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Archives for June 23, 2017

Wagners offers summer garden trends and tips





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Garden Tips: Weed wars — to hoe or not to hoe – Tri

This spring I decided to use weed control fabric in my little vegetable garden. It is a small patch and hoeing is not burdensome, but by mid-summer the plants are so big that hoeing around them becomes impossible.

That is why I decided to use landscape fabric to control the weeds this year.

I bought a roll of spun-fiber fabric from a big box store. Within several weeks of putting the fabric down in the garden, it was being pushed up by the very healthy weeds underneath. Apparently the fabric is so thin that it does not block out light or weed growth. Why bother?

I then tried to use a mulch of overlapping sections of wet newspaper to block the light. A newspaper mulch worked well for me before in another region of the country, but not here. The paper quickly dried out and blew all over my yard the next day. Rats!

In desperation, I laid down a second layer of better quality woven landscape fabric that actually blocks out light. It is working much better, but I have put a lot of work into trying to control weeds in this little patch. It would have been easier to just leave the soil bare and do my best with a hoe, which is what I plan to do next year.

I am not the only one with weeding problems. Yesterday I noticed a local gardener out weeding a landscape bed that has been overtaken by Equisetum, also called scouring or horsetail rush. This plant is native to the Pacific Northwest and flourishes in areas where the soil stays wet or moderately wet. It our dry shrub-steppe region it is usually only a problem when it is introduced into landscapes via nursery stock grown elsewhere.

Equisetum reproduces via spores, tubers, and rhizomatous roots. It is a primitive plant that has no true leaves. In local landscapes it typically appears as green leafless stems topped with spore-producing cone-like structures. Equisetum may also produce sterile stems with whorls of leaf-like branches that makes it look somewhat like a bottle brush.

Equisetum thrives in wet sunny spots. However, once established it will tolerate less favorable conditions and is nearly impossible to eradicate. Because it does not have leaves and the stem has a ridged waxy surface, it is resistant to most herbicide applications.

The typical recommendation for control of Equisetum in home landscapes is persistent pulling or hoeing. Good luck with that.

One study in Quebec, Canada, revealed that “hoeing 16 times had no impact on removal.” Its persistence is due to its 3- to 6-foot deep tubers and extensive rhizomes that provide stored carbohydrates for regrowth time and after time.

The Thurston County Noxious Weed Board indicates that “depleting the food reserves in the rhizomes” by “complete removal of the tops about two weeks after each emergence for three to four years has provided effective control.”

Yikes, only a dedicated, unrelenting gardener is likely to have success using this method.

Some sources also indicate that heavyweight light-blocking landscape fabric or black plastic placed over the soil for three to four years may kill out a patch of Equisetum, but it might still escape around the edges.

If all else fails when controlling Equisetum in the landscape, WSU recommends the use of dichlobenil, known as Casoron, a granular pre-emergent herbicide that is applied directly to the soil surface. They recommend application in late winter or early spring when there is precipitation available to move the chemical into the soil.

Note: Casoron should not be used on sandy soils like those found in many parts of our area.

The war against weeds has just started — more to come.

Marianne C. Ophardt is a retired horticulturist for Washington State University Benton County Extension.

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Tips for Creating a City Garden


An Upper East Side balcony with built-in planters.

Robert Deitchler for The New York Times

With a little planning and dedication, it’s possible to turn even the dreariest outdoor space into an urban retreat. Whether you have a big backyard or a tiny balcony, here is how to make your outdoor space work for you.

DECIDE HOW YOU WANT TO USE THE SPACE “Ask yourself what you see yourself doing in the space,” said Sera Rogue, the owner of Red Fern Brooklyn, a landscape design firm. “Yoga? Reading? Entertaining? Morning coffee?” This will drive most of your decisions, including where to put the plants, what furniture to buy and how to address noise or privacy concerns.

