I used to consider myself an avid gardener. Sure, I may not like to spend hours weeding, but I love carefully planning out my designs, scoring and sharing transplants with friends when perennials need to be split, and enjoying the fruits of my labor when everything comes into bloom. But after touring Sakonnet Garden in Little Compton, R.I. last spring, it’s evident that I haven’t even scratched the surface of gardening with passion.
Sakonnet Garden is not your average garden. In fact, it’s like nothing else you’ll find in coastal Rhode Island — or even all of New England. Created by landscape architect John Gwynne along with Mikel Folcarelli, Addie Kurz, and Ed Bowen, it’s an experimental, ever-evolving space that the team calls their “personal and quixotic test garden.” Made up of several distinct spaces defined by hand-built stone walls and high hedges, the resulting “rooms” are micro-climates designed to meet the needs of rare and unusual plants.
For nearly four decades, this group of plant masters has nurtured thousands of rarely grown species. From unique tulips to Japanese terrestrial orchids and even palms, one surprise after another greets visitors as they winding down pathways and through arched natural garden gates from one “living room” to the next in this one-acre green space.
The opportunity to tour this private garden occurs just once each year, during Mother’s Day weekend. Sakonnet Garden will be open to the public this coming May 10–11 (tickets cost $20), and in addition to the spectacular garden visit, a plant sale that includes many rare and unusual plant species will be held. If you love garden tours, make your way to this one; I promise you’ve never seen anything like it before!
All images by Sarah Fernandez.