The Litchfield Garden Club, Inc.
P.O. Box 848, Litchfield, Connecticut 06759-0848
The Litchfield Garden Club is a Member of The Garden Club of America,
The Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut, Inc., and National Garden Clubs, Inc.

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"Our National Parks ~ America's Best Idea"
Garden Club of America Flower Show
presented by the Litchfield Garden Club
Saturday, June 10, 2017
@ Litchfield Community Center

 
~ Litchfield.bz photos












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Eyesore no more!
July 15, 2016
The Litchfield South Street Traffic Island had been in a state of disrepair for some time.

In the Spring of 2014, Victoria Sansing and the LGC Projects Committee moved forward with a civic project to reconstruct the island.

Monies raised through various LGC civic fundraising events were earmarked to cover the cost of the project.

After a lengthy process of gaining approvals from both local and state agencies, construction commenced in Spring 2016.

The project was successfully completed in two weeks. With the requirement that nothing grow more than 2 1/2 ft in height, the sun-loving plantings included stella d'oro daylilies, autumn joy sedum, grasses, compact spreading cotoneaster, dwarf spirea and small mounding spruce.

The island now affords a pleasing four-season view to pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

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Videos by www.Litchfield.bz ~ Friday, June 24, 2011
Litchfield Garden Club ~ Kitchen & Garden Tour

Videos by www.Litchfield.bz ~ Saturday, June 15, 2013
Litchfield Garden Club ~ 100th Anniversary ~ Garden Tour
narrated by Tovah Martin (tovahmartin.com)
 Oliver Wolcott House
The Oliver Wolcott House, built by Oliver Wolcott, Senior, the Colonial High Sheriff of Litchfield, a member of the Continental Congress, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and Governor of Connecticut, in 1753-1754, is the oldest house in the Borough of Litchfield. The Wolcotts entertained many of the leading figures of their day in this house, including General George Washington, Lafayette and Alexander Hamilton.  During the Revolution, the statue of King George III, torn down by a mob from its pedestal in Bowling Green in New York City, was brought by oxcart to the orchard behind the house, where the women and children of Litchfield melted it and molded bullets for the Continental Army.

After Governor Wolcott's death in 1797, the house and property remained in the Wolcott family until 1843, when Huntington and Mary Ann Wolcott sold it to industrialist Henri Migeon of Torrington.  Born in France in 1799, Henri Migeon became a wealthy woolen merchant with a plant in the Wolcottville area of Torrington, inventing a new and cheaper process for refinishing woolens.  In 1853 Migeon moved to Torrington where he built a large home and developed the Migeon Avenue area.  After several owners, the house was brought back into the Wolcott family by Miss Alice Wolcott, a great granddaughter of Oliver Wolcott, in 1883.  Naming it "the Old Homestead," Miss Wolcott did an extensive restoration of the house and filled it with inherited Wolcott family furnishings.  From 1934 till the 1970s, the house was owned by Alice Wolcott Brinley Sherman and her husband Frederick William Sherman.  He died in 1929 at the house and she lived there until the early 1970s.  Both Miss Alice Wolcott and Alice Wolcott Brinley Sherman were members of the Litchfield Garden Club.

The current owners bought the house in 1978 and carried out extensive renovations under the direction of expert restorers.  The house has the original, hand-routed, beaded clapboards on its exterior and oak floors with handmade nails throughout the first floor. The "keeping room" contains a cooking fireplace and beehive ovens.  The delft tiles in the dining room were installed about 1790 and the paneling over the dining room fireplace is original 18th century work.  The rear terrace overlooks extensive gardens.

