Connecticut’s Historic Gardens Day 2019

Sunday, June 23, 12:00 – 4:00 pm – Rain or Shine

Hill-Stead Museum
Hill-Stead Museum’s Sunken Garden

Enjoy this special state-wide celebration of Connecticut’s stunning historic gardens. Member sites host special events and activities celebrating their gardens. Choose the gardens in your own backyard, or plan a daytrip to see those further afield.

Events will take place RAIN OR SHINE, though activities may vary depending on the weather.

Below you will find a selection of activities to be held at member garden sites.

Bellamy-Ferriday House & Garden, Bethlehem

Discover the treasures of the Bellamy-Ferriday estate. Stroll through the formal parterre garden designed 1915-1918 by Eliza Mitchell Ferriday. Grounds admission is free; regular admission applies for historic house tour. Garden Tours at 1 & 3 pm.

Butler-McCook House & Garden, Hartford

Walk through our historic Jacob Weidenmann Garden that was installed by Eliza Butler McCook and her sister Mary in 1865. Today the garden is lovingly maintained by the West Hartford Garden Club. Grounds admission is free; regular admission applies for historic house tour.

Florence Griswold Museum, Old Lyme

Visit the gardens and landscape that inspired a generation of artists. Enjoy refreshments on Miss Florence’s porch. Get creative and pick up all the painting supplies necessary to make your own masterpiece in the garden or down by the river. Discover more about the landscape using one of the Museum’s “Explorer Kits.” Have lunch at Café Flo. Grounds admission is free; regular admission applies for historic house and art gallery. This year’s summer exhibition, Art and the New England Farm, will be of particular interest to garden and landscape lovers!

Glebe House Museum and The Gertrude Jekyll Garden, Woodbury

On CT’s Historic Gardens Day, take part in guided garden tours, learn about our Jekyll Garden Restoration Project, and enjoy light refreshments. There will be a drawing for a signed and framed CT’s Historic Gardens Day poster. The historic Glebe House (first floor) will be open free of charge during the event.

Harkness Memorial State Park, Waterford

Cpme and enjoy tours of the Gardens designed by America’s first female landscape architect, Beatrix Farrand and the History of the Harkness estate, EOLIA, presented free of charge from 11am to 3pm by Park staff and Friends of Harkness volunteers at Harkness Memorial State Park on Great Neck Road in Waterford. Also, tours of the Harkness Mansion will be available from 10am to 2pm for a suggested donation. After your garden and mansion tours, please visit our Gift Shop, also open from 10am to 2pm. Bring a picnic and enjoy the spectacular views of Long Island Sound from the Great Lawn. Visit and Friends of Harkness on Facebook for more information.

Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, Hartford

Enjoy a self-guided tour of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center historic gardens featuring shade-loving perennials, colorful annuals, shrubs, meadow flowers, exotic elephant ears, castor bean plants, and stately roses.

The gardens include Connecticut’s largest Merrill Magnolia; grafts from The Stowe Dogwood, a pink variety believed to be from Stowe’s time; a National Champion Tree, the Common Paw Paw; and The Garden Club of America award-winning heritage roses.

On Connecticut Historic Gardens Day, try your hand at painting en plein air.

With ticketed admission, visitors can tour Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1871 home, a National Historic Landmark. On the interactive, conversational tour, visitors will learn about the life and impact of the author of the anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, connect the past to the present, and see the beautifully preserved Victorian Gothic Cottage where Stowe lived for 23 years. Stowe’s life and work show how one person can make a difference. Visitors will leave feeling inspired that they too can create positive change.

Hill-Stead Museum, Farmington

Visitors to Hill-Stead’s famous Sunken Garden will encounter a living example of landscape architect Beatrix Farrand’s creative vision for one family’s estate. Built in a natural depression in the landscape, the garden occupies nearly an acre of perennials, annuals and shrubs nestled in thirty-six beds in the original site of the Pope family’s garden. Enjoy informal garden tours of the Sunken Garden and the Pollinator Garden, newly planted in the stone foundation of an historic greenhouse. Learn about pollinator-friendly plants in both gardens. Enjoy refreshments in the garden on a Sunday afternoon.

Visitors are welcome to stroll the grounds, or perhaps take a slightly longer walk to see the flock of sheep at Hill-Stead’s barns. Young gardeners can enjoy a scavenger hunt and other activities to acquaint them with the gardens.

The museum is open for tours from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Regular admission applies to the museum, but is free with membership. A special exhibition, “Diamonds in the Rough: Golfing at Hill-Stead” will be on view for museum visitors as well.

