Wolcott Historical Society News - August 2019
By Florence Goodman
This year the Wolcott Historical Society's Annual Garden Tour was held on June 29th because of the Fourth of July holiday. The day may have been cloudy, but the garden visitors saw brilliance in the seven hidden treasures situated around our town.
Perennial gardens are not for the weak or weary; it takes hours of strenuous work to create and maintain these "labors" of love. Each garden featured in this year's tour had its own specialty, but all had a common thread: tranquility, beauty, and peace.
Three of the gardens were located on Woodtick Road. The first was at the home of Tracy and Frank Schippani, where angels and small shrubs surround a bubbling waterfall in their front yard garden. As you walk under the arbor into the backyard another water feature and numerous blooming perennials welcome you. A tall picket fence borders the north side of the property and is lined with honeysuckle vine, yarrow, and asters to name a few. The backyard is meticulously divided into gardens of day lilies, peonies, large hydrangea and a beautiful new addition to the garden, a pergola. In the center of the pergola is a large garden angel surrounded by a variety of perennials. You can't walk by the south side of the property without noticing the magnificent clematis vines and lilies. Beauty surrounds this yard, which was a pleasure to view.
Continuing next door on the south side of the Schippani property is the home of Deb DuBois. This is a continuation of glorious gardens winding throughout the property. Gardening is not new to Deb, and her creative flare for designing floral arrangements spills out into her own backyard. Deb has worked with indoor and outdoor plant materials on a regular basis for many years; she has an uncanny ability to arrange flowers and colors while placing them in just the right place in her yard. Deb creates garden rooms throughout her property, with each room consisting of different themes. She uses beautiful statuaries to accent each area as well as many different, unique plants and a vegetable garden too. The variety of plant material found in Deb's yard is amazing from peony gardens to her meadow garden and numerous trees, vines and shrubs. It's always a pleasure to view Deb's gardens.
A short drive down Woodtick Road from Deb's house you will find the home and gardens of Paula and Bill Ronalter. It's exciting to view these gardens because Paula's creative ideas and use of unique plant materials will boggle your mind. Interesting antiques surrounding the property and beautiful containers with tropical plants add to her garden design. Although the property borders a busy road, tall shrubs provide a perfect barrier from the noise and allow you to enjoy these hidden treasures. The exterior of the old garage has been transformed into various gardens combining interesting antiques and plants. There are so many small, but uniquely designed gardens tucked into this property that you must walk slowly to enjoy it all.
Just off of Todd Road on Woodcrest Avenue you will find the beautiful gardens of Kathy and Tom Sullivan. A newly added front porch and steps adds to their beautiful property and garden design. As you enter this natural wonderland you are drawn into an array of colorful plant materials. They 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 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. These gardens too require you to walk slowly through them because there is so much to view.
Two houses down from the Sullivan's on the same street you will find the gardens of Jim Hackett who should be named "champion of container gardening." He 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 water lilies and very large coy; one in particular is named "Big Bertha." 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."
In the western section of town on Rustic Acres you find the home of Pat and Ed Traver. Ed is a member of the International Hosta Society and a "hosta authority" so if you have a hosta question, just ask Ed. Gardeners from near and far have viewed these gardens and marveled at the way Ed has arranged and named the numerous varieties. BUT, there is more; the day lilies, grasses and hydrangeas add color throughout the yard, as well as a tri-colored beach tree that adds shade. The grass pathways lead you through the gardens and into a beautiful in-the-ground pool right in the middle of this "paradise found." Ed also added a new greenhouse and was able to get an early start on planting his dahlias. He had several large beautiful dalhias blooming. Ed also has been busy making changes to both sides of his front yard gardens since the last time he participated in our tour. As you enter this property beautiful perennials from every angle welcome you. It is always a pleasure to walk through this garden paradise.
Last, but far from the least are the gardens located just around the corner on DiSanto Drive at the home of Carol Jurzyk and her husband Bob. Carol loves gardening and Bob loves to build wonderful structures and grape vines to enhance their backyard. Since they have joined the garden tour several years ago Bob has added two sheds and an outdoor shower. Carol loves her gardens and the buildings Bob has created and they are proud to share them with visitors. As you enter the yard from the driveway a brick walkway leads you into several raised beds filled with perennials and shrubs. The unique and creative garden rooms welcome one and all. The use of different types of plant materials and statuaries throughout these gardens add color and atmosphere to them. Bob has also built a fence along their back border with many birdhouses and a deck off the back of the house; all of these are surrounded by small gardens. Bob loves growing grapes and has been making wine from them for sometime now. This too was a paradise found!
If you missed our tour this year be on the look out next year because you will not be disappointed; we are fortunate to have so many beautiful gardens right in our own backyard. Plus by participating in this annual event you help to raise funds for our scholarship that is given yearly to a graduating senior from Wolcott High. We thank everyone who helped to make this event a success.
A beautiful garden display at the home of Carol Jurzyk.
A lovely fountain surrounded by flowering plants in the gardens of Deb DuBois.
An open area garden found at the home of Ed & Pat Traver.
Container plants in Jim Hackett's yard.
Antiques and tropical plants greet visitors at Paula Ronalter's gardens.
Clematis growing in Schippani's gardens.
This pergola is a beautiful new addition to Tracy & Frank Schippani's garden.
One of the shade gardens at the home of Kathy and Tom Sullivan.
A garden path found at the home of Ed & Pat Traver.
To view past installments of the Historical Society News, click here.