SKETCH OUT A PLAN “When you talk to an interior designer, it’s about flowing through rooms, transitioning through space and creating focal points,” said Todd Haiman, a landscape designer, who pointed out that the same principles apply to creating outdoor rooms. In a small space, he suggested, “design on a grid,” using squares and rectangles, rather than circles, to take advantage of every square inch. If you don’t have much width, go vertical: A tall hedge, a few small trees or trellised vines in planters can create privacy. “I always try to create a sensory and experiential journey,” he said, which can be as simple as placing a pot of lavender near the door “so you brush up against it, every time you step out, and release its scent.”

BE REALISTIC ABOUT UPKEEP Even the hardiest plants require regular watering and pruning. If you travel frequently, a well-furnished terrace with an occasional bouquet from the farmer’s market may be more your style. Sedums and ornamental grasses generally do well in full southern sun. “I like to use full-sun-loving sedums in hanging baskets,” Ms. Rogue said, as they require little water and are “colorful, draping and textural.” She also suggested using sedums “in low bowls for full-sun rooftops and balconies — you can put them anywhere, as they do not need to be connected to an irrigation system.” For shady spots, her go-to plant is a Britt-Marie Crawford ligularia dentata, for its “large, round leaves that give height and volume,” she said. “In the summer, it sends up an otherworldly wand flower.” Whereas hostas, she said, are “overused.”


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CONSIDER URBAN WILDLIFE If not carefully maintained, plants that drop fruit, like figs or tomatoes, can attract rodents in city gardens. Overgrown backyards with bird feeders and standing water are havens for all kinds of four-legged creatures, as well as mosquitoes. “City squirrels in backyards tend to dig up tulips in their search for nuts,” Mr. Haiman said, and water leaking from a hose or spigot “is like a water fountain.” Trim tree limbs and tall plants within a few feet of the house, he suggested, and in lieu of bird feeders try native plants like serviceberry trees or maple leaf viburnum.

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CHOOSE FLEXIBLE FURNITURE Benches with built-in storage can save space while offering a place to hide hoses and gardening tools, said Ms. Rogue, who likes the Keymar Teak storage bench ($399 at Signature Hardware). Mr. Haiman’s go-to: 24-inch bistro tables (from $251 at Fermob), which easily fold up for storage. The Sweethome, a product review site owned by The New York Times, recommends the wooden Ikea Applaro table and four armchairs ($370 for the set), which has drop-leaves that can be folded and removed, so you can adjust the table size according to your needs.

FACTOR IN THE WIND Trees in planters can blow over if not properly secured. If windy conditions are a problem, try birch trees and ornamental grasses, which tend to be less wind resistant — so strong gusts pass through them, instead of blowing them over — and will rustle and “dance in the wind,” Mr. Haiman said.

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Timeline of a Hancock Park yard makeover: ‘I didn’t want an English garden, but…’

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After Linda Sanoff let her lawn die off and removed it, she knew that she wanted to replace it with a drought-tolerant alternative that would complement her Mediterranean home in Hancock Park.

“We wanted something traditional,” Sanoff said. “I didn’t want an English garden, but I did want something a little formal.”

So Sanoff and her husband, Gerry, asked landscape designer Michael Kirchmann Jr. of Anigo Garden Design to help them convert their former front lawn into a lush low-water oasis that requires very little maintenance.

“The transformation was all about water,” Sanoff said. “It’s a precious resource. We would have done this even without the rebate because it was the right thing to do.”

The couple began by replacing the turf on their parking strip with the South African ground cover dymondia margaretae. When the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power began offering turf removal rebates, it gave them extra motivation to keep going.

To help them visualize the new garden, Kirchmann took a picture of the house and covered it with a sheet of paper. On it, he drew in all of the plants so the couple could visualize their new garden.

To their delight, it grew in just as he illustrated.

Kirchmann kept the agapanthus, trumpet vine and roses because they were well established and planted drought-tolerant shrubs, perennials and succulents — lavender, rock roses, lantana and iris among them.

