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 2017 – Coltsfoot Garden

One of the private gardens open this year for Trade Secrets was Coltsfoot Garden in Cornwall, CT.  This is an enchanting cottage garden that along with the colonial home has been in this family for almost 100 years.  Upon arrival you are immediately dawn in by the multi-colored lilac trees surrounding the garden, the crabapple trees and the surrounding landscape.  This is Litchfield county CT at its finest.


The garden while formal in structure is welcoming and plants are encouraged to self sow wherever they can find a spot.

Coltsfoot Garden-6

There is a newly added second vegetable garden placed closer to the house, surrounded by a picket fence, gravel paths and artful colorscaping of vegetables like asparagus, lettuces, peas, beans, tomatoes, peppers and rhubarbs. Plants are staked using branches and twigs in artful and rustic ways.

Coltsfoot Garden-5

There are perennial gardens framing a neighbor’s old barn featuring boxwood, peonies, crabapple trees, dwarf Alberta Spruce, roses, irises, bachelor buttons, spurge,  and daylilies which create a delightfully soft, uncluttered effect.

Coltsfoot Garden-4

Coltsfoot Garden-3

Gravel paths are created in a geometric pattern to facilitate your winding your way throughout with their edges being blurred by lady’s mantle, nepeta (my favorite plant) and others.

Coltsfoot Garden-7

Coltsfoot Garden-8

This is another garden area with an ingenious method of taming climbing vines. This garden features, raspberries, vegetables, peonies for cut flowers.  I suggest if you love to have cut flowers in your home and hate the idea of cutting in your ornamental beds that you plant a separate area for cutting flowers both perennial and annuals for all season flowers.  Don’t forget to use your greens like hostas, astible,  solomon’s seal, grasses and branches etc. to fill in.

Coltsfoot Garden-11

Coltsfoot Garden-12

Coltsfoot Garden-2

Coltsfoot Garden-10

This couple lovingly maintains the property coaxing dahlias, hydrangeas, lilacs and roses to thrive year after year.  The formal yet informal design of the garden allows for times of not too much fuss!

Thank you to the Hubbard’s for opening their garden to us for Trade Secrets Open Garden Tours 2017. Can’t wait for 2018!

I have written many times over the years about the Trade Secrets event which takes place in mid-May each year.  You can read more about this fabulous event in previous blogs.

Trade Secrets

Trade Secrets GardenTours

Trade Secrets Garden Tours part 2





“Bunny Williams’ and John Roselli’s longstanding love affair with their Falls Village home becomes abundantly clear after a stroll through the gardens.  John’s vegetable and cutting garden reflect his skills in the kitchen while Bunny’s eclectic aesthetic is evident in her entertaining spaces – from the greenhouse to the Greek temple-style pool house.  Together, the two have created a well-curated journey from the sunken formal garden to the wildflower-dense woodland, by way of heirloom apple trees and charming heritage-breed chickens.”

Again, I have been fortunate enough to have been to this property at least 4 times over the years for both Trade Secrets events and Garden Conservancy Days. This is a compilation of my journey through their gardens.

Greek temple style Pool House


Pool House



Sunken Garden – her first outdoor project on the property



Conservatory – my favorite room


The Aviary



Cutting and vegetable gardens










Michael Trapp’s Garden is an “Old World-style garden and reflects his renowned aesthetic and eye for detail.  Overlooking the Housatonic River, the intimate property has a distinctive French/Italian flavor with cobbled paths, terraced gardens, raised perennial beds and reflecting pools.”  Cornwall Bridge is a lovely spot to visit and watch the kayak races on the river or just to check out the Covered Bridge and grab some lunch.






















Down to the river

Garden Tours – Part 2 – Trade Secrets 2015

As promised here is another garden from the Trade Secrets Garden Tours a few weeks ago. This property is TWIN MAPLES

“Nestled atop Selleck Hill, Twin Maples seamlessly marries the classical and the natural: Formal gardens, cutting and vegetable gardens, and a greenhouse ring the exquisite Georgian-style house overlooking 40 acres of wildflower meadow.  The meadow, woodland garden, and woodland edges, resplendent with native plants, blur the borders between the formal areas and the surrounding landscape.”

I have been fortunate enough to visit this lovely garden twice.  Here are my memories.




To the Greenhouse


Twin Maples Apple Allee

Moon Gate


Summer blossoms- Phlox and Coneflowers


Hydrangeas abound



What a view!
A long winding road





Trade Secrets 2015 Garden Tours

This year the Trade Secrets Garden tours were amazing private gardens that were so different with each showcasing a unique gardening perspective.

“Rockwood Farm speaks to the landscaper/designer owner’s affection for New England history.



Featuring a historic reproduction of an 1800s-era saltbox, this serviceable, sustainable and comfortable homestead has a relaxed and casual style complete with fruiting trees, a courtyard garden, edible and woodland gardens, a fieldstone terrace and so much more.”

Here is a sample of this gorgeous property that is obviously tended with loving care by its owners.

Pool at Lion Rock








Then it was on to Kent and another beautiful property.  The owners of Kent Greenhouse and Nursery have taken great care in making this property their own.kent

There was more than ample space there for loads of veggies!  There were fruit trees and berry bushes and solar panels and of course a barn with horses!

Barns for Cody and the other horses





The owners had a his and hers garden areas.




And of course what is a garden without gorgeous flowers!


Of course a spot to rest and enjoy all this beauty!

Next week I will feature another garden on the Trade Secrets tour – the Georgian-style Twin Maples which features formal gardens, a woodland garden and wildflower meadows. Stay tuned.  Here is a sneak:

Twin Maples Apple Allee

Then onto Michael Trapp’s property in Cornwall Bridge and Bunny Williams and John Roselli’s Garden.

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