Osborne Homestead Museum, Derby

The Osborne Homestead Museum will provide guided tours of the museum and its gardens. Visitors can enjoy tours of the lovely Colonial Revival gardens and go to a potpourri station to make scented sachets.  All materials will be supplied, and there will be no fee. After strolling through the gardens, visitors can tour the historic house museum where they will learn about Frances Osborne Kellogg’s love of flowers and land conservation.  Complimentary museum and garden tours will be offered every half hour beginning at noon.

For additional information call (203) 734-2513 or email

Promisek at Three Rivers Farm, Bridgewater

Promisek gardeners will be on hand from noon to 4pm to answer questions about the Beatrix Farrand-designed garden and the history of the land. We encourage those who wish to sketch, draw or paint to bring their materials!

Roseland Cottage, Woodstock

Roseland Cottage’s gardener will lead tours of the formal boxwood parterre garden at Roseland Cottage. Learn the history, significance, and theory behind the garden layout and design. Jana Milbocker will be present to sign her recently-published The Garden Tourist: 120 Destination Gardens and Nurseries in the Northeast and answer questions. Roseland Cottage and several other of Connecticut’s Historic Gardens are featured in the book. Tours on the hour.

Stanley-Whitman House, Farmington

Stanley-Whitman House costumed interpreters will be dying cloth and fiber in the 18th-century Dooryard Gardens from 12-4 pm on Connecticut’s Historic Gardens Day. Admission is free.

The first occupant of the ca. 1720 National Historic Landmark dwelling house was weaver Thomas Smith, who built a weaving studio on the second floor of the building. That studio has been reconstructed in the historic building so visitors and students can gain an intimate understanding of the life and work of an early 18th-century tradesman and weaver. Smith’s work included dying fiber and cloth for his business, and the dye plants in the historic gardens duplicate the plants research has shown that Smith used for his work: among them Dyer’s Chamomile, False Indigo, Mallow, Pot Marigold, Tansy, Woad, Yarrow, and Madder.

Visitors will watch and interact with interpreters as they process a selection of these plants and dye fibers on Connecticut’s Historic Gardens Day. Dooryard gardens were areas of active seasonal work, such as laundry, soap- and candle-making, butchering, and dying. Far from formal beautiful spaces, these garden areas served functions that were messy, smelly and often crowded with people, animals and equipment. What visitors experience at Stanley-Whitman House on June 24 will provide an interesting juxtaposition to historic gardens of later periods, which were primarily places of beauty and contemplation.

Thankful Arnold House Museum, Haddam Historical Society, Haddam

Haddam Historical Society and Thankful Arnold House Museum,14 Hayden Hill Road, Haddam, CT 06438, Sunday, June 24, 2018
12 noon to 4 pm, Free admission, light refreshments and crafts all afternoon

Visitors will learn how herbs, vegetables and plants were used by the Widow Thankful Arnold in the early 19th century.  The Wilhelmina Ann Arnold Barnhart Memorial Garden features over 50 varieties of herbs including those used in cooking, dyeing, fragrance and medicine. The museum’s newly interpreted outhouse will also be on the tour.

This year’s activity for both adults and children will be making a small hedgehog or mouse from teasel plants grown in the garden or make a lavender sachet. Our newly published garden brochure will be featured and distributed throughout the afternoon. Light refreshments will also be served including our famous rhubarb tea.

For further information visit or call 860-345-2400.

Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum, Wethersfield

Webb Deane Stevens museum will celebrate the day with special programs on our colonial revival garden designed in 1921 by landscape gardener Amy Cogswell. Admission to the garden is free and tours of the museum houses will be available for a fee.

Join us for discussion of the history of Colonial Revival era gardens with displays of the original garden plans before going outside for a guided tour of our garden. We will also have a brief slide show of the garden throughout the year and serve refreshments!

Guests will be able to enter a free raffle for a lovely framed poster featuring a print of a painting done by a Connecticut artist for the 2018 Connecticut Historic Gardens Day.

The garden will be open for this special event from 12 PM until 4 PM. We hope to see you in our garden.

Weir Farm National Historic Site, Wilton

Celebrate Connecticut’s Historic Gardens Day at Weir Farm National Historic Site, where gardens and art go hand-in-hand!  On Sunday June 24, from 12:00 to 4:00 pm, park staff and Garden Gang volunteers will offer short informal talks in the Sunken Garden and Secret Garden about each garden’s history, flowers, restoration, and ongoing preservation. In addition to the talks, visitors can spend an afternoon painting en plein air in a landscape that has inspired artists for over 130 years using the park’s free-to-use watercolor supplies! This year’s Connecticut Garden’s Day Poster Contest Winner was a Weir Farm work by former Artist-in-Residence Bonnie Beers Johnson. There is no registration for this event – just stop by and smell the flowers!