It's become an annual fete - and one every plant and garden lover should attend, for thirteen years now, the private home and farm of Elaine LaRoache and her Lion Rock Farm in Sharon, CT opens it's gates offering many of us so privileged to attend, access to simple the best in rare and unusual plant, garden sculpture and pottery, and well, imagine jumping into the photo of one of the finest British gardening magazines ala Alice in Wonderland, and you get the picture. Trade Secrets is just that sort of experience. No kidding. It feels edited, fancy, down-to-earth, and authentic, and the plant material is choice. I should add, I expected everything to be out of my price range, but I barely spent more than $100 for each tree and shrub ( many under $50) but the selection was impeccable.
If you are a stylish gardener or even a plant collector living in the New York/New England area, then the posh garden sale/event called TRADE SECRETS, should come as no surprise, most likely you already know of this even, and have made the trek to the small, idyllic Connecticut town of Sharon, CT. What started thirteen years ago by interior designer Bunny Williams, of Bunny Williams Inc ( one of the world's largest and most prestigious commercial design firms), when she started what then seemed to be simply a small fundraiser - a simple plant sale to help raise money for Women's Support Services (WSS provides services to persons in the north west corner of Connecticut who have experienced domestic violence of abuse). Today, the event has grown into something more like the sales tents at Chelsea crossed with Brimfield Antiques Fair ( on one of those really good days!). Now, throw in rare plants, and you can begin to get an idea of what Trade Secrets is like.
Here are just a few of the many things that I saw.
|First time exhibitor, our friends from Kennebunk, Maine, Thanks to the always inspiring and talented Todd Carr from Snug Harbor Farm.|
|Hand made garden tools, books, as well as plants were for sale.|
|I was so happy to be able to meet Guy Wolff today. We've chatted on line, and we even tried to meet up a few times but things just got in the way. Of course this is his territory - his studio is nearby. and we buy our clay just up the road at the same place, Sheffield Pottery. So really, there is no excuse. I really need to go spend some time in his studio.|
|Guy's always so warm and nice, and approachable. People just smile when he chats with them.|
|I could have spent a gillion dollars....but my lottery ticket won't be available until tonight, when I will the big one.....but I still left with a huge Guy Wolff Rhubard forcer! Joy. I have always wanted one. Well, ten, but I can start with one.|
|I fell in love with this fox, but it was out of my price range.|
|I also had to leave with this fabulous bird house from Snug Harbor Nursery. It was so well made.|
|Yes, there were plants too. Oh, the plants. Nothing common, which made for some challenging budgeting. I did leave with the golden English Oak and a few amazing plants from every one's fav nursery, Broken Arrow Nursery in CT.|
Thank God I paid the extra fee for early admission.
|I was delighted to be introduced to these beautiful copper plate illustrations by botanical illustrator Bobbi Angell, who just finished illustrating the latest ( and, sadly, last) book by Joe Eck and the late Wayne Winterrowd entitled TO EAT - A COUNTRY LIFE, which will be published on June 11, 2013. Bobbi's illustrations are remarkable, not just because of her style and talent, but becauseshe too is a gardener, if not a horticulturist so there are illustrations of horticulturally interesting plants.|
|The rural farm, where the even is held in Litchfield County, CT, near the Massachusetts and New York border.|