Self-Guided Garden Tour
The 16th Annual Hidden Gardens Tour and Garden Market on the Green was canceled for 2020 due to the pandemic. Not knowing exactly how opening up the county would evolve, we passed up the month of June this year and opted to schedule our event for later in the summer, on Saturday, August 28.
Making this choice gave all of us garden voyeurs a rare opportunity to view these beautiful private landscapes in the waning days of summer, rather than the burgeoning time of late spring. Several of the gardens had been on the tour before, but not for many years and never before offered for late season viewing. They have evolved and matured, the light is different, the color palette is bolder and richer and it’s a chance to see how these avid gardeners keep their landscapes interesting and fresh in the dog days of August.
This year’s Hidden Gardens Tour showcased five private gardens in Austerlitz, Chatham, Ghent, and Spencertown. From a ca. 1790’s Federal-style home nestled in a bucolic country landscape to a contemporary Asian-inspired abode featuring massive native plantings, there was a broad spectrum of garden designs to inspire visitors. Most of the sites this year also featured vegetable gardens that were abundant with produce. All of the gardens boasted one or more water features: farm ponds, koi ponds, waterfalls, and fountains. For those curious about what can grow in shade, woodland gardens abounded. It was a peak time for dahlias, coneflowers, black-eyed Susans, and many other flowering plants that make the late summer garden an explosion of color and form. One location was a sculpture garden with installations of the work of the artist who lives there and some of his colleagues. In another, formal elements of garden design are juxtaposed with natural features of the landscape and combined brilliantly to great effect. Outdoor gathering options became very important in 2020, due to the pandemic, and all of these properties offered many great ideas for “outdoor rooms”: fire pits, dining spaces, and conversation areas.
Garden Market on the Green
The market took place, as always, on the Green in the center of Spencertown. It featured vendors offering home and garden furnishings, bespoke porcelain gift and dinnerware, natural tick repellent and expert garden advice. Plus shoppers found bargains on choice garden items and accessories at our bigger than ever White Elephant Booth. A percentage of all sales benefited the Academy.
Thanks to everyone who toured, shopped and visited our Gallery, making this year’s Hidden Gardens our biggest ever. It was wonderful to see friends, neighbors and many new faces, your support and enthusiasm are so appreciated!