Wolcott History
Wolcott Historical Society

Wolcott Historical Society History for July 2015

By Florence Goodman

"Our magnificent spring gardens have faded into summer's glorious blooms." Those are my thoughts each day as I walk through our perennial gardens. Avid gardeners know these are labors of love because gardening is hard work; but as one bloom fades and another appears the beauty that surrounds them is well worth the work. This month I will give you a preview of the gardens in our Annual Garden Tour combined with some local history.

If you have never attended the Wolcott Historical Society's Garden Tour you don't know what you are missing. It is the tenth anniversary for this event, which will be held on Saturday, July 11th from Noon to 4:00 P.M. The rain date is Sunday, July 12th. So mark your calendar and get ready to enjoy five hidden treasures found in our town. All it takes is a $10 donation for a ticket and brochure with a map that directs you to the five gardens on the tour. You may view the gardens at your own pace and in any order. Tickets may be purchased on the day of the tour from 11:45-2:00 at the Schoolhouse Museum at 155 Nichols Road or you may buy tickets ahead of time by calling Flo Goodman at 203-879-9818 and your tickets will be mailed to you. This is a fundraiser for our yearly scholarship and we appreciate your support.

Just off of Todd Road on Woodcrest Avenue you will find the beautiful gardens of Kathy and Tom Sullivan. As you enter this natural wonderland you are drawn into an array of colorful plant materials. Kathy and Tom have large areas filled with hydrangea, climbing hydrangea, lilies, ornamental grasses, daisies and other perennials vigorously blooming around you. They utilize shade perennials to their fullest extent and have also created various theme garden rooms that show off their garden creativity. As you gaze into these woodlands, you see a palette of muted colors, but the blue hydrangeas are outstanding. Their water garden is filled with lily pads and other aquatic plant material as well as colorful fish, which create a soothing atmosphere.

Two houses down on the same street you will find the gardens of Jim Hackett. Jim uses huge pots to show off his unique tropical plants and large annuals grown from seed. These are placed along his house and driveway and welcome you into his perennial gardens. One can meander through his property and enjoy glorious statues and water gardens filled with beautifully colored coy and water lilies. Jim has also created a unique composting area that is hidden by thriving hydrangea and hosta; he utilizes his garden space to the fullest. Both of the gardens found on Woodcrest Avenue are truly "paradise found" and you must walk through each yard slowly to appreciate all that they have to offer.

Our next garden is found at the home of Christine Lofgren on Devonshire Road. These gardens have been built into the slope of the land and feature many beautiful trees as well as a water garden. Chris has used her space to the fullest and as you walk through her garden paths you will view ornamental grasses, hosta and ornamental shrubs. These gardens feature various shades of greens and yellows created by small evergreens. The slope of her property posed quite a challenge, but she has met that challenge and created these gardens with unusual plant materials. This too is a garden full of creative ideas and wonderful plant materials and must be viewed slowly to appreciate all it has to offer.

The last two gardens are located on historic property. The home of Sylvia Tosun is located at 695 Spindle Hill Road. This property was originally the home to three generations of Lanes. The farmhouse and 54 acres of land was purchased from Issac Alcott by his niece, Millicent and her husband, Nathaniel Lane. They lived in the house in the late 1700s until Anson Lane took over the property and lived there until 1859. At that time, Albert Lane purchased the farm and lived there with his family through the early 1900s. Over the years the Lanes acquired over 250 acres of land. The Lane Farm was a dairy farm and Albert sold dairy products to the locals. He also raised corn and apples, and in the winter sold ice. In 1939 the farm was sold to Mrs. Theriault and in 1952, Alexander Churchelow purchased the property. In 1957, his daughter, Marlene Churchelow Tosun took over the property and still lives there today. Recently, her daughter, Sylvia Tosun took ownership and enlarged the living space with a stunning addition to the house and made improvements to one of the original barns. Sylvia's creativity is evident throughout the property, but especially in her design of a large organic vegetable garden that is surrounded by an old stonewall with steps leading up to it. She has utilized various antiques as garden décor and has created an interesting path in one garden using cast stepping-stones made in the1960s by Scovill Manufacturing Company. The gardens include plant materials such as wild day lilies, grape vines and raspberries that have graced the property for many years. Sylvia still has many garden ideas that she expects to bring to fruition soon. Remember perennial gardens are ever developing and changing!!

The last garden that you will view on the tour is located on Peterson Lane. It is the historic Thomas house that is owned by Flo and Terry Goodman. James Thomas built this home circa 1776 and his son, Seth, the famous clockmaker, was born in the house in 1785 and lived there until 1807. As you drive down this quaint dead end road, you are greeted by stonewalls bordering the front yard gardens. Daisies, coneflowers, day lilies, hosta, iris and liatris can be found throughout these gardens. These gardens have changed over the years and several gardens have been removed because upkeep has become a problem. Recently an enormous 70-year old Japanese maple had to be removed, which has turned a shaded area into a sun-filled paradise that the cultivated blueberries love. These gardens were designed to have perennials blooming from spring through summer. As you stroll through these gracious gardens it is amazing to see so many flowers in bloom. The use of small stonewalls help to accentuate some of the gardens on this property.

Each of these beautiful gardens is a delight to visit; it is obvious that these are serious gardeners who find working in their yards a rewarding and enjoyable experience. If you have not had the pleasure of attending our garden tour, I highly recommend you do. The Wolcott Historical Society truly appreciates that these property owners have allowed us into their gardens to enjoy the beauty of their garden design, shades of color and blooms. We look forward to seeing you in the gardens on July 11th.


The beautiful gardens of Kathy and Tom Sullivan.


Sullivan's water garden is filled with lily pads and other aquatic plant material and fish.


Some of the gardens found at Jim Hackett's home.


Some large annuals bu Jim Hackett.


The water garden found at the home of Christine Lofgren.


Another garden found ay the home of Christine Lofgren.


These two barns circa 1900 were found on the property of Sylvia Tosun. Only the one on the let is still standing. The vegetable garden is where the second barn once stood.


Organic vegetable garden at the home of Sylvia Tosun.


The front gardens at the Goodman home on Peterson Lane.

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