Monday, June 28, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm – Garden Conservancy Open Day in Martha’s Vineyard

The Garden Conservancy will sponsor an Open Day in Martha’s Vineyard on Monday, June 28, from 10 – 4 (one garden is only open until 2 pm – see below). This is a walking or bike tour with little parking available in Edgartown. The best way to reach Edgartown is via Vineyard Transit Authority ( There is bus service from ferry terminals at Oak Bluffs (#13) and Vineyard Haven (#1 or #13) to the Visitor Center on Church Street. There are public restrooms at Visitor Center.

85 South Water Street

The original parts of this house are believed to date from the 1840s. More than fifty years ago a former owner and founder of the Martha’s Vineyard Garden Club set out the sunken geometric garden in the shape of a Union Jack. In the late 1990s, the English garden designer Penelope Hobhouse added some important features to the garden, particularly the enclosure of the sunken flag garden to create an outdoor room. The garden contains some rare and unusual, as well as native, plants. Currently, the owners, who are hands-on gardeners from England, work closely with Jeff Verner of Verner Fine Gardens to implement further design changes.

108 North Water Street – Stretch’s Garden

The garden called “Stretch’s Garden” is comprised of a hillside garden border, flowing down the hillside, with Edgartown Harbor creating quite a picturesque backdrop. The owner writes: “We can enjoy the full-season display from our front porch of dozens of perennial species, including hand-pollinated seedlings of delphinium, phlox varieties, gaura, agastache, and Oriental lilies. Many tried-and-true annuals such as Marguerite daisy, angelonia, cosmos, and cleome help summer-long interest and beauty. I enjoy doing my own flower arrangements, but hate to steal even one bit of color from the garden, so we created the cut flower garden at the back of the house. Now with our newly enclosed glass back porch addition, we love its beauty so much we think we’ll have to add a third garden to cut from!”

Cate & Tom Applegate, 61 South Summer Street (open until 2 pm)

The garden was created in 1992 and includes a border of mature evergreens enhanced by layers of rhododendrons, hydrangeas, arborvitaes, cypress, leucothoe, hollies, and hemlocks with an understory of ferns and ivy. The yard has a delicate band of white impatiens circling it, which serves to complement the cool feeling accentuated by the canopy of stately trees. The atmosphere is serene, calm, and elegant, and is added to by an intimate private patio surrounded by sunny perennial flower beds abundant with blooms and color from May through October. Phlox, Shasta daisy, dahlia, veronica, delphinium, and several varieties of lilies all find their home here. Jeff Verner of Verner Fine Gardens assists with the garden.

Michael & Janice Donaroma, 46 Braley’s Way

This quintessential cottage compound consists of seven gardens each having its own unique character. A rose-covered trellis covers the entire front of the guest cottage, playing off the whimsical island bed. The upper level has a cool meditative garden while the studio bed is filled with hot, happy colors. Inside the pool area is the white garden which bursts into bloom during mid-summer. At the far end of the property is the Mauve Garden which leads into the enclosed cut flower and veggie garden. Enjoy the diversity on this small half-acre of property.

John & Judith Tankard, 16 School Street

This is a new garden planted in 2005 to complement the historic house built around 1730 and fully renovated by the owners, an architect and a garden writer (who has spoken twice to The Garden Club of the Back Bay.) The garden was designed by Nan Blake Sinton and is composed mainly of hardy shrubs and ornamental trees. Pale pink ‘New Dawn’ roses climb on the fence surrounding the garden, and the roof of the garden shed is covered in ‘White Eden’ and ‘Abraham Darby’ roses as well as a Clematis montana rubens. There are two crabapples (Malus ‘Donald Wyman’), a large Viburnum sieboldii, and fragrant lilacs in the main garden. An espalier, created from Viburnum plicatum mariesii, on the wall of the house and a hedge of clipped Philadelphus coronarius in the parking area provide a bit of formality. There are small flower beds with astilbes, lavender, nepeta, salvia, and other perennials. A small brick patio is planted with lace cap hydrangeas and Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Enziandom’. At the front of the house, there are American hollies, English boxwood, Ilex glabra ‘Nigra’ and a large viburnum. One of the outstanding features of the garden is a large, old sycamore maple on the lane at the corner of the property, a survivor from earlier days.

Woodside Garden – Dorothy Chaffee, 78 Planting Field Way

The garden at Planting Field Way is a woodside garden built on the bones from other gardens of my past. When the owner moved from the harsher conditions of her home at Job’s Neck, located on Edgartown Great Pond, “into town,” she brought some of the plants with her. Because of the more sheltered quality of the new garden, she was able to incorporate more delicate plantings such as dahlias, phlox, delphiniums, and campanulas. Her garden consists of a variety of heights, leaf shapes, and textures, and incorporates her favorite colors: peach, salmon, soft yellow, pink, and white with touches of blue. Each year she has added a few perennials that meet her criteria for color and form. The play off the salmons and soft yellows off the blues and whites are echoed inside the house and on the deck. The colors follow one throughout the house and yard. She feels the garden has a wonderful serene and private quality. The garden contains a low stone wall, a statue, and a birdbath as well as a stone pathway—the plantings complement and highlight these features and draw one’s eye through the garden. The rhododendrons form a pretty backdrop to the garden and surrounds. Recently she has expanded the garden so it can be seen from the screened porch as well as the back deck.

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