The Dirt

Free Ticket Giveaway: 2011 Garden Conservancy Open Days

Maywood Estate in Bridgewater, Connecticut, was a popular Open House garden tour destination.
Photo/Illustration: Chris Casey
Maywood Estate in Bridgewater, Connecticut, was a popular Open House garden tour destination.
Photo/Illustration: Chris Casey

This summer, treat yourself to an inspiring garden experience and visit a really spectacular garden near you. Most of us haven’t the means or the expertise to achieve such grandeur, but we can draw inspiration from these extraordinary settings.

Each year since 1995, the Garden Conservancy through its Open Days program, has opened distinguished private gardens to public, self-guided tours. This season, the program continues until early November, and Fine Gardening magazine, as national media sponsor for 2011, is pleased to give away six pairs of tickets, good for one visit to any of the private gardens, which are located all over the United States.

For a chance to win a pair of tickets, select a garden you’d like to visit (see the partial online listing or purchase a complete 2011 Open Days Directory) and post a comment telling us why you’d like to see that particular garden and what you hope to learn. Winners will be selected at random on July 6.

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  1. soilgoil 06/22/2011

    I would love the chance win tickets to visit Little and Lewis' Bainbridge Island, WA garden. However, the info on the partial listing says the Open Garden is June 26, and your drawing isn't until July! Nevertheless, I highly recommend a visit to this incredible garden. I toured their former garden several years ago. Nothing has had as great an influence my garden design! Little and Lewis are gifted planstmen and designers who encouraged me to take my artistic talents out of the studio and into the garden. What a wonderful difference this has made!

  2. Lynne7D 06/22/2011

    The garden I'd like to visit is Carol's Hummingbird Garden in Carbondale, IL. I'm a southern Illinoisan and would love to see what's growing there. I'm always on the lookout for plants that work well in this area.

  3. cecisms 06/23/2011

    I’m writing on behalf of my garden club, the Shoreham Garden Club, which is a member of the Garden Conservancy. We are on the North Shore of Long Island, NY and are keen to learn more about the possibilities and particularities of gardening and gardeners on Long Island's North Fork.
    On July 9th, ten members of our club plus some guests from Cutchogue will be visiting the Cutchogue/Mattituck gardens on the North Fork. It will be an opportunity to introduce some of our Cutchogue friends to Garden Conservancy Open Days. One guest is a Cornell U Master Gardener involved in community service in Cutchogue.
    We are very much looking forward to viewing the three gardens scheduled that day, but especially interested in the two-plus-acre garden of Dennis Schrader & Bill Smith as it promises so much variety and scope. As a published horticulturalist, no doubt Dennis Schrader is certain to be a great source of information. We’re excited to see this garden based on the Open Days description, and eager to learn about clay ponds, something I’ve never heard of before.
    Free tickets in time for this event would be a real boon :) Our club is also involved in community work in the Shoreham area and any break we can get will most certainly be appreciated. Thank you for considering us.

  4. foxriver 06/23/2011

    One of my all-time favorites is The Gardens at Ball in West Chicago, IL. The gardens are not only for flowering plants but also rock, shrub, and evergreen garderns. It's a beautifully designed and maintained set of gardens and incorporates experimental gardens where they test new varieties of flowering plants for future markets. They are affiliated with Burpee seeds. It's more than just a pretty walk, it's an informative one where the staff are interested in getting feedback from the visitors!

  5. Thumbalina 06/27/2011

    I would love the opportunityto visit Tapestry in Shade in vernon, CT. Most of my own yard is shade and a lot of the gardening I do in town is in shaded areas. It is always a challenge to be creative in a shade garden where you have to play with texture more than color. I would love to see what someone else has created in the shade.

  6. HeyKevin 06/27/2011

    Strange how few gardens are available in the south

  7. pj56 06/27/2011

    The New London & Tolland County Open Day appears to be showing gardens that are vast, beautiful and actually able to be duplicated to a certain extent. I love to see gardens such as these with their hands-on work by the owners that love their land.

