Wolcott Historical Society News - August 2016
By Florence Goodman
Saturday, July 9th was a glorious day for a walk through the gardens featured in the Wolcott Historical Society's annual Garden Tour. The day may have been cloudy, but visitors saw brilliance in these hidden treasures situated around town. The common thread woven in all six of them was creativity, beauty and extraordinary work. This year's tour was in memory of Marie Trerice. Marie was an avid gardener at home and around the Society's schoolhouse museum.
One of the gardens located in the northern section of town is the home of Kevin Damboise. For over thirty years Kevin and his parents have been developing a spring fed backyard into a meandering garden paradise. Kevin has a knack for visualizing characters in plant materials. Upon entering the yard you are in awe by the expanse of the gardens and the creativity that abounds them. Visitors were able to view a ballerina, golfer and sailboat topiary as well as several water features. The far back section of the yard is designed to resemble a small Native American village, which includes a teepee with Indian statues and a small outbuilding that displays many interesting artifacts. The use of tropical and local plant materials as well as Kevin's love of nature helps to create the beauty of these gardens.
Another garden was at the home of Erin and Mike Stolfi. Erin has been designing and developing her gardens over twelve years. They have evolved into a magnificent showplace featuring the use of large and small evergreens intertwined around beautiful perennials. The front yard includes a large grassy area bordered by a long, steep driveway, which leads you into lush gardens at the top. They include an abundance of boxwood, astilbe, daisies, iris, hydrangea and evergreens in a way that allows privacy from the road, but a pleasing view from above. Vast amounts of ledge did not deter Erin's design plans, but allowed her another venue in which to work. The swimming pool, stone fireplace and walls blend beautifully into this garden area. This well-groomed garden paradise is pleasing to the eyes and soothing to the soul.
At the gardens of Cheryl Gordon visitors were able to view her unique and creative ideas as well as wonderful plant material. One front yard garden has welcoming hands inviting you into a yard alive with hosta, ornamental grasses and trees, hydrangea, day lilies and phlox. The ornamental grasses and hosta create shades of green throughout the property. A large shade area in the back of the house blends well into the natural landscape. When you enter these gardens, you are drawn through several gravel paths into a maze of gardens designed around various animal groupings. There are alligators, flamingos, and ducks, as well as, the beach area. You can walk through several arbors that are covered with beautiful flowering clematis and trumpet vines. Walking through Cheryl's gardens is like reading a storybook; each page places you in a different adventure to enjoy.
Another garden on the tour was located at the historic home of Flo and Terry Goodman. This 1776 cape is the birthplace of Seth Thomas. As you drive down this quaint dead end road, you are greeted by old stonewalls bordering the front yard gardens. Wild day lilies are abundant in these gardens, as well as coneflowers, hydrangea, queen Ann's lace and phlox. The back yard includes a variety of sun and shade gardens of ornamental grasses, hosta, day lilies, dahlias, and Bee Baum and some vegetables too. The gardens created throughout the property were designed to create a feeling of endless country gardens with continuous blooms throughout summer.
A new garden to this year's tour was located at the home of Tracey and Frank Schippani. These gardens contain two water features, topiaries, a variety of clematis vines and many interesting perennials throughout. Angels and small shrubs surround the waterfall in the front yard garden. It includes several large rhubarb leaves molded out of cement and an evergreen topiary that add to the beauty to it. A tall picket fence borders the north side of the property that is lined with honeysuckle vine, yarrow, asters, and much more. This border guides you into a backyard that is meticulously divided into gardens of day lilies, peonies, and large hydrangea. The backyard garden water feature is next to the house in a garden that includes small ornamental grasses, spiderwort, hosta and coral-bells. You can't walk by the front gardens on the south side of the property without noticing the magnificent clematis vines and lilies. So much beauty surrounds this yard; it was such a pleasure to view.
The home of Paula and Bill Ronalter is just a short drive from the Schippani's property. These gardens are also new to the tour and were quite interesting to view because of Paula's creative ideas and unique plant materials. Her use of various antiques, beautiful containers and tropical plants add to her garden design. Although this property borders a busy road, tall shrubs provide a wonderful barrier from the noise and allow you to enjoy these hidden garden treasures. The exterior of an old garage on the property has been dressed up and serves as part of several garden rooms. One wall contains an old window, a shutter and several grapevine wreathes that draw you into a rock-lined container garden. Another wall had various types and sizes of wheels and several antique containers filled with beautiful annual and tropical plants. There are so many wonderful gardens tucked into this property that you must walk though slowing to appreciate it. They were truly a joy to view!!
All of these gardens were delightful to visit and a true labor of LOVE. The Wolcott Historical Society cannot thank the gardeners enough for allowing us to view them. The money raised from this event is used for our scholarship fund.
Ballerina topiary found in the gardens of Kevin Damboise.
A backyard view of Kevin Damboise's gardens.
Erin and Mike Stolfi's gardens of boxwood and various evergreens.
The welcoming hands found in the front yard gardens of Cheryl Gordon's home.
Tracey and Frank Schippani's beautiful evergreen topiary and large rhubarb leaf molded from cement.
A lovely garden room found at Paula and Bill Ronalter's home
The old hand pump surrounded by wild day lilies found at the home of Flo and Terry Goodman.
Large day lily found in the Goodman's gardens.
Flamingos and palm tree found at Cheryl Gordon's home..
Backyard garden at the home of Erin and Mike Stolfi.
Sleeping sentry under a weeping pine.
A front yard water feature at the home of Tracey and Frank Schippani.
To view past installments of the Wolcott Historical Society News, click here.