He also added a decomposed granite walkway to allow access for the trash cans and installed a drip irrigation system. A detailed maintenance list, included below, makes maintenance easy.

Sanoff says she is pleased with the results and the that they are saving 20% savings on their water consumption.

Now when neighbors walk by and comment on their landscape, she offers them encouragement. “I tell them ‘you can do this too,’” she said.

The couple removed the parkway in February 2015, stopped watering the front lawn in June and planted the new yard in November. They received a turf rebate of $3,500 and invested $9,000 more.

See how the front yard evolved over time and what it looks like today:

September 2014

The front yard before

The original front yard was simple, consisting of turf, agapanthus and roses.

(Linda Sanoff)

September 2014

The parkway before

The Sanoffs started their turf removal process with the parking strip. After their gardener dug up the long, narrow strip of grass, they planted Dymondia margaretae.

(Linda Sanoff)

February 2015

The parkway in transition

The South African ground cover Dymondia margaretae (silver carpet) begins to fill in on the parking strip.

(Linda Sanoff )

June 2015

The front lawn before

The 1926 Mediterranean home was bound by a traditional — and thirsty — lawn. The Sanoffs stopped watering the lawn and let it die over four months. They skipped weed killer and had their gardener dig up the dead lawn, along with 6 inches of soil before installing the new plants.

(Linda Sanoff)

November 2015

Newly planted …

Among the new items: rock roses, Echeveria elegans, tall Euphorbia wulfenii, pyramid-shaped juniper “Medora,” white trailing lantana, English lavender and walking Iris.

( Linda Sanoff)
(Linda Sanoff)

June 2016

Growing in, seven months later

The garden is looking lush seven months later.

(Linda Sanoff)
(Linda Sanoff)

Drought-tolerant plants that will look great in your garden! »

April 2017

The front yard in the spring

Following record winter rain in Southern California, the garden is alive with a variety of blooms, shapes and textures.

(Linda Sanoff )
(Michael Krichmann)
(Linda Sanoff )

May 2017

The front yard today

The former front lawn and parking strip today, after Sanoff trimmed the Euphorbia wulfenii per Kirchmann’s maintenance plan, shown below.

(Linda Sanoff)
(Linda Sanoff)

Inspiration — and tips — for drought gardening »

Plant list and maintenance tips from Michael Kirchmann Jr.:

Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’: Remove dead leaves underneath as they brown. If the plant gets too tall, cut stalk, let stalk get hard at the end after about one week, put plant back in ground.

Agave attenuata ‘Ray of Light’: Remove dead leaves underneath the main clump. Remove any pups from the stalk. Each agave should be a stand-alone specimen.

Cistus ‘Sunset’: Cut back and shape as needed. Do not let plant get rangy.

Echeveria elegans: Cut back bloom stalks when finished. Remove dead leaves underneath as they brown.

Euphorbia wulfenii: Cut back bloom stalks as close to the clump as possible. Usually in late spring/early summer.

Juniper ‘Medora’: Trim and shape as needed to keep the pyramid shape.

Lantana ‘Trailing White’: Cut back by one-third after the bloom cycle. The plant should have a trailing look, but not get too rangy.

Lavandula stoechas: Cut back by one-third after each bloom cycle to keep the plant full. Trim back to a roundish shape, but not a tight ball shape.

Neomarica caerulea ‘Walking Iris’: Cut out bloom stalks after the flower is finished. Remove any yellow or dead leaves.

Olea ‘Little Ollie’: Trim and shape the dwarf olive as needed, cut to desired height.

Pennisetum orientale Chinese Fountain Grass: Cut back entire plant to about two inches or so above the main clump in winter to refresh the plant.

Pittosporum crassifolium ‘Compactum’: Cut back as needed to shape for desired height and fullness.

Teucrium chamaedrys: Cut back bloom stalks after they finish flowering. Cut back as needed to shape for desired height and fullness.

