Saturday, July 8, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm – The Garden Conservancy’s Martha’s Vineyard Open Day

Enjoy a full day of garden tours and activities on Martha’s Vineyard on Saturday, July 8, sponsored by The Garden Conservancy. Admission to each garden is $7 for Garden Conservancy members and advance purchase ticket holders.  Visit to register.

25 Osprey Lane in Chilmark: Nature sets the theme for this rolling oceanside garden. A natural meadow extends from the house to the water’s edge and subtle topography creates foreground views that compete for attention. Occasional glimpses of meandering inlets complete a compelling image of land meeting water. The garden, made up of layered masses of perennials, occupies the space immediately around the house and seems to flow naturally into the meadow. The plant palette was carefully selected for seaside conditions: plants are resistant to salt spray and heavy ocean winds. A mown grass path, invisible when viewed from the house, separates the perennial garden from the meadow, ensuring the meadow will not invade the garden and vice versa. Strategically placed boulders in the foreground tie the space visually to the ocean’s rocky shoreline. The garden is designed to gently transition through a series of views that progress with increasing simplicity: from the intricate perennial garden to the natural seaside meadow to the beach and ocean in the distance. Garden designed by Oehme van Sweden Landscape Architecture Firm.

Jethro Athearn Homestead Garden (directions will be provided at additional gardens open on this date, or by calling 1-888-842-2442 weekedays 9 – 5): This garden features 1,000 square feet of terraced herbaceous borders in an agricultural setting. Ben and Susanne Clark designed and created their property beginning in 1992 on a wooded hillside overlooking a working farm. Ben, whose profession was architectural restoration and preservation, moved the circa 1730 house from another part of the island. Susanne designed the garden, which takes its inspiration from one designed by the English garden designer, Gertrude Jekyll in the 1920s. Highlights include the warm and cool borders, stone terraces, and a garden house. The plantings continue to evolve as Susanne moves, divides, and edits the plants each year. Please note that at 2:00 pm there will be a Digging Deeper:Inspired by Gertrude Jekyll talk at this garden. Susanne Clark, owner of the Jethro Athearn Homestead Garden, will share her twenty-plus years’ experience of creating a garden inspired by Gertrude Jekyll. She will cover the original plans for the herbaceous borders, design considerations in creating the overall setting for the beds, adapting to the climate, and extending the season of interest. This is an all-absorbing passion for Susanne, and she will talk about the unusual process she uses to continually refine the garden. A resource list will be provided, including favorite nurseries to order from, most used reference books, and frequently accessed websites, as well as a list of the plants (nearly 200 cultivars) now in the garden, indicating some of the plants that contribute the most to the garden’s long season of appeal. Part of the time will be spent in the garden and part of the time in her historic 1730 house. The Digging Deeper event is $30 for members of the Garden Conservancy, $35 for nonmembers, which includes admission to this garden.

85 South Water Street in Edgartown: 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 Marthas 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 Leandro da Silva to implement further design changes.

G.G. Ma’s Garden in Edgartown: G.G. Ma’s garden has been under the diligent gardening hands of Hope Whipple since the early 1950s, when she purchased the house at 114 North Water Street. Over the years, this garden has been a place of study and experimentation, with many unique varieties of trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals. Ms. Whipple is an incredible plantswoman, traveling the world, including Europe, Africa, to build on her knowledge of plants. G.G. Ma’s gardening is a unique blend of cutting, woodland, and rose gardens, with the unique challenge of Martha’s Vineyard weather conditions – salt spray, high winds, humid summers. Ms. Whipple and her gardener, Sarah Monast, diligently tend to the garden together, with observational walks of the property several times a week.

Helman Garden in Edgartown (pictured): This walled garden was designed to be protected from the elements and not to compete with the natural beauty of the property. I wanted a private garden with formal bones. We designed square and rectangle beds to use as I wished. Some are just for flowers, some for herbs, some for vegetables, and some are mixed. It is a very personal place that ebbs and flows each year. There are four stone semi-circles that we call “ectetras” [sic]. The garden was designed by Daisy Helman and Diane McGuire. (Again, directions will be provided on day of tour at other gardens, or by calling the number above.) Also at the Helman Garden, at 9:30 am, Garden Collage girls will be making flower crowns with children in our new cutting garden. We will have fun lemonades made with herbs and flowers from the garden and recipes cards to take home along with their crowns. This program will be sponsored and staffed by Garden Collage, a new lifestyle magazine, founded by Daisy Helman, that celebrates a modern approach to nature. Our stories cover the global intersection of contemporary life and the natural world. Gardens, beauty, politics, farm-to-table, apothecary, culture, and design. Adults must stay with the children in their care at all times.