Friday, May 16, 2008

Various Garden Tours and Fun stuff

Blithewold’s Intimate Garden Tour Series:

In cooperation with local growers, Blithewold invites you beyond the garden gate to tour some charming local properties. As part of a small and informal group, discover each garden’s story and distinct collection of plants. See the landscape through the eyes of the owner or a garden professional and come away with new ideas and a fresh perspective. Each garden tour is unique, but all afford the opportunity to explore and ask questions. Light refreshments will be available at each tour. In the case of heavy rain, participants will be notified of cancellations by phone. If you are not contacted a few hours before the program start, the program will run as scheduled.

Directions to the site will be mailed a few weeks prior to the tour. Blithewold will try to coordinate carpooling when possible. When registering, please indicate your interest in carpooling and if you are willing to drive.

Pre-registration is required and registration limited; $18 Members, $23 Non-members. Please register online ( or call 401-253-2707 Ext. 21.

An Intimate Tour: “The Garden” Experiment of Little Compton

Thursday, May 29 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

This residential garden featuring a rare and diverse collection of plants is a highly experimental and long-term project that tests the limits of what can be grown in coastal Rhode Island. Known only as “The Garden,” work on this site began in the 1970’s with the removal of a wild tangle of invasives. Since that time, the design of The Garden has grown organically as a group of dedicated gardeners have added plants from around the world. Garden hosts Julie Morris (Director of Horticulture at Blithewold) and Gary Koller (Landscape Designer and Horticulturist) will provide insight into the plants and features of The Garden. You will visit the garden’s series of outdoor rooms, each protected by stone and hedge walls that create a slightly different micro-climate for the plants within. Visitors will delight in the several hundred plants that grow on site including semi-hardy rhododendrons, southern plants such as palmettos, Himalayan specimens and those propagated by a local grower.

An Intimate Tour: Singing Stones Nursery

Saturday, June 7 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Treat yourself to a unique excursion to Singing Stones, a home-based nursery located in Saunderstown, RI that specializes in herbaceous perennials. This open house will give visitors the rich experience of touring exquisite display gardens, a 30-foot solar-powered cedar greenhouse, a fine nursery collection, a chicken coop and aviary, and a kitchen/cutting garden. Proprietor Lisa Gibson McMahon will give visitors an all-inclusive tour at 11:00 a.m., discussing her unique plant palette, the site’s decorative water features, and how her greenhouse captures heat in the winter and cools in the summer. Singing Stones Nursery is usually open by appointment only, so seize this opportunity to explore the picturesque grounds, linger with a picnic lunch, and purchase some exciting new plants (10% of sales will be generously donated to Blithewold). Highlights of your visit will include a jaunty dooryard garden and 1916 Shingle Style cottage, gardens of mixed plantings for both sun and shade flanked by a bluestone clad reflecting pool, fountains, and a dry river creek garden. Sharing a wealth of horticultural and ecological knowledge, Lisa will be on hand to answer all your questions and show you all that Singing Stones has to offer.

An Intimate Tour: Integrating the Past and Present along the Westport River
Saturday, June 27 5: 00 – 7:00 p.m.

Beginning in 2000, and over a three year period, landscape architect Douglas Reed and William Makris acquired property along the east branch of the Westport River, some 42 acres containing meadow, lowland woods and wetlands, to develop a sanctuary for home life. This process gave rise to discoveries about the site’s destructive history, lessons of careful landscape editing, and the challenges of seamlessly integrating the organic landscape with the built environment. Doug will discuss his battle with rampant invasive plants, the collaboration between designers and architects, and to explain how a landscape once used as a sand and gravel pit was transformed into a place of solace and beauty. Seize this rare opportunity to hear this site’s complex story, experience stunning residential architecture, and ramble through a landscape of stone walls, hedgerows, boulder-strewn woods, and sweeping vistas of river and sky.

Historic Wickford Presents Wickford in Bloom: A Walking Garden Tour of Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Village Homes
Saturday, July 19 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Tickets: $15

Themes of the gardens vary…from a cottage-inspired garden to a formal English Garden, from small hidden gardens, to a richly landscaped garden with lush potted plants. The 2008 garden tour will feature 15 gardens on the properties of 18th and 19th Century homes and buildings…some on the picturesque harbor and others on the tree-lined village streets. Advance tickets may be purchased at The Book Garden located at 99 Brown Street in Wickford. Tickets may also be purchased the day of the tour at Updike Park in the center of the village. Proceeds from the tour will support the Landscaping of Wickford Traffic Islands.

Newport Restoration Foundation Workshops
Gallery Night at Rough Point
Second Thursday of every month, April – October 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Tickets $10

Interested in just seeing the 2008 special exhibit Zoo in the House: Animals in the Doris Duke Art Collection? Enjoy an opportunity to tour the exhibition at your own pace. Study beautiful objects such as a Tang dynasty earthenware horse and camel, a bronze lion by Barye, a painting by Julien Dupre, and several Audubon prints. No house tours are available on gallery night. Read more about the exhibit at

Location: Rough Point, 680 Bellevue Avenue, Newport, Rhode Island
Tickets sold at the door; no reservations needed.Questions? Call 401-849-7300.

Rhode Island Rose Society's 10th Annual Rose Show
Saturday, June 21 1:00 – 3:30 p.m.