Lismolin House
In 1919, the Rev. Harlan G. and Lillian Peck Mendenhall purchased the 1773 Marvin Reynolds-Ephraim Kirby House, now 113 South Street.  The Mendenhalls renamed the house "Shadow Lawn," and lived there until 1938, when they sold the house to the Henry Chambers, split off the rear lot and built this house in 1939-1940, naming it "Heydey House."  The house was then owned by summer resident, Mrs. Poole and was sold after her death to Dudley Seymour and Helga J. Ingraham in 1965. The Ingrahams added stone walls and garden beds.  After their deaths, the property passed to their daughter Tish Ingraham Samponaro, who maintained it as a rental property.  After her death, it was sold to Bruce Balding.  The current owners purchased the property in 2007 and renamed it "Lismolin House," for a castle in Tipperary, Ireland. The building, believed to have incorporated a circa 1840 barn structure, was constructed as a gracious Colonial Revival style house, complete with a Palladian window.  The gardens to the north of the house afford wonderful eastern views and contain a former owner's pet cemetery.

The Ozias Lewis House
This house, built in 1806 by Ozias Lewis, is a late example of a traditional center chimney, 5 bay Federal style dwelling.  Lewis, active in local politics and a Justice of the Peace, farmed the land behind the house until his death in 1860.  A guest bedroom and kitchen wing was added in 1820, replacing a woodshed.  The front Ionic entrance portico was originally on the south side of the building.  In 1859 the rear ell was added.  After the death of her husband George D. Wadhams in 1862, Elizabeth R. Wadhams purchased the property.  The Rev. Cornelius Roosevelt Duffie, rector of Trinity Church in New York City, bought the house as a summer home in 1874.  Prior to his death in 1910, he built the adjacent house to the south for his son, Cornelius R. Duffie III.  Both houses were left to his daughter Antoinette Duffie Cahill, who later married South Street neighbor Sutherland Beckwith and died in childbirth in 1929.  Her mother lived in the Ozias Lewis house till 1922, when it was sold to Seth S. and Martha N. Spencer, summer residents from New York.  The next owners were James R. and Miriam S. Manning of New York.  In the 1960s Mr. and Mrs. Jerrems C. Hart purchased the property, which they owned until 1987, when Iola Stetson Haverstick, a New York City resident, bought the house as her summer and weekend home. The present owner designed and installed the new stone walls, terraces and imaginative gardens, including extensive beds of peonies.  The gardens which are maintained by the artist/owner provide extensive views of Chestnut Hill to the east.  Previous owners Martha N. Spencer and Reata K. Kimball Hart were also members of the Litchfield Garden Club.

Ethan Allen House
The Ethan Allen house incorporates a small one-story central pier structure which was the birthplace of Revolutionary war hero Ethan Allen in 1738.  In the 1790s the house was owned by Abner Baldwin [1756-1843], the member of a large and prominent early Litchfield family, who enlarged the house and added a staircase. The home had a series of owners during the nineteenth century. In the 1930's a library wing on the south side was added and in the early 1940s, a servant's wing on the north side including a garage and kitchen were also added. In 1958, Esther Low Little purchased the Ethan Allen House property and made extensive colonial revival alterations to the house.  During the work on the three original fireplaces, the date "1736" was found scratched on a chimney breast, adding to the belief the original Allen home had been incorporated in the 1790s house. The current owners renovated the kitchen adding a breakfast area and garden room in 2007. A landscape design is in process including renovating the parterres off of the terrace, originally designed in the early 1950's, by Esther Little. The gardens offer an extensive eastern view of Chestnut Hill.

Chestnut Hill Gardens
The original Chestnut Hill Garden was designed and planted by the Schoelzel's in 1982 to complement an owner-designed solar house sited on the edge of a nine-acre meadow.  Over the next 30 years, the 80-foot perennial border expanded to 240 feet and included deer-resistant and native plants.  A large vegetable garden, herb gardens, water garden, pinetum, fruit trees and native shrub border were added.

