Windsor Garden Tour showcases garden ‘personalities’

By Brenda Sullivan - ReminderNews
Windsor - posted Wed., Jul. 17, 2013
Mary Ann Sylvester, one of the visitors enjoying the 2013 Windsor Garden Tour, talks with garden creator Helen Davenport about the aptly-named ‘Lily Trees,’ from the Breck’s catalog, whose colors and scent ‘blew me away,’ Sylvester said. Photos by Brenda Sullivan.
Mary Ann Sylvester, one of the visitors enjoying the 2013 Windsor Garden Tour, talks with garden creator Helen Davenport about the aptly-named ‘Lily Trees,’ from the Breck’s catalog, whose colors and scent ‘blew me away,’ Sylvester said. Photos by Brenda Sullivan.

Garden tours are a great opportunity to find fresh inspiration for your own garden, to swap information about new plants on the market and to learn techniques from fellow gardeners – but probably the most fun comes from discovering the variety of personalities expressed in the gardens.

On July 13, there were eight different gardens open to the public on a tour co-hosted by the Windsor Historical Society and the Windsor Garden Club. Proceeds from the tour support programs offered by both organizations.

Some were new gardens in progress and some were well-established, and they ranged in size from landscaping around a pool to 20 plots spanning the equivalent of two house lots.

One of the most colorful and playful gardens was Helen Davenport’s – its eclectic collection of plants dotted with “found objects” reflects not only Davenport’s incredible green thumb, but also her other interests, which include creating jewelry and what she calls “perennial flowers” that combine stained glass and Goodwill finds such as porcelain tea cups.

Describing her garden’s personality, she said, “It’s loose, it’s happy, it’s my favorite place to sit and relax.”

The most popular feature of her garden was the aptly-named “Lily Trees,” from the Breck’s catalog, that grow about shoulder height and whose cream-colored petals are painted with hot pink and deep lavender stripes. As garden visitor Mary Ann Sylvester put it, the flowers’ size, color and lovely scent “blew me away.”

Another unusual feature of Davenport’s garden is an archway formed by two towering arborvitae joined at their tops, that opened onto a large, lush vegetable garden.

Jean Kelsey’s garden is one in transition, and to make room for new plantings on a raised ledge, she had to move hundreds of strawberry plants.

Their new home is a long wall of wooden pallets - a vertical garden - along the back of her house. And to keep the plants well-watered, she uses wine bottles containing a handful of glass beads and whose caps are pierced with several small holes. Inverted at intervals into the top of the pallets on top of small flat rocks, the water trickles slowly into the soil.

Rick Peer’s garden - mostly well-groomed green ground covers, hostas and well-established azaleas - is an excellent example of landscaping planted in harmony with a property’s natural conditions, which in this case is lots of shade and lots of water, as a stream runs under his property.

The moist conditions have also contributed to the staggering height of a weeping willow tree in the front of the property, whose lower foliage he trims both for aesthetics and to make mowing the lawn easier, he said.

Jan Porri’s gardens not only are a great example of creating garden “rooms” – which reflects her love of outdoor living – they also are a testament to how attached gardeners can get to their plants. Most of Porri’s plants have moved with her five times, she said, including peonies that came from her grandmother’s garden almost 30 years ago.

Cindy Daniels’ garden is an inspiring example of how quickly new construction can begin to look like home. A retired teacher now establishing herself in a new garden design career, she described her garden “personality” by saying, “I’m a texture and shape kind of girl. I like lacey plants and spiky plants and I try to time it so something is always blooming. I like succulents, too, so I try to work them in.”

Halyna Povroznyk, who recently moved here from Ukraine, displayed 20 gardens, each one a mini-experiment in combinations of plants or in a single color theme. One garden mixed roses and grape vines; another, a blackberry bush and gladiolas.

Her gardens also flourish thanks to rich soil from a homemade compost bin the size of a large shed, created (with help from her husband) by interweaving twigs.

For more information about the Windsor Garden Club, visit http://windsorgardenclubct.org or call Laura Jary at 806-305-7306; to contact the Windsor Historical Society, visit http://windsorhistoricalsociety.org or call 860-688-3813.


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