Visit private gardens of distinction on this exclusive self-guided tour. This year's tour visits four elegant gardens in Weston and Newton. Advance ticket purchasers will receive a ticket with directions and garden descriptions approximately one week prior to the tour.
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This property is more a landscape than a garden, dominated as it is by granite outcrops, tall oaks and hemlocks, and sloping terrain. Flowers are icing on the cake. When the owners bought this property, it was completely overgrown. Over the years, the cultivated area has grown as trees were cleared for more sunlight, and most recently for the installation of solar panels. The garden features many woody plants that have a horizontal presentation or irregular shape, such as Leucothoe, Hinoki Cypress, and Deutzia, as well as flowering shrubs, Stewartia and Fothergilla. Perennials including Iris, Astilbe, Primrose, and Rudbekia, take turns creating swaths of color. The garden is blessed with volunteers large and small, from the Rhododendron and Leucothoe that appear even in rock crevices, to wood lilies that tinge the beds bright green and lichen that dot the granite with a silvery green patina. Weston's Marjorie Pierce (1900-1999), one of the first female graduates of MIT in architecture, designed this house in the late 1950's. How creatively and gently she inserted this home into a challenging lot! During their 14 years here, the current owners have created a series of outdoor rooms and focal points to enjoy from both inside the house and out in the garden itself.
This garden has become a plant collector's haven. The style is that of an English garden, complete with living arches, flowering standards, and ornaments. A delightful moss bed, a "Hemlock Gorge" with living bridge and water, and a secret garden await. Organic techniques allow a dense planting of hundreds of different dwarf and compact growing conifers, hybrid and species rhododendrons, unusual Japanese maples, and other ornamental trees, under a canopy of mature sugar maples.The owner is an award winning designer who has won numerous honors at the New England Flower Show. She is also a birder and her garden reflects this interest.
The original house was built in the early 1900's as a cottage for the Glen House Hotel, on a narrow one acre lot. There are two garden areas, separated by the house. The front, originally a straight 150 foot slope to the street, was transformed with a walled terrace, raised gardens nestled around rock outcroppings, and border gardens. There are numerous conifers mixed with specimen shrubs, perennials, and annuals for summer color. The back was opened up by a hurricane in the early 1980's, when for the first time there was plentiful sunshine. Again perennial beds were designed around ledge outcroppings. Trees and shrubs include Japanese maples, witch hazels, Metasequoias, an umbrella pine, fringe tree, Wredei golden elm and August blooming azaleas. Foliage is the primary focus for both front and back. A challenge has been to create continuous color from early May to early October. Visits from a grandchild brought added incentive to create child-friendly oases of whimsical creatures, miniature houses and plantings.
The owners' impression of the garden in 1979 was that it was run down, weedy, and had a worn out lawn. Four children had been running everywhere while the father had mowed down the lily of the valley along with the weeds. Avid workers with little gardening knowledge, they weeded, pulled out invasive vines, planted Hostas along the bank of the pond, put hundreds of Pachysandra under the linden, and enlarged the two flower beds. By the end of the 80's, after rebuilding the house, the goal became a bird and wildlife friendly garden that provided bloom and color in a year round display. In the 90's, much hard labor created a peninsula into the backyard pond, which became the home of a whimsical fish fountain. Another major renovation in 2011 resulted in reconfiguring the front of the property into beds of shrubs and perennials with a much smaller lawn area. Many older shrubs were moved, held over and replanted. This spring, heartwood rot forced the removal of two maples planted in the 30's by the original owners, resulting in a surprise sun challenge.