Breeze Hill
Breeze Hill, circa 1800, was built by Mr. and Mrs. Walter D. Munson as their summer home.  Emily Wood Munson was a descendant of Samuel Beach, an early Litchfield settler whose family came to own a large amount of property along Beach Road.  Walter D. Munson was a Civil War Veteran who became an early pioneer of petroleum refining in Cuba, Mexico and Texas, later founding the Munson Steamship Line. The property passed on to their daughter Mabel Emily Munson who married William Hamilton Wood, a professor at Dartmouth College.  Mabel Wood was a member of the Litchfield Garden Club.  In 1951 the house was purchased by Edward L. and Carol S. Mabry as a summer home.  He was the Chairman of the Vick Chemical Company, now a part of Proctor and Gamble.  The Mabrys hired the Olmsted Brothers to landscape the grounds and did a Colonial Revival renovation of the house. The estate includes greenhouses, a pool house, a restored pergola, and utility barns, as well as a meticulously maintained kitchen garden, formal garden, perennial beds and garden statuary. In 2012, the owners of Breeze Hill Farm joined a select group of Garden Club of America homeowners whose garden documentation was accepted into the Smithsonian Institution's Archives of American Gardens. On June 15th, you are invited to pick up your reserved boxed lunch here and enjoy a pastoral picnic lunch in these bucolic meadows and gardens.

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Connecticut Conservation advocate
Martha H. Phillips receives major award
from Garden club of America
Litchfield Garden Club member Martha H. Phillips has received one of the highest honors bestowed annually by the Garden Club of America (GCA), the Margaret Douglas Medal. The award, presented to Phillips at the GCA's annual meeting here this evening, is given for notable service to the cause of conservation education.

 
Martha Phillips ~ photo contributed

In honoring Phillips, GCA hailed her "brilliant and distinguished service" as 10-year editor of the organization's National Affairs and Legislation (NAL) Update and its associated Current Status Chart and for preparing delegates to participate in GCA's annual NAL meeting in Washington, D.C.

Phillips worked on Capitol Hill for many years, including serving as staff director of the Republican House Budget Committee and the deputy director of the Republican House Ways and Means Committee.  "Her extensive knowledge of the U.S. legislative process allows her to clearly, correctly and impartially present issues of relevance to GCA's commitment to restoring, improving and protecting the quality of the environment," said the GCA.  "Further, she effectively connects NAL delegates to the federal legislative process and motivates them to be involved citizens."

The Update alerts GCA clubs and their members to committee hearings, bills actively before the U.S. Congress and administrative rulemaking by agencies requesting comments.  The annual four-day NAL meeting gathers 300 delegates from GCA's 201 clubs to be briefed by members of the Congress and administration on key national legislative and environmental issues and to visit congressional representatives to advocate for GCA's positions.

Phillips has "tirelessly dedicated her professional and volunteer life to preserving the health of our planet with her highly articulate written words and her generous gift of time and energy," said the GCA.  Phillips, who is a member of Litchfield Garden Club, Litchfield, Connecticut, was nominated for the award by Nancy McKlveen of Des Moines Founders Garden Club, Des Moines, Iowa.

Deeming Phillips' passion to protect the natural world as "paramount in her life," the GCA observed that "her ability to communicate this passion and the means to make a difference, is unparalleled."

The Margaret Douglas Medal originally was presented and endowed by Mrs. Robert D. Sterling, Garden Club of Dublin and Monadnock Garden Club (both in New Hampshire), to venerate Mrs. Walter Douglas, an honorary GCA member.  Art deco sculptor Rene P. Chambellan designed the medal in 1952.  Previous winners include author and environmentalist Marjory Stoneman Douglas (1990), documentary filmmaker Bill Kurtis (1997) and entomologist, researcher and educator Douglas W. Tallamy (2013).

The GCA is a nonprofit national organization composed of 201 clubs with some 18,000 members who devote their energy and expertise to projects in their communities and across the United States.  Founded in 1913, the GCA is a leader in horticulture, conservation and civic improvement.  www.gcamerica.org

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Litchfield Garden Club
Tag & Plant Sale
Saturday, May 2, 2015
@ Litchfield Firehouse

 


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THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE LITCHFIELD GARDEN CLUB
"Celebrating the Past; Toasting the Future"
Saturday, June 15, 2013
Litchfield Community Center













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To celebrate their 100th anniversary, the Litchfield Garden Club hosted a Garden Club of America Flower Show - "Celebrating the Past; Toasting the Future" - on June 15, 2013. The event took place at the Litchfield Community Center. In conjunction with the Flower Show, there was a House & Garden Tour of five members' homes and their gardens.



