Skip to content

Trade Secrets Gardens


Winter is long and wearisome but, inevitably lawns turn green, trees bud out and spring flowers appear in dormant gardens. It is the time of year that gardeners yearn for and it is the time of year that the annual Trade Secrets event provides opportunities to purchase plants and garden items and to seek inspiration from the magnificent gardens of other tristate aficionados.

Trade Secrets blossoms on Saturday—rain or shine—with its Rare Plant and Garden Antiques Sale at LionRock Farm in Sharon. The venue is a 600-acre working farm named for a large natural rock formation on the grounds resembling a lion. Its open landscape, replete with gracious gardens makes it a destination for weddings and special celebrations.

As many as 60 vendors will bring their rare and unusual plants and garden antiques to sell against the farm’s vista of rolling hills. Legions of faithful followers, including the likes of Martha Stewart, show up year after year to peruse the offerings and make their purchases. The sale starts at 8AM and ends at 3PM.

Early buying begins at 8AM and includes breakfast. Tickets cost $125. Regular buying opens at 10AM, with tickets priced at $50. For the Late Bloomers tickets are sold on the day of the event and cost $25.

Taking home prized plants and garden antiques is fun but picking ideas like posies from the private gardens of some of the region’s most innovative horticulturists is priceless. That is exactly the opportunity offered on Sunday—also rain or shine—when the 2019 Garden Tours presents four picturesque private gardens located in Falls Village, Salisbury and nearby Ashley Falls MA.

The tours start at 10AM and end at 4PM. Tickets cost $75 and must be purchased in advance; no tickets will be sold the day of the tour.

Bunny Williams and John Rosselli will once again open their 12 acres of varied gardens in Falls Village for visitors. The landscape includes woodland, vegetable, parterre, orchard, perennial borders and many container displays surrounding their 1840s Federal home.

A mowed path through the orchard and meadow leads to the pool house, a Greek Revival folly made with rustic, locally harvested oak columns. Uphill from the pool is William’s studio: a contemporary building with an impressive view of the Berkshire Hills.

Paths weave their way from the studio through the Woodland Garden, past carpets of ferns, wildflowers, woodland peonies and an understory of dogwoods and redbuds. The Woodland Garden, itself, opens up into Elizabeth’s Circle, a calming space where large boxwood balls tumble down the hill from the woods edge.

Stone steps lead to the Parterre, located behind the Conservatory and guest barn. Brick walkways are surrounded by patterned boxwood hedges that edge seasonally planted beds. Beyond the Conservatory, a pergola leads visitors to a series of Belgian-style swooped yew hedges that frame a mass planting of hydrangeas. Just past the hedges is a sunken garden, filled with mixed borders and box-edged beds brimming with perennials, annuals and bulbs. In the middle of the property is a vegetable and cutting garden.

Good Dogs Farm’s garden paths lead to numerous garden rooms, “secret” sitting areas, an outdoor shower and an outdoor sleeping room. An antique-marble and brick wood-burning bake oven is surrounded by a hedge that defines a pea-stone cooking courtyard. A handmade, rough-cedar “country Chippendale” fence surrounds a large vegetable/cutting garden where a crowded bat house towers above. Further out, horses and mini-donkeys graze next to the Housatonic river. The gardens are relaxed and imperfect, hand-wrought and ever-evolving.

Over at Twin Lakes, a property set on 58-lakeside acres features a new “old” house by the New Canaan architectural firm, Brooks & Falotico. To anchor the house to its site on a peninsula between the Twin Lakes of Salisbury, the owners recruited local landscape designer Michael Trapp.

Taking inspiration from the house’s country-friendly sophistication, Trapp included European references in the courtyard to the front of the house where roses climb the stone walls and boxwood flanks the cobblestone of the porte-cochère. Indeed, the plantings around this house are tightly disciplined, the architecture of the garden seamlessly tying it to its landscape of open vistas to the surrounding Twin Lakes and the ring of mountains beyond.

The property on Cooper Hill, just north of Twin Lakes, is an owner-designed garden that offers an arresting display of distinctive woody plants and a series of perennial beds that have grown and evolved over the years. The gardens are framed by remarkable trees; tall, clipped quinces, big-leaf magnolias, hedges of beech and hornbeam.

The farmstead, which offers spectacular western views of the Taconic range, boasts a vegetable garden and a production cutting garden. A casual gravel patio echoes the south of France while an owner-built stone seating area invites visitors to take in the views on an autumn afternoon. Paths range through a series of garden neighborhoods, past a hoop house and out into the meadow’s generous views.

A map of the gardens locations is mailed with the tickets. Those who would like a copy of the directions for the garden tours should call the Women's Support Services office at 860-364-1080, Monday-Friday, 8:30AM to 4:30PM. For tickets to the Rare Plants & Garden Antiques Sale, please click on the link below.

Trade Secrets is the primary fundraiser for Women’s Support Services and supporting the event helps adults and children victimized by domestic violence through free, confidential, client-centered services, including support, advocacy, prevention education and community engagement.