Weston Garden Club tour is a once-in-a-decade celebration

The Weston Garden Club held its once-every-decade garden tour earlier this month, an expansive event during which eleven club members opened their properties up to  the horticultural-loving public. Proceeds from the tour support local conservation and environmental efforts, as well as the Club’s ongoing community educational and beautification projects.

Each of the properties on tour was owned and tended by Weston Garden Club members eager to share what they’ve done with their beautiful outdoor spaces. Some gardens were carefully manicured, others walked more on the wild side, and all were inspirational.

When members aren’t tending and showing off their multi-acre gardens, they’re busy with civic projects. Club members design and maintain the plantings in the historic horse watering trough at the center of town; maintain a section of conservation land; make wreaths and swags for Town buildings every December; plant 250 daffodils by the Town Green steps each fall; provide flowers for the Weston Public Library on a weekly basis; and water, weed, and maintain the Native Plant Garden at Town Hall.

Last time the Weston Garden Club had its tour, back in the aughts, I was up to my eyeballs in my kids’ end-of-year activities and missed the event. Next time the tour comes around in the 2030s, who can say where I’ll be? So when I had the opportunity to attend this tour, I grabbed it. Thanks for the kind invite, Weston gardeners. I enjoyed every minute of the perfect early June weather you thoughtfully arranged for the big day.

All hail the chief

Weston Garden Club president Molly Varnau’s garden included mixed beds of foxglove, allium, salvia, and nepeta, intertwined with a succession of colorful annuals and flowering trees and shrubs. Yew hedges, a birch grove, white pines, and a grand red oak provide year-round structure. Molly and her husband plant, prune , and mow the property themselves. A couple of years ago they created composting bays behind their shed that turn their lawn clippings and autumn’s fallen oak leaves into soil-enriching mulch.

Weston Garden Club tour
Weston Garden Club president Molly Varnau

 

Weston Garden Club tour

 

Weston Garden Club tour

 

Weston Garden Club tour
Frenchglen reblooming bearded irises.


100+ year old Colonial house, 3.5 acres

When the homeowners bought the property twelve years ago, they found one acre of beautiful plantings and specimen trees, and 2.5 acres of poison ivy and thorny raspberries running wild. What a difference 12 years makes. The Weston Garden Club member and a friend do all the gardening with the help of an arborist. The property features huge rock outcrops, rock walls, a varied terrain, a fern walk through the woods, a lovely gazebo, a spiral garden, an old storage building, stone pathways and stairs, and masses of plantings.

Weston Garden Club tour, house #7

Weston Garden Club tour, house #7

 

Weston Garden Club tour, house #7


This garden has a wild side

Established plantings and perennial gardens surround this gardener’s property including tree peonies, wisteria, azaleas, and flowering bulbs. The front is a beautiful and manicured space. Out back visitors can walk on the wild side as they are treated to a panoramic view of a wildlife sanctuary, which includes a tranquil pond. From their elevated deck vantage point, the homeowners often spot egrets, hawks, geese, and swans.

 

Weston Garden Tour, house #5
Carefully clipped vine on the side of the house gives way to….

 

Weston Garden Tour, house #5
…nature in all its splendor.

 


Working with the terrain

There are a couple of ways to deal with an uneven lot when building a home. One way is to chop down all the trees, bring in the bulldozer, and level every “inconvenient” rise and hillock from one edge of the property to the next. Or you could work with the land, as one member did, and create a garden in harmony with the natural slopes of the terrain. Embracing the shade of the mature trees led the gardener to explore and plant a beautiful world of trilliums, woodland peonies, primroses, jack-in-the-pulpits, and Welsh poppies. A vegetable garden has been planted to take advantage of the sunniest spot on the property, a place where tomatoes, kale, lettuce, and more thrive.

Weston Garden Club, #10

Weston Garden Club, #10
Vegetables are grown in raised garden beds.

 

Weston Garden Club, #10
The gardener starts many of the greens indoors from seed.

How to join in the fun

Not that I’m trying to siphon members away from Wellesley’s four garden clubs (I’m a proud sustaining member of the Wellesley Gardeners’ Guild, after all), but you don’t have to be a Weston resident to join the Weston Garden Club. You just have have an interest in gardening, attend meetings, serve on a committee, sign up for watering duty, pay your dues, and agree to a few other things (don’t worry, no hazing is involved).