Westringia fruticosa ‘Morning Light’: Cut back as needed to shape for desired height and fullness.

If you’ve given your yard a makeover, we want to see it, and may feature it in an upcoming edition of the Saturday section. Please send before and after pictures to, and include a day-time contact number.

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They turned the front lawn into a welcoming extension of their Woodland Hills home

They replaced the lawn with a gorgeous drought-tolerant meadow that doesn’t need mowing

A lush English garden in Studio City is converted to a water savvy landscape

Before and after: A Tustin garden goes from thirsty lawn to drought-tolerant oasis

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10 home and garden events June 24 and beyond – Courier-Journal – The Courier


Children in the Dell. Yew Dell Botanical Gardens, 6220 Old LaGrange Road, Crestwood, 10:30 a.m.-noon Saturdays through Aug. 26. The classes gives children ages 5-12 a chance to spend some time in the garden. Topics include planting and growing veggies, nature-inspired scavenger hunts and more. Parents must stay on the grounds and are invited to participate in the day’s activities. Preregistration encouraged, drop-ins welcome as space allows. Free with regular admission.

Youth Master Gardener Program is holding sign-ups for a Youth Master Gardener class for those who have completed the second grade to age 12. Classes will be held 9 a.m.-noon, Mondays through July 17, Georgetown Optimist Club, 8260 State Road 64, Georgetown, Indiana. $25. For more information, Mary Ann, 812-282-9798.

Whitehall House Gardens Woodland Garden Tour. 3110 Lexington Road, 10 a.m. June 24. The garden has more than 150 species, sub-species or named cultivars including 30 named Victorian cultivars. The woodland fern garden also serves as a ‘stumpery,’ a Victorian garden design where tree logs and stumps are used for the rustic planting of ferns and other woodland plants. Tour guide: Carolyn Waters. Reservations required. $10. 502-897-2944.

In The Garden: Perennials Pollinators. The Jefferson County Master Gardener Association’s program features free programs taught by gardeners in their own gardens. Master Gardener June Sandercock will discuss planning and developing perennial gardens for shade and sun and how to include plants and other elements to nurture pollinators, 9-10:30 a.m. June 24. After the short program, participants will take a guided tour of her garden. Limited to 15. Reservations required. 502-216-8950 or email

Plant Sale. Audubon Park City Hall, 3340 Robin Road, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. June 24. Sponsored by The Audubon Park Garden Club.

The Daylily Society of Louisville 23rd Annual Daylily Show. Mid-City Mall, 1250 Bardstown Road, July 1 . Flower show from 1-4:30 p.m.; daylily plant sale from 11 a.m. until sold out.

Bernheim First Sunday Nature Hike. Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest, Clermont, 2-3:30 p.m. July 2. Free. 502-955-8512.

Bernheim Lunch Learn: Rock Run Ramble. Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest, Clermont, 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. July 5. Sunday. A short hike and lunch from Isaac’s Café. Creek crossing and uneven terrain (wear sturdy shoes). Registration and payment due by 4 p.m.July 4. $20, $15 Bernheim members. 502-955-8512.

Rain Barrell Workshop. Hillview Government Center, 283 Crestwood Lane, 6 p.m. July 11. Learn how to make a rain barrel for home use. $20 (includes supplies). Reservations: Bullitt County Extension Service, 502-543-2257.

Homearama Poplar Woods. Oldham County, July 15- July 30 (5-9:30 p.m. Monday-Friday; 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Saturday; 1-6 p.m. Sunday). Nine custom-built homes fully furnished, decorated, landscaped and featuring the latest in building trends, technology and interior design. Visitors can tour the homes and meet the local builders, interior designers, and suppliers of the variety of home products featured. Tickets are sold on site at the Homearama entrance tent. $10, $15 for a two-day pass; free for ages 12 and younger. For more information,

Email items to Deadline for next Saturday’s column is noon Tuesday.7

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Haver & Skolnick Architects of Roxbury wins landscape design award

Roxbury Haver Skolnick Architects, of Roxbury, is the winner of the “2017 Connecticut Cottages Gardens Innovation in Design Awards,” Landscape Design Category. The winning entry was for the landscape and garden design of an 80 acre Washington, Connecticut farm.