A BRIEF HISTORY
In 1913, the Litchfield Garden Club held it's first meeting at "the Lindens" on North Street, the summer home of the Misses Edith and Alice Kingsbury. The nine women determined that "the object of this club is to promote scientific and artistic methods of gardening." For one hundred years, the club has focused on five key areas: horticulture, floral design, civic beautification and preservation, conservation and education.

Tree Planting
From its founding in 1913, the Litchfield Garden Club has had an important history of documenting, preserving, and replacing trees and shrubs through out the community:
-   In 1914, the club partnered with the Litchfield Civic Association to plant trees and shrubs at the Railroad Station at the foot of West Street.
-   In 1923, they held the first Arbor day tree planting program with local school children
-   From 1945 to 1960, they coordinated Litchfield's effort to treat, preserve, and replace trees being lost to Dutch Elm Disease.
-   In 1956, the LGC established a Civic Fund for the replacement of trees on North and South Streets.
-   From 1970 to 1972, the club undertook the replacement of the trees on North and South Streets first planted by Oliver Wolcott, Jr. in 1788, and provided commemorative plaques.
-   From 1970 to 1972, the club planted trees and shrubs on Route 202  from Harris Plains, past Stop and Shop Shopping Center to West Street..
-   In 1978, the club sponsored an "Action Plan for the Green", planting 10 trees in West Park and 11 trees on the East Green.
-   In 1994, the LGC underwrote a long-term master tree planting plan, "Treescapes", to enhance the greenways entering Litchfield, along which, to date, 185 trees and shrubs have been planted and maintained.
-   In 2003, to commemorate 9/11 and the LGC's 90th year, the club planted four maple trees at Litchfield Community Field.
-   In 2011, the LGC provided new plantings and a shade structure for the Litchfield Community Field playground area.

Civic Beautification
The LGC has proven to be the catalyst for efforts to preserve, protect and enhance public spaces throughout Litchfield.
-   In the 1920's and 1930's, the club waged a successful campaign to eliminate roadside billboards.
-   In 1968, the LGC joined a fight to remove 68 signs within 250 foot radius of Litchfield Center.
-   In 1977, the club led an effort to establish the Litchfield Civic Beautification Commission.
-   From 1981-1993, the LGC underwrote and  implemented an "Action Plan for the Green" replacing trees, burying electric wires, providing six period lamp posts and donating benches and recycling bins.
-   From 2000-2004, the club spearheaded the planning of a new Municipal Parking Lot, donating all of the trees, shrubs, plants and bulbs.

Conservation and Preservation
Conservation and Preservation have been in the forefront of its mission since the LGC's founding.
-   In 1916, the club established a committee on the Preservation of Wild Flowers.
-   From 1922 to 1955, a 150 acre Wild Garden of native trees, shrubs, and wild flowers on land deeded by the White Memorial Foundation was created and maintained by the club.
-   In the 1980's, the LGC convinced the town to establish an Inland Wetlands Commission, joined the Nature Conservancy of CT to create the Bantam River Watershed Project and sponsored Litchfield's first Hazardous Waste Collection Day.
-   In 1998, the LGC created a Butterfly Garden at the White Memorial Foundation, updating and replanting it in 2010 as the Pollinator Garden.

Education
The LGC established education as a key component of its mission at its founding in 1913.
-   Beginning in 1916 and continuing today, the club has donated books and periodicals on horticulture, conservation, floral design and the environment to the Oliver Wolcott Library.
-   In 1917-1919, during WWI, the LGC gave scholarships to the Litchfield County Farm Bureau to send women for training to teach local food-canning classes.
-   From the 1930s through the 50s, the club supplied nature films and books on conservation were supplied to the Litchfield Public Schools and awarded prizes for the best student essays and posters.
-   In the early 1950's, the LGC sent local public school teachers to UCONN Storrs for summer workshops on conservation education.
-   From 1957 to present, in partnership with the White Memorial Foundation, the club has provided all Litchfield public school sixth graders with a course on the environment and conservation including a day at the Nature Center.
-   In the early 2000s, the club began helping the High School Envirothon Team prepare for for state and national competitions, in which the Team has excelled.
-   In the last decade, the club has sponsored symposia and public meetings to educate the community on issues including "Give Them an Inch and They'll Pave a Mile", "The Department of Environmental Protections and Litchfield", and "Supporting the Future of Agriculture in Litchfield: Farming and the Community."
-   The LGC has created educational displays for club flower shows on a variety of environmental issues, horticultural topics and conservation concerns, may of which have been shown at state and national shows, where they have received many awards.

