|"Three little coleus are we!"|
Boy and I make a point of attending the Trade Secrets show every year, to stock up on unusual plants for our screened porch, for plants to fill our metal urns for the summer, and for whatever else strikes our fancy. And there is a lot to strike one's fancy at Trade Secrets. We enjoy going to the show for a number of reasons. Not only is it a wonderful source for all things flora, and in a beautiful setting, but it is also an opportunity to see the Tribe out in full force. Trade Secrets draws affluent shoppers from the surrounding Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts areas. That means there are lots of well-cared-for, perfectly art-directed ladies with blond hair, straw hats, quilted jackets, and Hunter boots. And there are also many well-cared-for, perfectly art-directed men who might possibly wish that they, too, were well-cared-for, perfectly art-directed ladies with blond hair, straw hats, quilted jackets, and Hunter boots. Not surprisingly, given who founded Trade Secrets, one sees any number of fancy Manhattan decorators, antiques dealers, and lifestyle purveyors at the show, busily shopping, visiting, and having fun. One can also be assured of seeing a certain blond lifestyle goddess who appears at the show every year, without fail, enthusiastically shopping along with the rest of the blondes in attendance.
This year the Trade Secrets show was blessed with sunny, balmy weather. The grounds of Lion Rock Farm were beautifully groomed to a fare-thee-well, and there seemed to be more dealers than ever and blockbusting attendance. In other words, it was a huge success!
|The map showing the location of all|
the dealers at the show
We arrived shortly after the 8:00 a.m. opening for the premium-priced Early Buyers portion of the show and were amazed at how many people had gotten there before us. Boy was issued buyer's number 339 on his admission bracelet, indicating that more than three hundred people had already entered the grounds by about 8:30! The parking fields were so heavily planted with Range Rovers, Mercedes-Benzes, and other expensive cars that I was afraid we would have difficulty in harvesting ours when the time came for us to leave.
|A portion of our Trade Secrets bounty|
This year we approached the show with a restrained buying appetite. We only needed a few potted plants for our porch, and that's what we got. I refrained from buying any myrtle topiaries from Atlock Farm this year, even though I was sorely tempted. As I have written before, I am unable to keep myrtle topiaries living beyond a month or two, and I couldn't bear the misery of watching yet another one wither and die under my supposed administrations. Boy did find three diminutive variegated coleus plants and a charming fern at Atlock Farm's booth, and a bay standard with great potential at the nearby Hoffman and Woodward booth. He also bought three striking bromeliads at David Burdick Daffodils & More, which has been an excellent source for unusual daffodils for us in years past.
|Three bromeliads with a frog for companionship|
We often combine our visit to Trade Secrets with stops along the way home at Privet House in Warren, Connecticut, and Hunter Bee Antiques in Millerton, New York. Last year we met our friends James and Calista Littlefield for lunch at the White Hart Inn in Salisbury, Connecticut. Recently renovated by new owners and beautifully decorated by Michael Patrik Smyth, the White Hart Inn is everything that one could wish for in a Connecticut country inn. The lunch we had on one its spacious porches was delightful.
|Looking down into the opening of a russet-colored|
This year we headed directly home to Darlington House after the show, though, as we have much to do to prepare for Memorial Day Weekend, when our dear friends Preston and Digby are spending the holiday with us. One of the things we have on our docket for next weekend is a visit to a large antiques show in Rhinebeck, New York, about which I will try my best to muster a post.
|Boy selected the plants to coördinate|
with our porch furniture's upholstery
In the meantime, Dear Reader, do please mark your calendar to attend next May's Trade Secrets show. And don't forget to tell them that Reggie sent you . . .
|A pretty, feathery fern to complete the decoration|
of our porch at Darlington House
More can be learned about Trade Secrets by visiting their website here.
Photographs by Boy Fenwick
Sounds delightful. It's great, that your plants came in attractive terracota pots and not those naff plastic ones.ReplyDelete
Hello Herts: Well, some of the plants did, but some did not and required repotting once we brought them home. Fortunately we have rather a lot of clay pots on hand to choose from. RDDelete
I could imagine few events more visually satisfying.ReplyDelete
TDC: You, of all people, I am sure, would have had a delightful time. RDDelete
Ha Ha! too funny; "there are lots of well-cared-for, perfectly art-directed ladies with blond hair, straw hats, quilted jackets, and Hunter boots. And there are also many well-cared-for, perfectly art-directed men who might possibly wish that they, too, were well-cared-for, perfectly art-directed ladies with blond hair, straw hats, quilted jackets, and Hunter boots."ReplyDelete
I too can kill myrtle topiaries with a mere glance in their direction.
PS. and love that "Herts" uses the word naff- a Brit I'm guessing.
I'd love to go to a show like that sometime.
Hello Slim: I'm glad you enjoyed my little bit of humor here. Do plan a trip east next May to coincide with the show, you'll have a lovely time at it, I am sure. RDDelete
'Trade Secrets' sounds rather similar to its British counterpart, Chelsea, also held in May and starting this week. We are rather pleased to know that it is well worth attending; sadly this is not so of Chelsea which has changed in so many respects over the last few years to become little more than 'popular'.