  8. nikkoblue 06/27/2011

    I'm especially interested in the Muddy Rugs garden in Washington Depot, CT. It's described as a "small personal garden". I guess because I have a small garden space, I would really enjoy seeing what someone else has done with a smaller space. I like the feeling of enclosure that some gardens have and I'm hoping that this garden has that feeling. Hopefully, it will give me some ideas about how to attain that same feeling in my own space.

  9. Missbennett 06/27/2011

    I would love to see the Tashmoo Garden on Martha's Vineyard. A fan of polly Hill, it would be delightful to see what someone else has done with the inspiration of that wonderfil arboretum.

  10. gilgenbach 06/27/2011

    I would love to visit the ONLY gardens in my area....Raleigh area gardens

  11. a2zmom 06/27/2011

    I would love to win tickets to see the garden in Randolph, NJ.

    Randolph is where I moved a decade ago and during the past ten years, I have slowly been addding flower beds to the front of my house. Seeing The Jones' gardens would be very inspirational.

    I am especially interested in seeing the shade garden since I have just finsished planting my first small shade garden and how they deal with the ever increasing deer population.

  12. 12341234 06/27/2011

    The open gardens in Olympia Wa appeal to me and I like the idea of seeing them in August.

  13. rabbity 06/27/2011

    I would love to win tickets to the Delaware County gardens. My garden is in that area, and I would like to get ideas for winter-hardy shrubs to add under my maturing trees.

  14. Jenny69 06/27/2011

    We have 3.75 acres where we will soon build our retirement home and are beginning to plant "around the edges" of the property. We are going to any garden we can in North Carolina gathering ideas of designs, plants, combinations of plants for that property. Besides I enjoy beautiful gardens and visit all that I can.

  15. valleyGal 06/28/2011

    I'd love to see the Chicago North Shore gardens... have been aching to see them for several years, ever since I heard about the Open Days. In particular the Mettawa Manor appeals, becuase of what sounds like incredible diversity on the property. My property is a work in process, and I am always looking for inspiration to help with my challenges.

  16. gloie 06/28/2011

    Ball Gardens in West Chicago! A road trip and an opportunity to observe everything new and old in gardening! Also, sustainable landscaping! My daughter will graduate from high school next year and I encourage her to do whatever she can to conserve our natural resources. She loves the outdoors so this would be great for her to see new ideas and products.

  17. snicks 06/28/2011

    I would love to win tickets to visit Linda Singer's garden in Tenafly, NJ. I just started composting this year and started a vegetable garden. I admire Linda's garden and would like to obtain some ideas for my garden. I'm always adding new flowers, vegetables and plants in my Shangri-La garden and would like to discover new varities. Thank you for your consideration!

  18. chop0919 06/29/2011

    I'd love to win tickets to the Seekonk Farm - Honey Sharp's Garden in the Berkshires. I live in a nineteenth century farmhouse with a barn and would love to get ideas to stay true to the period from this garden. I've been having trouble trying to figure out what to do with the yard since we bought the house 2 years ago. I don't dare start anything until I have a perfect plan in mind. This house would definitely help me with ideas. And I'm sure the owners would be great to give me some advise. Thanks!

  19. dimplesdontlie 07/04/2011

    May Place Gardens in Hancock, NH. Because they do all of the design and planting themselves, and so do my husband and I. I would love to see the possibilities!

  20. Irene_M 07/04/2011

    As owners of an old, small farm in Maryland, my husband and I would benefit greatly by visiting the Hay Honey Farm in New Jersey and seeing what it does with so many of the kinds of plants that we have been attempting to grow here, with similar space considerations.

  21. jlamf 07/04/2011

    Xanadu! Aside from the name, the mention of a Japanese garden was intriguing. But from any beautiful garden the blessings are serenity, joy, and inspiration.

  22. cagkit 07/05/2011

    August finds me, as well as my garden, brittle around the edges, and needing a jolt of inspiration. It surely looks like the Grey Gull garden in Marblehead MA would be an inspiration and... filled with ideas to motivate me through those haszy lazy day of summer!

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