THE HOUSE AND GARDEN TOUR:
The tour will be centered on South Street, Litchfield. In addition to the tour, Litchfield offers other points of interest if time permits including the Litchfield Historical Society and the Oliver Wolcott Library, partners in preservation and education as well as The White Memorial Foundation, a valued partner in horticultural and conservation efforts.

The participating gardens will be:
 Oliver Wolcott House
The Oliver Wolcott House, built by Oliver Wolcott, Senior, the Colonial High Sheriff of Litchfield, a member of the Continental Congress, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and Governor of Connecticut, in 1753-1754, is the oldest house in the Borough of Litchfield. The Wolcotts entertained many of the leading figures of their day in this house, including General George Washington, Lafayette and Alexander Hamilton.  During the Revolution, the statue of King George III, torn down by a mob from its pedestal in Bowling Green in New York City, was brought by oxcart to the orchard behind the house, where the women and children of Litchfield melted it and molded bullets for the Continental Army.

After Governor Wolcott's death in 1797, the house and property remained in the Wolcott family until 1843, when Huntington and Mary Ann Wolcott sold it to industrialist Henri Migeon of Torrington.  Born in France in 1799, Henri Migeon became a wealthy woolen merchant with a plant in the Wolcottville area of Torrington, inventing a new and cheaper process for refinishing woolens.  In 1853 Migeon moved to Torrington where he built a large home and developed the Migeon Avenue area.  After several owners, the house was brought back into the Wolcott family by Miss Alice Wolcott, a great granddaughter of Oliver Wolcott, in 1883.  Naming it "the Old Homestead," Miss Wolcott did an extensive restoration of the house and filled it with inherited Wolcott family furnishings.  From 1934 till the 1970s, the house was owned by Alice Wolcott Brinley Sherman and her husband Frederick William Sherman.  He died in 1929 at the house and she lived there until the early 1970s.  Both Miss Alice Wolcott and Alice Wolcott Brinley Sherman were members of the Litchfield Garden Club.

The current owners bought the house in 1978 and carried out extensive renovations under the direction of expert restorers.  The house has the original, hand-routed, beaded clapboards on its exterior and oak floors with handmade nails throughout the first floor. The "keeping room" contains a cooking fireplace and beehive ovens.  The delft tiles in the dining room were installed about 1790 and the paneling over the dining room fireplace is original 18th century work.  The rear terrace overlooks extensive gardens.

Lismolin House
In 1919, the Rev. Harlan G. and Lillian Peck Mendenhall purchased the 1773 Marvin Reynolds-Ephraim Kirby House, now 113 South Street.  The Mendenhalls renamed the house "Shadow Lawn," and lived there until 1938, when they sold the house to the Henry Chambers, split off the rear lot and built this house in 1939-1940, naming it "Heydey House."  The house was then owned by summer resident, Mrs. Poole and was sold after her death to Dudley Seymour and Helga J. Ingraham in 1965. The Ingrahams added stone walls and garden beds.  After their deaths, the property passed to their daughter Tish Ingraham Samponaro, who maintained it as a rental property.  After her death, it was sold to Bruce Balding.  The current owners purchased the property in 2007 and renamed it "Lismolin House," for a castle in Tipperary, Ireland. The building, believed to have incorporated a circa 1840 barn structure, was constructed as a gracious Colonial Revival style house, complete with a Palladian window.  The gardens to the north of the house afford wonderful eastern views and contain a former owner's pet cemetery.