The theme this year is "A Symphony of Roses." As the theme suggests, different roses from Old Garden Roses to the Modern Roses to the Knocks Outs to Easy Elegance roses will be brought together like an orchestra and blended in harmony to produce beautiful visual music. Rose Show 2008 will feature “A Symphony of Roses” specific Challenge Class for all types of roses named for a song, singer, or any musical term. The Rose Show provides an opportunity to observe the progression in rose breeding advances in form, fragrance, and disease resistance. To introduce young people to the joy of growing roses, the show will highlight a new “Children’s Challenge Class” featuring roses grown by anyone 15 years old or younger. The show also includes two talks that are open to the public. At 1:30 p.m., Mike Chute, Master Rosarian, will present “Rose Growing Basics.”
In addition to free admission and free parking, exhibiting is also free. Anyone with roses grown in their own garden may exhibit in the show. Members of the Rhode Island Rose Society will assist new exhibitors in getting their roses to the show table. Exhibitors should arrive by 7:00 a.m. and plan to have their roses on the table by 9:45 a.m. Visitors may join a guided tour of the show tables to learn the fine points of rose judging and see why one specimen wins a blue ribbon, while others win red, green, or white ribbons at 2:00 p.m.

Location: Cold Spring Community Center, located at 30 Beach Street, Wickford, Rhode Island...right on the water. Admission is free, and there is plenty of free parking.

Succulent Wreath Workshop

Saturday, July 26 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Fee: $45 Members, $55 Non-members

Make your own living wreath! Come for an informative and fun succulent wreath-making workshop in Blithewold’s air conditioned Carriage House. Blithewold’s Director of Horticulture, Julie Morris, will lead you through all the steps needed to create a lovely living wreath you can enjoy year-round in a sunny location. This workshop is designed for beginners. All materials provided. Space is limited.Location: The Carriage House

Garden Soirées: Wine & Music at Blithewold

Wednesdays, June – September 5:00 p.m.
DuskSingle soirée: $25 per person/$35 per couple. Package of four soirées: $60 per person/$100 per couple. Blithewold Members Package of Four: $50 per individual / $80 per couple.

Upon arrival, please check in at the Visitor's Center. Enjoy wine, music, and flowers at Blithewold. As the boats race by savor warm afternoon breezes and leisurely explore each garden at its peak. Take a sojourn from the mundane and indulge yourself; each soirée showcases wines from a different geographic region, music by local musicians, local food and spectacular scenery. Enjoy the company of old friends and new, chat with staff horticulturists, stroll the grounds, and bring a picnic dinner to celebrate the season with us in high style. Rock Garden Soirée Wednesday, June 18 Spanish Wine; Marjorie Jeffries on flute. The Rock Garden’s delightful sweeps of color are intense but fleeting. Enjoy this hidden gem in all its glory in a charming setting by the bay. North Garden Soirée IWednesday, July 16 Portuguese wine; Jeffery Thomas on keyboard and vocals. Elegant, sophisticated, and bold, the North Garden will transport you to another place and time, one that encourages a change of pace, quiet appreciation, and opportunities for reflection. North Garden Soirée IIWednesday, August 20 New Zealand wine; Folk and Celtic music by Barnacle. Display Garden Soirée Wednesday, September 10Oregon Wine; Mark and Beverly Davis Guitar Duo. The Display Garden is contagious with energy and new ideas; a flurry of discovery and wonderment accompany its peak explosion of color, texture, and scent. In the event of rain, the soiree will be held indoors and you will be contacted by phone. Please bring picnic blankets or chairs. Soirées sell out quickly: register in advance for an individual soirée or all four. Price includes 2 glasses of wine per person.

Bamboo Trellis Workshop

Saturday, May 17 10:00 – 12:00 a.m.
Fee: $20 Members, $25 Non-members

With massive canes that sway in the wind, Blithewold’s spectacular Bamboo Grove (Phyllostachys aureosulcata) has long fascinated visitors. But beyond its ornamental and aesthetic value, bamboo is a highly functional, strong and environmentally sustainable building material. With years of experience harvesting and constructing unique bamboo vine supports, trellises, and pergolas for the gardens, Blithewold Grounds Manager, Fred Perry, will give a brief history of bamboo, discuss its creative applications in the garden, and highlight popular trellis and support designs. After Fred demonstrates stalk preparation, fastening techniques and the trellis building process, you will get the opportunity to build your own trellis out of bamboo harvested from Blithewold. All materials will be provided.Location: The Carriage House

Yoga in the Garden
(All-levels)Thursdays, June 19, 26; July 10, 17, 24, 31 8:00 – 9:00 a.m.
Price for six weeks: $ 60 Members, $68 Non-members

Did you know that the practice of yoga can alleviate stress and hypertension, while increasing your flexibility and sense of well-being? Put an end to your aches and pains and help start a new tradition of wellness at Blithewold! The Bristol Yoga Studio and Blithewold invite you to enjoy the benefits of yoga while soaking in the sights, smells, and sounds of the beautiful early morning landscape. This six week class is appropriate for all experience levels, from newcomers who can’t touch their toes, to those seeking to continue their practice in a new atmosphere. Experienced instructor Christine Reed will introduce Hatha yoga styles using a warm and welcoming approach. Classes will be held in Blithewold’s lovely North Garden overlooking the Great Lawn and Narragansett Bay. Each session will teach yoga postures, alignment, breath-work and build core strength. Finish the class feeling your best and enjoy a light snack and a refreshing walk through the gardens. Check in at the visitor center next to Blithewold’s main parking lot before each class. In the event of rain, yoga class will meet in the wedding tent. Please wear layers of comfortable clothes and bring a large beach towel or blanket. Registering for all six sessions is recommended, though individual drop-in sessions will be available for those who call to confirm one day prior to the class meeting time. Price per drop-in session: $12 Please register by June 13.

I also have some good garden photos I have to get up...maybe this evening or weekend. :)

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