Thursday, 10 May 2012
Get a Glimpse of Historic Homes and Colorful Gardens
By Carol Sorgen. Courtesy of Talbot County.
For the house- and garden-proud among us — or simply the envious and curious — springtime means the return of the ever-popular home and garden tour. This spring is no exception, and the annual Talbot County House and Garden Pilgrimage looks to the past as it takes “A Step Back in Time” from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 12 (rain or shine, so have your Wellies handy just in case).
Sponsored by the Talbot County Garden Club and part of the 75th Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage, this year’s tour once again will feature an outstanding variety of historic properties, waterfront homes and colorful gardens, along a tour route that will take visitors from Easton to Trappe.
Get your bearings and plan your route at The Historical Society of Talbot County in Easton, which will serve as headquarters for the tour, offering information, tickets and refreshments. Take some time to stroll through the historical society’s gardens, an oasis of dwarf boxwood, spring and fall blooming camellias, oak leaf hydrangeas and perennial beds, all designed and maintained by the Talbot County Garden Club.
Tickets for the Pilgrimage also include admission to the exhibit, “Excavating the Wye House Gardens,” at The Academy Art Museum in one of Easton’s historic landmark buildings. The exhibit contains rare artifacts from enslaved Africans who worked at Wye House, as well as contemporary topographic maps showing the variety of planned landscapes built in the course of the 18th century in the area of Wye House.
From the exhibit, visit any or all of the featured properties on the tour. At Joe Weems’s Gardens, for example, a series of garden rooms will delight all horticulturists, with offerings in each room that range from native plants, such as hostas, ferns and rhododendrons, to fragrant displays of old-fashioned flowers, such as irises and peonies, that Weems has created on the property his grandparents purchased in 1926.
At Chloras Point Farm, one of Talbot County’s premier rural locations since the 1700s, you’ll be able to see at least six bodies of water. Once part of the Hyer Dyer Lloyd grant of 1659, this splendid home has grown and changed considerably since it was first built, but its appeal, complemented by the beautiful landscaping of Gordon Hayward, has not diminished over time.
Moving on in the tour, The Wilderness’ 350-year history serves as a reflection of the early land expansion, gradual decline and rebirth of Talbot County. Many buildings on the property have been painstakingly restored, including its Colonial- and Federal-period house built by the Martin family of Hampden, also originally part of the Hyer Dyer Lloyd grant of 1659. In 1663, Thomas Martin acquired 200 acres and built what remains unchallenged as the first brick house in Talbot County. Only four families have occupied this special place, and The Wilderness’ present owner, an artist, has furnished her home with an eclectic mix of furniture and decorative items, all of which reflect her creative sensibility and provide a backdrop for the colorful paintings of her beloved family, farm and flowers.
At La Trappe Creek Farm, you’ll be enchanted first by the breathtaking entrance porch and columns leading into the picturesque Georgian-style home, and once inside, captivated by the many fine antiques, as well as the panoramic views of La Trappe Creek, home to some of the oldest properties in Talbot County. Stroll through the grounds by the water lily filled ponds, along the meandering patios and walkways, and amid the giant oaks lining the waterfront.
Next on the tour is New Trappe Landing Farm, where the current owners have painstakingly restored and improved this charming farmhouse to house their collections of antiques and furnishings. While the exact date of the house is a mystery, an old tax map dating to 1794 shows a building on the exact place.
And not far from New Trappe Landing Farm, at the headwaters of La Trappe Creek, is the next tour stop, a charming waterfront home that pays homage to the surrounding history of the area. In keeping with the Eastern Shore style, the owners have created a home that showcases the views and evokes a continuous relationship with the outdoors.
The tour comes to an end at Scott’s United Methodist Church, notable for its original windows and sanctuary dating back to the 17th century. (Make sure you reserve a boxed lunch ahead of time so you can sit and enjoy lunch in the peaceful surroundings.)
Advance tickets are $30 and are available in Easton at Garden Treasures, Bountiful and the Historical Society, and by mail to Talbot County Garden Club, PO Box 1524, Easton, MD 21601. The price will increase to $35 on May 12 at all Talbot Tour sites. Box lunches are $15.
For more details, call the Historical Society at 410-822-0773 or visit www.mhgp.org. Proceeds from the Pilgrimage are used for the restoration and historic preservation of a variety of projects throughout the state.