here is a link that might be useful: Garden Conservancy Open Days

    Bookmark   May 15, 2009 at 1:09PM
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Oh, double rats. Please take lots of photos, because I'll be offshore on 6/27 (sob!). Good to know the Trade Secrets tour isn't especially fabulous - makes me feel a little better about missing it. The sale, I've heard, is great.

Oh, and, yeah, we all have "staff" on our "estates" - LOL.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2009 at 1:35PM
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javaandjazz(z6 CT)

I have a full time staff(me & a friend) on my country 50' x 100' estate...LOL! Richie

    Bookmark   May 16, 2009 at 6:02AM
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ctlady_gw(z6 CT)

I have one assistant who while quite enthusiastic, has so far only mastered the art of digging things UP. We are now working on PLANTING skills (we use rawhide bones for practice ... lessons are going nicely... I should have a bumper crop of rawhides in a year or two. :)

The rest of my staff live in underground burrows and only show up for work when they get hungry.


    Bookmark   May 16, 2009 at 3:39PM
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Trade Secrets 2012 is May 19 & 20 at LionRock Farm in Sharon, CT. Saturday is the spectacular garden sale and Sunday are the garden tours. Four lovely gardens this year including the garden of Trade Secrets' founder, Bunny Williams. You can purchase tickets online after April 1.

Here is a link that might be useful: Trade Secrets 2012

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 5:50AM
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Correcting the URL in the post above

Here is a link that might be useful: Trade Secrets CT 2012

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 12:43PM
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molie(z6 CT)

The Garden Conservancy tours are wonderful and, yes, Hollister House is a definite must see (check it out online). On the day we visited last year, the owner, George Schoellkopf, was there talking to visitors and sharing his gardening experiences, the creation of all of his gardens, and even his future plans for the property. He's very gracious and enthusiastic and knows every plant in his yard.

I, too, am not generally enthusiastic about seeing huge estate gardens for 'ideas I can use' but Trade Secrets looks interesting, especially the early plant sale. Has anyone been to that in past years? Wonder if it's worth the $35 (x2) admission or if we should just drive up to White Flower Farm and buy something there?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 4:50PM
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asarum(z6 Boston)

I went to Trade Secrets plant sale last year and plan to go this year as well. I arrived around 10 and thus did not get involved in the pricey early bird portion ($100 tickets) I obviously enjoyed myself enough to do it again. I particularly like the Hillside Gardens booth with choice woodland items like lady slippers.

I made it part of a road trip and so went to White Flower Farm since I was in the area. What a disappointment! I expected a large nursery with maybe some different items not found in the catalog. Someone gives me a gift certificate, but their high prices offend me so I was looking for additional choices. The selection seemed very limited and I left without getting anything.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 12:44PM
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molie(z6 CT)

Thanks! A $100 'early bird ticket' for each of us is out of our league. We were thinking about the $35 each for, I guess, 'regular' shopping, which the website says is from 8-3. That's still pretty steep and the reason why I wondered if, even with their high prices, WFF would be less in the long run.

Did you have to pay anything last year when you arrived at 10?


    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 5:29PM
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asarum(z6 Boston)

Molie: I don't see the part of the website you are seeing. What I am seeing is that 8 to 10 is the earlybird section and 10-3 is for the general public. So something like $35 is what I paid last year to enter at 10. I would have had to pay $100 to enter early, and my understanding is that it is the same this year. This is in part a high society, charitable event and when I arrived there were still some members of the monied Litchfield set roaming the grounds, although Martha Stewart was long gone. Because I am a plant event junkie and I like a road trip, and the $35 goes to charity, it works well enough for me, but I can see that once you start multiplying the entry fee, it may not seem worth it.

Last year I also went to the Tower Hill Botanical Garden sale in the fall and probably came away with more plants than I did from this event, and it was free. So you may find other events that work better.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 12:42PM
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molie(z6 CT)

@ asarum: Sharp eyes! You were right about the times, I gave the wrong info.

Information was found underneath the green bar along the top of the Trade Secrets website page. I clicked on Vendors, then General Info, which gave prices for Regular Buying from 10-3 ($35) and Early Buying ($100) which includes a continental breakfast and starts at 8. This takes place at LionRock Farm on May 19.

It is absolutely a wonderful charity to support, but since we'd be buying two tickets and because we love plants and would definitely find some there, it would be an expensive shopping spree.

I checked out the Tower Hill Botanical Garden website and their web tour. It looks lovely. We'll definitely visit and keep our eyes open for their fall sale. Thanks!


    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 2:54PM
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