By Ellen Barcel
One really nice activity for gardeners and non-gardeners alike in the warm weather is enjoying garden tours. A new and special tour of gardens will take place in Port Jefferson this Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Rain date is July 12.
The Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce and the Suwasset Garden Club will present the first annual Gardens and Landscapes of Port Jefferson, sponsored by Times Beacon Record Newspapers in celebration of the summer and the 40th anniversary of the newspaper.
A total of ten gardens — nine stops — each unique in its own way, may be visited. There’s a secret garden and a Zen garden complete with waterfall. Another site has a moss rock garden. There are perennials, annuals, hydrangeas, fruits, vegetables, shade gardens and sun gardens.
One location, the Mather House Museum Garden, has two gardens, the Thomas Jefferson Garden, created and maintained by the Suwasset Garden Club, and the Wayne Helmer Herb Garden, created by the Historical Society of Greater Port Jefferson and the Herb Society.
While visiting each garden will be a special treat in itself, each location will have something extra to offer. Barbara Ransome, director of operations for the Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, remarked, “We’ve paired up with the Night Herons; there will be (at least) six artists who are going to be painting — watercolorists — at different gardens.” Confirmed artists include Dottie Court, Sunny Bateman, Gail Chase, Ellen Ferrigno, Phyllis Farmer and Barbara Siegel.
Ransome added that all gardens will have refreshments. For example, one Victorian, terraced garden will offer high tea while visitors will be serenaded by harpist Marilyn Levine. One garden has a chocologist — yes, a specialist in chocolate from Chocology Unlimited of Port Jefferson, who will be giving out samples to enjoy. The Garden with a Lemon Kick will have a lemonade stand set up for visitors’ enjoyment. A Cake in Time, owned by Sherry Sobel of Mount Sinai, will donate mini cupcakes for the event, and three gardens will have special raffle baskets.
Members of the Suwasset Garden Club will serve as greeters at each garden, ready to assist and answer any questions that visitors have.
Pat Darling, whose garden is one on the tour, said, “I’m huge on nature … I enjoy utilizing nature, like the moss in the garden and tree stumps.” Describing her garden, she noted, “Entering through a whimsical garden gate, gardens come to life reflecting the passion of an artist.” And yes, two of the Night Heron Artists will be painting at her garden.
Commenting on one of the other stops on the tour, a Victorian house whose porch is filled with red, white and blue flowers — very patriotic so near to Independence Day, Darling said, “the elements are so spectacular . . . (it’s) an incredible porch . . . so gorgeous, magnificent,” noting that the owner always decorates for July 4th.
This is one not to be missed — enjoy the plantings and enjoy the extras.
The cost of the tour is $30. Call 631-473-1414 for tickets. Tickets are also on sale at the chamber office or Eventbrite on the chamber’s website: www.portjeffchamber.com. There is also a map on the website to direct visitors to the various gardens.
Ellen Barcel is a freelance writer and master gardener. To reach Cornell Cooperative Extension and its Master Gardener program, call 631-727-7850.