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Visnapuu Design Blog

Thoughts & Musings by Sandra Visnapuu

     Lets just talk Gardens for the Moment

Japanese Peony - 'Duchess of Kent'

Japanese Peony - 'Duchess of Kent'

Connecticut is at its finest hour in the summer, and there can be no better month than June. You can count on the fail proof Peony to grace your gardens and flaunt themselves on your table - it's also a teaser though for what’s ahead.

 A good way to enjoy it all is to investigate the many garden tours available. Some are open to their members only, while others are open for charity and for the masses to enjoy. You will meet stalwart gardeners, some professionals and some just out to enjoy the beauty around them.

A garden design I have been involved with for a long period is going to be on view this June for the Washington Garden Club (Connecticut) members and guests. It will also be open between September 11th-14th for The Garden Conservancy, where tickets can be obtained online or at the door. A bucolic drive into Litchfield County to view the property followed by a book lunch at the Mayflower Inn (Relais and Chateaux) will not disappoint.

Urn planted with shade loving Wood Sorrel and clematis 'Betty'. 

Urn planted with shade loving Wood Sorrel and clematis 'Betty'. 


The ‘Sumacs’, like many neighboring homes in the area were gifted names and given to historical interest by its creator and architect Erich Rossiter. The natural topography of the property and a couple of magnificent ancient trees set the stage, bringing elegance and stature. The garden, early in its development has no “preciousness’ but it does have an abundance of atmosphere driven by its sweeping lawns, encouraging meandering and it’s crisscrossing of the gardens.

Embracing the landscape the well thought out perennial beds are sheltered from the North winds coming across the ‘Green’ by a serpentine wall built for its pool enclosure. Woodland acreage, once over-looked, is elevated to another level - some immediate in appearance others somewhat primal in surprise. 

The tradition of opening your garden is long; one I have traveled throughout our country and abroad to enjoy. The Garden Education Center of Greenwich hosts an annual tour, the ’Grandiflora’. A variety of house styles and gardens were assembled as usual - some grand, and some exceptional for their locale or particular passion.

I joined the annual tour on Sunday, June 4th- the property hidden behind a thick screen of evergreens on 2 ½ acres was an early 20th century arts and craft shingle style home. It reminded me what I have always expected but had almost forgotten. The present owners have created a garden that “preserves what exists, follows the flow of the land, and appeals to and serves all ages”.

The front door was wide-open, and freshly baked croissants were offered straight through in the dining room. You were encouraged to leisurely enjoy your morning breakfast treat through to the living rooms terrace to view the garden below with its owners. Our gracious hosts, like most gardeners are the most generous and optimistic of people.

“Lest we should forget” - this is what should be the expected.