Wolcott Historical Society News - July 2022
By Florence Goodman
If you have never attended the Wolcott Historical Society's Garden Tour, you don't know what you're missing. This month I will give you a glimpse of the five beautiful gardens you can view on this year's tour, which will be held on Saturday, July 9th from noon to 4:00. A $10.00 donation opens the door for visitors to leisurely stroll through these hidden treasures. You may purchase tickets in advance or on the day of the tour at the Center School History Museum at 154 Center Street. Monies raised from the tour supports our yearly scholarship program. Once you purchase your tickets, you may visit the gardens in any order.
Perennial gardens are not for the weak or weary; it takes hours of strenuous work to create and maintain them. These gardens can differ greatly since they tend to reflect each gardener's personality and purpose for creating these natural wonderlands. I know from my own experience how much time and energy I have put into my gardens for over 30 years; they are truly "labors" of love. Each garden featured in this year's tour has its own specialty, but all have a common thread: tranquility, beauty, and peace. Although four of the gardens on the tour are repeats you will be surprised at some of the changes that have taken place in each of these yards. For various reasons, gardens change from year to year; they grow and change in size as well as plant materials.
The first stop on our tour is at the Woodtick Road home of Deb DuBois where you will find glorious gardens throughout her property. Gardening is not new to Deb, and her creative flare for designing floral arrangements for many years at Orchid Florists 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. She uses beautiful statuaries to accent each area as well as many different, unique plants and a vegetable garden. The variety of plant material found in Deb's yard is amazing. The back of Deb's property borders the "old Woodtick Road" before it was rerouted to its present location and if you look closely, you may still find remains of it back there. What I love about that back area of her yard is the way she has used the hundreds of various sized stones to build a stone wall around one of her gardens. The height of the wall grows yearly!! You will love meandering through this garden wonderland!
Just off Todd Road on Woodcrest Avenue you will find the next two gardens on the tour. The first one is found at the home 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 their 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. Over the last few years, the Sullivans have made some major changes to their front porch and the gardens around it. I love walking through these amazing gardens, and I know you will too.
Two houses down from the Sullivan's on the same side of the street you will find the gardens of Jim Hackett. I think that Jim should be named "champion of garden containers." 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 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. You will marvel at the size of the plants that Jim grows in the beautiful containers around his yard. Both 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.
The next garden is new to our tour and is a hidden gem! It is at the home of Shirley LoRusso and found on County Road. Shirley has been gardening for over 50 years and it shows. She utilizes every bit of space on her property to create a palette of colorful beauty. The backyard gardens were created around an abundance of sun and shade as well as the slope of the land, but she has filled it with plant materials that fit in perfectly. You will find a variety of perennials throughout her gardens. She has roses, hydrangea, astilbe, spiderwort, lilies and so much more, placed in ways that invite you to take your time and "smell those roses". You will love strolling through Shirley's beautiful yard and gardens.
The last garden 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 1775 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, which were designed to have perennials blooming from spring through summer. A variety of summer perennials such as daisies, coneflowers, day lilies, hosta, and liatris can be found throughout the property. The gardens have changed over the years and several gardens have been removed because upkeep has become a problem. As you stroll through these gracious gardens it is amazing to see so many flowers in bloom. The use of small stonewalls and paths in the garden areas help to accentuate them.
Don't forget to mark your calendar for the Wolcott Historical Society's Garden Tour on Saturday, July 9th from noon to 4:00 p.m. Tickets will be sold the day of the tour in the Center School History Museum parking lot from 11:45 - 2:00 p.m. or you may order them ahead of time by calling Flo Goodman at 203-879-9818.
In closing, I'd like to add a comment about last month's Mickey Mouse rock article. I now have a great picture to add to my file on this topic. Eddy Miller gave me a black and white photo of himself next to the "Thinker Rock" so I have included it in this month's photos.
Rock garden found at the home of Deb DuBois.
View from Kathy & Tom Sullivan's front porch.
View of one of Jim Hackett's many gardens.
James Thomas house (circa 1775) where Seth Thomas was born and grew up. This is the home of Flo & Terry Goodman.
A very old Japanese maple shading plant material in Shirley LoRusso's backyard garden.
Eddy Miller circa 1965 in front of the Mickey Mouse Rock, originally called "The Thinker Rock."
To view past installments of the Historical Society News, click here.