Connecticut’s Historic Gardens (CHG) cultivates a passion for the diversity of historic gardens at distinctive historic homes in Connecticut. By partnering through shared marketing initiatives, CHG brings greater recognition and visitation to member sites, offering visitors experiences rich in beauty and history, and fostering learning.
CHG formed in 2004 by a small group of representatives from 9 historic sites with gardens that came together to improve marketing and promotion of their respective sites. They pooled resources to participate in CTs largest winter flower show, the Connecticut Flower and Garden Show held each February in Hartford. They also created Connecticut’s Historic Gardens Day, which, in 2016, will celebrate its 13th consecutive year. Each site plans special events unique to the venue. In 2012, the group initiated a poster art contest to encourage a connection between the gardens and artists throughout the state. The winning artwork is used to create a poster and other materials that advertise the event.
With funding from membership fees and a grant from the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, a brochure was created to highlight each member site. It is distributed throughout CT, as well as MA and NY. The brochure and other marketing materials are updated regularly, funded through the membership fees, to include information on new member sites. Currently, there are 15 member sites throughout the state.
Other joint efforts by the group include participation in:
- The Boston Flower Show (each March)
- The CT Antiques Show (in Hartford each March)
- Roseland Cottage Fine Arts and Crafts Fair (in Woodstock each October)
- Social media efforts, including a website, and regular blog and Facebook posts.
Criteria for membership are as follows:
- The site must have a garden and at least one historic house which must be accessible to the public.
- The garden(s) must be historically significant. Garden(s) may have been designed by a known designer or reflect an historical garden style or design philosophy. The site should demonstrate an effort to use historic plant varieties where feasible.
- The garden and home must be open to the public, exhibit visitor readiness and make an effort to interpret the landscape as part of the overall interpretive scheme for the site.
- The site must pay annual dues of $250 for organizations with annual operating budgets under $500,000 and $500 for those with annual operating budgets over $500,000.
- The site must participate in CHG-sponsored programs, including the CT Flower and Garden Show, Connecticut’s Historic Gardens Days and other CHG-sponsored events. This involves providing volunteers to staff events.
- The site must participate in meetings (approximately 4–6 per year).
- The site must agree to promote CHG events in publications, and on their websites and other social media. Also, the site representative must contribute to the CHG website, blog and other social media
- The site must have a contact person who can speak for the site on matters of public relations, programming, and budgeting
- Membership will be evaluated on an annual basis.
Applicants for membership may be visited by the Membership Committee, who will then present the findings to CHG for a vote. CHG acknowledges that at some point it may be necessary to limit the number of members in order to maintain cohesiveness.