Haver Skolnick also created a master site plan for the property, designed a new stone farmhouse and renovated several farm buildings including a large entertainment barn, guest house and stable.

The rustic landscape was designed to highlight the property’s gently rolling hills and distant mountain views and to respond to its agrarian history. A winding gravel drive was created to link together the farm’s many buildings and landscape features.

The centerpiece of the landscape is a formal walled garden, accommodating fruits, vegetables, perennials and flowering vines. A fieldstone wall surrounds the garden and supports a “living fence” of three varieties of espaliered pear trees. Each of the garden’s four entrances is marked by rough granite piers topped with custom lanterns.

The garden is punctuated by a series of rustic natural cedar structures. A central wisteria-covered gazebo provides a shady spot to enjoy the lush perennials and vegetables, neatly arranged in bluestone-edged beds. A pair of arbors provides sturdy support for summer squash. Playful “teepees” play host to Clematis and Morning Glories.

Haver Skolnick collaborated with Ronald LeBlanc on the perennials and landscape plantings and Lynne Dzinski on the vegetable plantings.

Beyond the garden, undulating informal perennial beds surround the home lead to a large terrace overlooking distant hills. Centered on the terrace is a carved cedar dining pergola, planted with Dutchman’s Pipe. Nearby is a complete outdoor kitchen and fire pit, extending the family’s outdoor enjoyment into the winter months.

The landscape and garden will be featured on “The Garden Conservancy Hollister House Garden Tour,” Sunday, Sept. 10.

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Enhance La Jolla to ponder capital project ideas – La Jolla Light

During their second meeting, held Tuesday, June 13 at La Jolla Riford Library, Enhance La Jolla board members voted to form an ad hoc committee to come up with ideas for capital improvement projects that could be implemented throughout The Village within the next few months. Initial ideas include hiring a security detail, trimming trees and adding trash cans around town.

Enhance La Jolla is the board charged with administering the Maintenance Assessment District (MAD), which was approved by business and property owners within its boundaries in November 2016. Funding for ongoing maintenance in the Village — including landscaping, street power-washing, trash collection and graffiti removal — will be generated by assessments that will begin to be collected later this year.

Because of its non-profit status, the organization can also receive grants and private funds to carry out capital improvement projects in public areas. La Jolla Community Foundation, another non-profit involved in the creation of Enhance La Jolla, has offered $65,000 raised by its membership to implement a project within the MAD boundaries.

To decide on which projects to bring to the Foundation for funding, members of Enhance La Jolla came up with several ideas. First, chair Bill Tribolet spoke of the possibility of contracting the services of a security company.

Segway,” he began, “and I noticed people stopping him, asking him questions, and he would point here and there, and everybody seemed to know him, and it was very impressive.”

Enhance La Jolla board members revise the Management Agreement to be signed with the City of San Die

The security detail has an approximate cost of $60,000 a year for three days per week. “(For this) six-month period (before the MAD funds kick in) it will cost $30,000 to get it started,” Tribolet said. “Let’s see how it evolves, and moving forward, I think we can raise the $60,000 for the project.”

Trustees agreed with the concept, but member Mark Dibella cautioned, “Having this effort three days a week could provide an unrealistic sense of security in the Village … What about the other four days a week? What if there’s a security issue on the patrolman’s off day?”

Board member Ruth Yansick offered a different proposal. “I started looking up Girard Avenue and I saw a lot of trees that needed trimming,” she said. From there, the discussion went into the possibility planting matching trees on different Village streets.

