Lessons from the Greenfield Garden Club Garden Tour

  • Post published:07/31/2020
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The Greenfield Garden Club Garden Tour has come and gone. This was a wonderful event – even though we all had to be aware of Covid 19. We all wore our masks, including the very youngest set who had some fun on the curves of our strolling garden. Social distancing was quite well followed. There was a holiday feel about the day and I am grateful that the Greenfield Garden Club gave us this day of pleasure.

The wonderful thing about gardens is that every single one is different. The tour gave us 10 gardens, each unique, each offering something to learn.

Dotty Janke’s Garden

Dotty Janke
Dotty Janke

Dotty Janke bought her Greenfield house in 2002. She knew she wanted a beautiful garden, but wasn’t sure how to go about gardening in a 5B climate zone. She began her education by attending workshops and lectures. She read books. Hardy Trees and Shrubs by Michael Dirr, Wildflowers by William Cullina and The Well-Tended Perennial Garden by Tracy DeSabato-Aust are books that cover a lot of ground for all gardeners, novice or experienced.

She had the invasive Norway maples removed and replaced them with beautiful river birch, stewartia,  amelanchier (serviceberry) and other trees and shrubs. One side of her house is a long bank designed as a shade garden with azaleas, low bush blueberry, mayapple and ground covers like lady’s mantle with its bright green foliage and flowers.

I walked along the paths through the garden with Janke, past the burbling solar fountain til we got to a special bed that included vegetables, kale and tomatoes, with pollinator flowers. This is a reminder that we should never limit ourselves to standard arrangements. Even a small garden can include edibles as well as well as ornamentals.

Flowers and veggies in one bed – a great combo.
A gardener welcomes a rest in the shade

Mary Chicoine and Glen Ayers Garden

I have visited the Mary Chicoine-Glen Ayers garden before, but like all gardens it is ever changing. At the entry of the garden is a riot of blooming pollinator plants, coneflower, native bee balm, Culver’s root and more flowers than I can possibly name. Then we come to the serious vegetable beds. I have never seen such a beautifully organized vegetable garden. Some tomatoes climbed up twine, some lived in a plastic tunnel. Some vegetables grew in neat rows out in the sun.

Vegetables outdoors and in the hoop house

In addition there are strawberry beds, and blueberry bushes inside a wire tunnel. I thought that was a genius idea. I fought with nets for years in my blueberry patch up in Heath.

Some vegetables grow in rows outside

I asked Chicoine what they did with all those vegetables. Did they eat them all themselves, or did they give them away?  She said, “We preserve a lot of food for the winter months – canning, freezing, drying and dehydrating. We make pasta sauces, salsas, pestos, ratatouille, pickles of all sorts, jams and jellies, and dehydrate or freeze tomatoes, peppers, beans, berries, greens, etc. And we still have a lot to share as well.”

A pond in the shade for tranquility

What an inspiration! And yet, as industrious as they are, there two small ponds, and places to sit and relax in the sun. And in the shade.

Ilene Stahl’s Garden

Entry through kiwi-draped cedar lattice arbors

Ilene Stahl’s garden had surprises, too. Lilacs, azaleas and shade loving perennials bedeck and welcome visitors in front of the house. To the side of the house are beautiful kiwi draped cedar lattice arbors that mark the entrances to the main garden. Just inside one entry is a large and graceful Japanese threadleaf maple that almost fills one garden bed. Opposite that beautiful maple, and next to the door of the house, is a bed that includes herbs, flowers and vegetables Some plants are put in the cobalt blue ceramic pots that Stahl loves. This is a handy spot for the cook, who likes flowers on her dining table.

Ilene Stahl by her beautiful shady fountain



Shrubs in shades of green and gold hug the sunroom. Then a path took me further into the shade and a beautiful bubbling pond. The pond was built with the help of David Sund. I liked the cobalt blue ceramic stool (not shown) where one could sit and enjoy the gentle splash of the little waterfall. Stahl and I chatted and laughed in the shade to the music of the waterfall.

Flowers, herbs and vegetables by the back door

Peggy Pucina and Clara Lopez

Peggy Pucino and Clara Lopez have an amazing garden filled with a riotous mixture of flowers, vegetables and fruits. I was particularly enchanted by some really old fashioned pink hollyhocks. Some vegetables grow in circles, while others are set in straight lines. There are so many ways to organize a garden for ease of harvesting, or just for fun.

A merry-go-round vegetable bed

One large section of the garden includes perennial edibles like asparagus and berries. Nobody in this house is going to go hungry.

Peggy Puchino and Clara Lopez


This year’s Greenfield Garden Club Garden Tour was possibly the most well attended ever. On one hand everyone knows we have to stay away from crowds. On the other hand we all want to see a little more of the world than our back yards. We want to see different scenery, and maybe even different people. We want to see new colors and shapes. We want to have fun!

Next week I’ll give you a trip through three more of the tour gardens.

Between the Rows   July 25, 2020

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