Trade Secrets 2018- Wethersfield Garden

Thankfully the weather held out for the Sunday Garden tours this year unlike Saturday’s Garden and Rare Plant Sale at Lion Rock Farm. Wethersfield Garden in Amenia, NY is a beautifully manicured ten acre garden surrounding the home of the late Chauncey D. Stillman. The gardens were created in a classical style similar to the Italian villas found in the 17th century.

In every direction the Garden takes full advantage of the views and creates rooms and spaces with statues, steps, water features and plant materials. It was created on a north-south and east-west axis by Landscape Architect Bryan J. Lynch and then Evelyn N. Poehler.


The Garden relies on the architecture of varying shades and textures of plant material that marry themselves into the natural landscape starting immediately upon arrival in the East Garden. Besides the sculpted yews there are Korean dogwoods, azaleas, lilacs, rhododendrons and magnolias. The four corners of this garden feature the most magnificent European Weeping Beech trees trimmed into cylindrical shape. Sorry the Garden geek in me was drooling!


The north wall in the East Garden features the Cupid Fountain surrounded by a fieldstone retaining wall that supports Sedum, Campanula and Ivy.


When you look to the south through the Arborvitae Arch which is flanked by two figurines playing pipes the views of the countryside unfold. These statues are called the “Pan Pipers”. This area features Witch Hazel, Hawthorne, Elderberry and Gray Dogwood.


The reflecting pool has a black interior that allows the surrounding shrubs to reflect onto the water’s surface. The surrounding yews are shaped into globes and cones.


The Inner Garden was originally designed when the house was built.


In the Knot Garden the flower tubs on either sides of the steps supposedly were designed by the architect Stanford White so they plant them with white petunias in his honor.



The Pine Terrace so named for the White Pine in the center of the stone terrace. A goldfish pond with its frogs and Iris and Agapanthas and Clivia that attract hummingbirds.


The Allee is flanked with Cupid urns that encourage “silence” in the garden. This area features a 12′ wide lawn and a bronze statute “Naiad” by a Swedish sculptor Carl Milles.


The Trade Secrets Garden tours are always a wonderful opportunity to tour private gardens that we can get ideas from for our own gardens even if only in our dreams.

A Day in the Country- Trade Secrets

With Trade Secrets being this weekend in CT I thought you might be interested in this blog I wrote several years ago on the Saturday event which is always a widely anticipated event by plant geeks everywhere.  People come from far and wide to attend, booking their hotel rooms a year in advance!  Many of the vendors come every year so although this blog is from several years ago the information is very relevant to this weekends show in Sharon!

Trade Secrets is a two-day event which started 18 years ago in Bunny Williams backyard. This event is the foremost fundraiser for Women’s Support Services which offers crisis intervention, counseling and education, as well as legal, medical, and housing assistance to fulfill its mission of creating a community free of domestic violence.  Women’s Support Services is a nonprofit organization that provides free and confidential aid to victims of domestic violence and abuse. WSS provides a 24 hour hotline, (860) 364.1900 short-term emergency shelter, counseling, legal advocacy, education and emergency support for those in need.

The proceeds from Trade Secrets 2018 will help WSS fund programs that teach children about healthy relationships and conflict resolution and will help fund operation of their 24-hour hotline. If you missed it this year mark your calendar for next year like Martha Stewart.

“Sadly 1 in 4 women experience domestic violence in their lives” (National Violence Against Women Survey, 2000)

The mission of WSS is to create a community free of domestic violence and abuse through intervention, prevention and education.

Trade Secrets is the premiere Rare Plant & Garden Antique Sale of the season on Saturday with Private Garden tours on Sunday! Today I will take you on a tour of the Rare Plant & Garden Antique Sale.

The plant and antique sale is held yearly at Lion Rock Farm in Sharon, CT.  This is a stunning property overlooking Amenia, NY located in one of the most scenic areas in northwest CT. There were antiques of every variety, rare plants that you can only find here as well as perennials, vegetables and annuals for sale.  There are trees and shrubs, containers and planters, statuary and towers, peonies, roses, and lavender.  You name it and I am sure you can find it here.