Board member and publisher of the La Jolla Light, Phyllis Pfeiffer, explained, “The La Jolla Community Foundation had several meetings with The Village Garden Club of La Jolla trying to implement this. The plan was to plant the same trees down Girard Avenue and on Prospect Street. The Garden Club was excited about managing the project, but then we realized, if we planted them, they were going to die because who was going to water them?”

For trustee Nancy Warwick, her preferred community improvement route would be to use the money to fundraise for a bigger project. “(We could) put together a plan for the Belvedere Promenade project. It has a lot of community support already. I could be wrong, but I don’t think it’s highly controversial.”

Member David Marino disagreed. “We need to make an impact with that money. It’s not about making noise, but getting something done.”

The ad hoc committee formed will be chaired by Dibella with trustees Warwick, Marino and Peter Wagener. It will report back at a later meeting.

As for the timing of the capital improvement project, something could happen before the year ends. “La Jolla Community Foundation has a meeting in November, so we could announce the plans then,” Pfeiffer said.

In other Enhance La Jolla news:

Management contract: Enhance La Jolla is in the process of signing a contract with the City of San Diego that will allow it to carry out projects within the MAD boundaries. It was discussed during the meeting that, for liability purposes, Enhance La Jolla would compile a list of tripping hazards within the MAD boundaries and send it to the City.

Other committees: It was decided that Steve Haskins would chair the bylaws committee; Andy Nelson, the Request for Proposals (RFP) project; and Pfeiffer and Yansick, the hiring committee to recruit a part-time administrator.

— Enhance La Jolla next meets 4 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 19 at the library, 7555 Draper Ave.

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Master Gardener: Add vegetables to your flower beds for edible landscape





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Gumpf Gardens acts as ‘plant library’ for customers to consult, provides horticultural needs

CHIPPEWA TWP. — Part landscaping, part lawn-care and part garden center, Gumpf Gardens serves all of Beaver County’s demand for horticulture since it first sprung up in 1957.

Sixty years later, The Times readers still value the Chippewa establishment and its services, voting Gumpf Gardens the Best Garden/Nursery of the Beaver Valley.


Gumpf Garden offers wide range of plants, flowers, and other garden needs

Anthony Wojtkiewicz, of Ellwood City, waters roses at Gumpf Gardens in Chippewa Township on June 13. Wojtkiewicz and other employees at Gumpf Gardens make sure to keeps the garden center’s plants hydrated throughout the day, especially on hot summer days.

“We are kind of like a plant library,” Amy Thurrott, the manager and vice president of operations for Gumpf Gardens , said. “Our staff is very knowledgeable. (People) may buy plants somewhere else and don’t know about them. People will bring in plants, pictures of plants or leaves and we can offer a diagnosis or tell them if there is a solution out there.”

Thurrott also said the store attracts customers through its uncommon variety of plants in stock.

“The plants we sell are a little different than other places and a larger size and more mature,” Thurrott said. “They’re more bang for your buck.”

In 1997, Jim Gumpf bought the store from his parents, Bert Gumpf and Boblyn Gumpf, who first opened the business 40 years earlier.


Gumpf Garden offers wide range of plants, flowers, other garden needs

Flower Carpet Scarlet Groundcover Roses are one of the many kinds of plants for sale at Gumpf Gardens in Chippewa Township.

“Mr. Gumpf is a landscape architect and is very knowledgeable on the subject, knowing about factors like slope and drainage,” Thurrott said.

Thurrott credits the store’s customers as a contributing factor to Gumpf Garden’s success and popularity.

“The people in Beaver County are fantastic,” she said. “We have the nicest people that come into our store.”

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Six Homes, Six Gardens To Be Featured In Historical Society’s Annual Homes & Gardens Tour

Whether people are enamored by brightly colored gardens with myriad types of flowers or homes that aptly depict period historic times, or both, the 21st Newtown Historical Society House and Garden Tour on Sunday, June 25, will be a “must attend.”

The self-guided event will be presented rain or shine, from 11 am until 5 pm.