The Ozias Lewis House
This house, built in 1806 by Ozias Lewis, is a late example of a traditional center chimney, 5 bay Federal style dwelling.  Lewis, active in local politics and a Justice of the Peace, farmed the land behind the house until his death in 1860.  A guest bedroom and kitchen wing was added in 1820, replacing a woodshed.  The front Ionic entrance portico was originally on the south side of the building.  In 1859 the rear ell was added.  After the death of her husband George D. Wadhams in 1862, Elizabeth R. Wadhams purchased the property.  The Rev. Cornelius Roosevelt Duffie, rector of Trinity Church in New York City, bought the house as a summer home in 1874.  Prior to his death in 1910, he built the adjacent house to the south for his son, Cornelius R. Duffie III.  Both houses were left to his daughter Antoinette Duffie Cahill, who later married South Street neighbor Sutherland Beckwith and died in childbirth in 1929.  Her mother lived in the Ozias Lewis house till 1922, when it was sold to Seth S. and Martha N. Spencer, summer residents from New York.  The next owners were James R. and Miriam S. Manning of New York.  In the 1960s Mr. and Mrs. Jerrems C. Hart purchased the property, which they owned until 1987, when Iola Stetson Haverstick, a New York City resident, bought the house as her summer and weekend home. The present owner designed and installed the new stone walls, terraces and imaginative gardens, including extensive beds of peonies.  The gardens which are maintained by the artist/owner provide extensive views of Chestnut Hill to the east.  Previous owners Martha N. Spencer and Reata K. Kimball Hart were also members of the Litchfield Garden Club.

Ethan Allen House
The Ethan Allen house incorporates a small one-story central pier structure which was the birthplace of Revolutionary war hero Ethan Allen in 1738.  In the 1790s the house was owned by Abner Baldwin [1756-1843], the member of a large and prominent early Litchfield family, who enlarged the house and added a staircase. The home had a series of owners during the nineteenth century. In the 1930's a library wing on the south side was added and in the early 1940s, a servant's wing on the north side including a garage and kitchen were also added. In 1958, Esther Low Little purchased the Ethan Allen House property and made extensive colonial revival alterations to the house.  During the work on the three original fireplaces, the date "1736" was found scratched on a chimney breast, adding to the belief the original Allen home had been incorporated in the 1790s house. The current owners renovated the kitchen adding a breakfast area and garden room in 2007. A landscape design is in process including renovating the parterres off of the terrace, originally designed in the early 1950's, by Esther Little. The gardens offer an extensive eastern view of Chestnut Hill.

Chestnut Hill Gardens
The original Chestnut Hill Garden was designed and planted by the Schoelzel's in 1982 to complement an owner-designed solar house sited on the edge of a nine-acre meadow.  Over the next 30 years, the 80-foot perennial border expanded to 240 feet and included deer-resistant and native plants.  A large vegetable garden, herb gardens, water garden, pinetum, fruit trees and native shrub border were added.

Breeze Hill
Breeze Hill, circa 1800, was built by Mr. and Mrs. Walter D. Munson as their summer home.  Emily Wood Munson was a descendant of Samuel Beach, an early Litchfield settler whose family came to own a large amount of property along Beach Road.  Walter D. Munson was a Civil War Veteran who became an early pioneer of petroleum refining in Cuba, Mexico and Texas, later founding the Munson Steamship Line. The property passed on to their daughter Mabel Emily Munson who married William Hamilton Wood, a professor at Dartmouth College.  Mabel Wood was a member of the Litchfield Garden Club.  In 1951 the house was purchased by Edward L. and Carol S. Mabry as a summer home.  He was the Chairman of the Vick Chemical Company, now a part of Proctor and Gamble.  The Mabrys hired the Olmsted Brothers to landscape the grounds and did a Colonial Revival renovation of the house. The estate includes greenhouses, a pool house, a restored pergola, and utility barns, as well as a meticulously maintained kitchen garden, formal garden, perennial beds and garden statuary. In 2012, the owners of Breeze Hill Farm joined a select group of Garden Club of America homeowners whose garden documentation was accepted into the Smithsonian Institution's Archives of American Gardens. On June 15th, you are invited to pick up your reserved boxed lunch here and enjoy a pastoral picnic lunch in these bucolic meadows and gardens.

to learn more about the Litchfield Garden Club.