Lion Rock Farm
Plant towers

Plants in every shape and color to buy


Lion Rock Farm
Pool at Lion Rock
Lion Rock
Pots from Campo de’ Fiori, Sheffield, MA
Topiaries in all shapes and sizes


Ready for take off


Every garden needs one of these









Need backyard furniture?



Splish, splash!


I want this gate!





Bye till next year!!








Trade Secrets 2016


Another amazing Trade Secrets event!  This year’s Trade Secrets was held on May 14th and 15th. After 16 years it has grown exponentially to become the garden event of the season! Created by Bunny Williams as a major fundraiser for Women’s Support Services which offers crisis intervention, counseling and education as well as other assistance to foster a community free of domestic violence this agency provides a broad range of services beyond just emergency services.  Their goal is create a community free of domestic violence and abuse through intervention, prevention and education.

Trade Secrets is an annual rare plant and garden antiques sale held on Saturday with tours of various private gardens on Sunday.  This year’s garden tours were sold out!  Luckily I always get my tickets well in advance. The support from the community with people traveling great distances to attend confirms that when we come together to fight a cause we have strength in numbers.

This year on Saturday I was so busy buying that I didn’t even get a chance to take pictures.  I actually had to make a trip home to unload a very packed car and go back to get the rest of my purchases.  Might I add that I live about an hour away!

Antiques galore!
Support towers and Peony rings from Old Farm Nursery – needless to say my garden is filled with these


The vendors on Saturday are diverse and very knowledgeable in their respective fields, be it antiques, orchids or trees. The handcrafted metalwork to support your clematis, peonies and perennials is truly one of my favorites.  This year I was on a mission since I have a new garden.  I went early and had a plan.  I zipped around like a “crazy lady” as my husband would say before the things I wanted were gone.  I got Japanese Maple trees, Lilacs, shrubs, perennials, peony rings, antique gates, pottery and hose guards.   We should have bought more of those!  Like I said 2 SUV’s full and I still had to make a third trip early Sunday morning to Old Farm Nursery to pick up the rest of my loot that wouldn’t fit in the previous 2 trips!

Did I mention I love this event!  Of course, my favorite day is always Sunday.  I love exploring new gardens that you only get into by invitation.  This year I went to both the garden of Judy and Patrick Murphy of Old Farm Nursery in Lakeville, CT a wonderful New England Farm showcasing a fruit tree allee, secret garden and swimming pool, a river garden and breathtaking views. Next stop for us was the historic Weatherstone estate.  This is the CT home of Carolyne Roehm.  Weatherstone is a vast property with horse barns, boxwood topiaries, a pool, tennis courts, a fruit orchard and an unbelievable peony border that surrounds a cutting garden and potager. I have been many times to the spectacular property of Bunny Williams and John Roselli and also to Michael Trapp’s in West Cornwall so we skipped those this time. Words are not necessary to describe any of these properties but WOW sums it up nicely!

Come tour with me these lovely gardens!  thank you to both the Murphy’s and Carolyne Roehm for opening your homes!




Old Farm- wouldn’t you love to have this much room for veggies!


It is hard to describe Weatherstone. It didn’t disappoint!  Carolyne is a meticulous designer and plans every detail of her gardens.

Planting plans
View back from the horse barns


A guest house
Wouldn’t you just love to sit here!
Side gardens with tulips and roses
Back patio with Hydrangea standards
Blue and white her favorite!

And lastly, no tour of this property would be complete without at least a few pictures of flowers since Carolyne is known for those gorgeous bouquets!


White tulips

Bye till next year! Save the dates- May 20 & 21, 2017.  A big thank you also to all the volunteers who make this event possible and to Lion Rock Farm for opening their property to all of us on Saturday.

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