This year the annual event includes homes overlooking Taunton Lake, mixing early American and Modern styles, providing perfect artists’ retreats, and blending into their surrounding flowering landscapes. The outdoor sights offer winding brooks and walkways, hideaways, and perfected landscapes.

At two of the lakeside homes — one from the 1950s and the other from 1916 — artists Pat Barkman and Susan McLaughlin Rosen look out their back windows while painting landscapes and imaginative views of nature. Both dwellings are surrounded by a different variety of foliage from spring to fall.

From the third Taunton Lake home, an amazing contemporary with a wall of windows, sights include Newtown’s swooping bald eagles.

Those who enjoy history will want to visit the Federal-period house on Boggs Hill with its spacious modern addition and unique landscape and the 1738 home on Brushy Hill that was moved from Middletown in 1990.

Nearby on Shepard Hill is a custom-built contemporary with eclectic designs indoors and out.

In addition to all of these homes and gardens are two more stunning grounds on Main Street and Sweet Meadow Road. At the former, outside a renovated 1787 home, lies a wealth of perennials, interesting shrubs and climbing plants that will test enthusiasts’ gardening knowledge. The owners of the latter home have been thoughtfully landscaping their three acres for the past 22 years, offering a cohesive blend of types, textures, shapes and sizes that also feature color for all three growing seasons.

To top everything off are the gardens at the historical society’s Mathew Curtiss house, which will be ready for all ticket holders as well.

Tickets are $25 in advance for adults, and will be $30 on the day of the tour. Children’s tickets, for ages 8-15, are $10 and $15, respectively.

Tickets can be purchased in advance at C.H. Booth Library, 25 Main Street; The UPS Store, 261 Main Street South (within Waterfall Plaza); and The Toy Tree, 14 Church Hill Road (within Church Hill at Queen Commons).

On June 25, tickets will be sold only at The Matthew Curtiss House, 44 Main Street, between 10 am and 2 pm.

Additional information is available at


House Garden Notes

Home and Garden of Pat Barkman
49 Taunton Lake Road

The 1955 Taunton Lake home of artist and writer Pat Barkman is a step back in time.

Ms Barkman has lovingly created a unique space where she can be inspired and do all the things she loves, from art to gardening. Filled with midcentury details and the homeowner’s creative touches, it is hard for anyone not to be inspired.

An an avid organic gardener, Ms Barkman opens her studio and garden annually for guests to enjoy.

This country home includes a picturesque art gallery that is surrounded by flowers in all three growing seasons. From the gallery and most windows of the house, Ms Barkman can easily view a winding stream as it cuts through the entire width of the property and rushes toward the lake, providing a year-round paintable picture.

Ms Barkman, who has enjoyed this garden for more than 20 years and personally doing 90 percent of the work, describes it as “an artist’s dream.”


Home and Garden of William and Erica Barber
159 Boggs Hill Road

Built in 1783, the Barber home is a stunning example of Federal-style architecture.

The original part of the house is brick, which is a bit unusual for this area, and a 2001 addition seamlessly highlights wide open spaces and modern conveniences.

Situated on two acres dotted with lush gardens and a charming stone wall, guests will instantly be transported back to early Newtown.

For the Barbers, the growing season begins in April when the peonies, camassia, and daffodils emerge along the edges of the wetlands, followed by the many varieties of hostas — divided from specimens lovingly given by a dear, late friend.

As the days warm up, the borders along an intensely sunny back walkway ignite with blue nepeta, salvia, ladybells, and lavender accented by the lime glow of spirea and silver carpet that basks at the feet of old roses beyond. Birds nest in the pergola-hugging clematis overlooking a stone-stepped bank of flowing lilacs, hydrangea, sea swells iris, and sedum autumn joy succulents. Summer brings daylilies and shasta daisies along the side of the house.

As summer wanes, the coolness of the garden beneath a towering maple beckons as moss grows on stone-cast mushrooms.

This lovely and well-loved yard, almost completely surrounded by a stone wall, is an ideal setting for their family of three high-energy boys and three high-spirited dogs.


