Mother’s day weekend will be the earliest that Sakonnet garden has ever been open, two of 2013’s only open days. Flowers on the dove tree, Asian species rhododendrons and the azalea hedge should be just starting, along with the orange garden’s tulips and rhododendrons. Hundreds of woodland wildflowers are expected – from “to-die-for-blue’ Meconopsis poppies, to multiple kinds of trilliums, thousands of anemones, and the first of woodland orchids. In celebration of Mothers day, several of the Northeast’s best specialty nurseries will have connoisseur plants available for purchase.
Sakonnet is an exotic cottage garden imbedded within a native coastal fields landscape, a long-term project of John Gwynne and Mikel Folcarelli, abetted by sister Addie Kurz and Ed Bowen of nearby Opus Nursery. Slightly larger than an acre, it is subdivided into a series of spaces separated by high tapestry hedges and stone walls. These wind-barriers create microclimates for experimental growing of rarely-seen plants -camellias and Calanthes (hardy orchids), “black” bamboos, “tender” rhododendrons and palms from the Himalayas and many other Zone 7 plants. A new grove of strange Wollemia “pines”, once only known from fossils, seem to have overwintered and are among the first imported into USA.
One space, planted with soft yellows seems to catch the sunlight on a gray, coastal RI day; another is silver; another evokes the subtropics – its centerpiece a red “mughal pavilion” imported from India.
Special Mothers day Weekend Garden Open Days, Saturday, May 11, and Sunday, May 12, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Admission: Event admission $20. Includes a $5 Open Days donation. Check for updates at www.sakonnetgarden.com.
Directions: From the north, it is about 5.6 miles south of traffic light at Tiverton Four Corners (with Gray's Ice Cream stand). It is on left 0.07 mile after sign "to Commons" and just after Taylor's Lane. Small sign on tree reads "510". Park along street.
Photo: John Gwynne.