Home at 61 Brushy Hill Road

This circa 1738 quintessential saltbox stands so stately on a hill that it appears as if it has always been there. However, that is not the case.

The home was originally located in what is now Middletown, and in 1990 it was painstakingly dismantled and reconstructed here in Newtown.

Chestnut floors, hand-hewn beams, and a seven-foot fireplace with a working beehive oven are just a few of the original features in this beautiful antique home.


Home and Garden of Dr Lionel and Margareta Brown
19 Shepard Hill Road

This custom-built contemporary is the definition of a family home. Completed in 1978 by the Browns, the eclectic interior is filled with unique Swedish antiques, furniture built by the couple’s son, and special designs by their daughter.

The light-filled home sits on six acres featuring landscaped and natural spaces.

The property has been landscaped from dense woods practically to perfection over the last 40 years. Described as an “all-season yard,” it can more accurately be called a park after evolving through the years based on the family’s needs. The owners added a delightful pool and waterfall as their children grew, the property was a perfect setting for their daughter’s wedding, and later provided an ideal place to show off their son’s creative stone and metal sculptures. Now, it is the favorite playground for the grandkids, complete with a winter sledding trail.


Home of Ben and Kirstin Pilchard
53 Mount Pleasant Road

Stunning views of Taunton Lake are featured in every room of this 1972 contemporary. It is the perfect home for year-round entertaining with its open floor plan.

A full wall of windows is awe-inspiring. Those attending the house and garden tour should certainly keep their eyes open for the majestic bald eagles flying over the lake… if they can pull themselves away from the view.

Vintage furniture and original artwork by the homeowner and local artists create a cool, casual interior. The home blends impeccably into the lakefront property.


Home and Garden of David and Susan Rosen
43 Taunton Lake Road

The 1916 lakeside cottage, called Foxglove, is a picture perfect retreat.

The Taunton Lake house blends harmoniously with its surroundings to create a sense of calm where one can truly appreciate the beauty of nature and all of its wonders. Nestled close to the lake, privately set and barely visible from the road, and surrounded by stone paths, it is easy to see how this enchanting home inspires Susan to create whimsical and provocative paintings under her artist’s name, Susan McLaughlin.

Once exiting the home, one cannot help but notice a lush growth of pachysandra that border the stone paths and the climbing hydrangea that completely cover the stone chimney from the ground all the way to the roof.

Paper-bark birch trees, with their unique scraggly look, greet guests. There is a wide variety of perennials in the gardens around the house, carefully cared for by Susan.

Rose trees, clematis, sargent cherry, and a huge hickory nut tree all play their role in simply making the Rosens, and their guests, want to sit, relax and unwind.


The Gardens of Maureen Rohmer
27 Main Street, Newtown

This wonderful 1787 home has been thoughtfully renovated to retain its authenticity. It has been able to keep its stately presence although nestled between the larger properties of The Dana-Holcombe House and Cyrenius H. Booth Library.

Much more surprising, though, is the spacious back lawn, lovely three-season gardens, renovated barn, and prevailing scent of lavender and poppies that greet Ms Rohmer and anyone visiting 27 Main Street.

Ms Rohmer has graciously opened her gardens for the tour where the wealth of perennials, interesting shrubs, and climbing plants will test the gardening knowledge or some, while simply enthralling others. 


The Gardens of Dr Jeffrey and Nancy Metzger
9 Sweet Meadow Road

The Metzgers built their colonial home about 22 years ago and have been thoughtfully landscaping their three-acre property ever since.

Dr Metzger is a knowledgeable do-it-yourselfer who constructed his own stone walls and deck planters, and can name every single plant, shrub, tree, groundcover, and flower on the property.

The result of his efforts, described by him as a “labor of love,” as well as Mrs Metzger’s skillful direction, offer a cohesive blend of types, textures, shapes, and sizes that also feature color for all three growing seasons.

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