J&LH: I have never been to Chelsea, a lifelong dream of mine. I suspect that it is much larger than Trade Secrets, which is still rather intimately-scaled, even though it has grown tremendously over the years. RDDelete
Sheesh! You are so lucky to live near Bunny Williams......I mean her taste....(and yours of course) is totally beyond!ReplyDelete
We built our house in Santa Barbara.....I bought all these finials....and everything you ever heard of from Treillage....and also tons of things from John Rossellli.....(they weren't married yet!) 13 years ago......
When she came to do a book "tour" her friends (and my friends) where she stayed had her come see our house......she was in a big hurry to get to the plane to go to the "DR" to meet John.
My favorite moment.....(she was skating through the house) she stopped in our bathroom......there is the tub from "1860 Paris" she turned to me and said...
with complete enthusiasm:
"ISN'T IT FUN!???!???" She is my favorite!!! what fun is that? Bravo!
She could see; and she knew how much fun it is!!
A great compliment!
Hello Penelope: The few times that I have had the pleasure of speaking with Ms. Williams I have found her charming and fun. She strikes me as being a thoroughly good egg! RDDelete
It looks wonderful seems everyone was there , btw I love your mirror on your verandah.ReplyDelete
Thank you SMR, having a large mirror on our porch (or as you write veranda) is a delight, and ensures that everyone has a good view of the garden, regardless of where they are sitting. Ours is a 19th century mirror, wonderfully mottled, and a pleasure, indeed. RDDelete
That show sounds perfect--a tony event, but still fun and practical. I don't think that Taipei has anything that fancy, but we do have a Flower Market every weekend, with a similarly eclectic mix of merchandise.ReplyDelete
--Road to Parnassus
Parnassas, I adore flower markets, and am sure the one you have in Taipei is marvelous. RDDelete
Your efforts to go each year and support such a fundraiser spoke to me - grateful for those who originate, perpetuate and populate such events. Kudos - sounds like a lovely day and I love the coleus trees!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Sandy. My hat really goes off to Ms. Williams and the good ladies of the community who tirelessly volunteer and work to make Trade Secrets a lovely success. We are all fortunate, indeed. RDDelete
The Garden Festival at Ladew Gardens is modelled on this event... and there's a "family" connection, too.ReplyDelete
Dear Mr. Darling,ReplyDelete
Thank you for sharing Trade Secrets with your loyal readers. This show looks to be a true botanical and visual gem. I've had the pleasure of attending the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show some years back (not to be missed if one is in London during the month of May). There, as at the Trade Secrets show, one can purchase unusual seeds, plants and tools directly from the exhibitors. Of course, the main purpose of the show is the stunning exhibition gardens and botanicals on view, but it would be hard to resist purchasing out-of-the-way seeds and tools while there.
Also, thank you for sharing your source for unusual daffodils (a weakness of mine). I'm thrilled to have discovered some very rare white varieties on Mr. Burdick's site.
I have just discovered "Treasure Hunt National Trust Collections" do you know it ?
Have fallen for early 17th C artist Paul Isaacson, his work is at Knole.
Hi There Reggie...Being a Topiary Loving person, did you see the little TURKEY topiary? I am going to take that idea, and translate it into a topiary made from an upright yew.ReplyDelete
I was one of those artsy, decorator types making the rounds in my brown straw hat, and plaid Ralph Lauren shirt. I found it fun to be photographed by Connecticut Cottages and Gardens at the Campo de Fiore booth. I am also photo 14 in the Trade Secrets 2011 media file, on their site.
Stayed 4 hours, loved the lunch, and then went to all the other garden centers in the area. A PERFECT day to be out and about in Sharon, Ct ;-}
Hello FG: I did see the little turkey (or was it a chicken) topiaries at Atlock Farm. They were charming indeed. High maintenance, though, I suspect! I shall be sure to check the photos you mention. By the way, I am a fan of your informative, well-illustrated blog. Thank you for commenting. RDDelete
Reggie, what a nice comment from you, THANKS so MUCH! When I was at Trade Secrets I was looking over the crowd, and wondering which people could possibly be You and Boy. You are BOTH Well Known, but Not Known, that is just soo different ;-}Delete
I miss the old posts about your house. So this gives me an opporunity to plead for something about that porch in the back, which you seem to have enclosed, within the columns, with screens.ReplyDelete
Before and after pictures, please.
(Not least because I'm sorely tempted to do something similar.)
Dear Ancient, I am afraid that I had to take a number of posts down that feature our house, for reasons that I hope become apparent in the not-too-distant future. As for the screened porch, we added it to the house, as there was none when we bought it. Designed in a Colonial Revival style that was described to us by our architectural historioan/consultant as what could well have been added to the house in the 1890s/1910s, inspired by the Greek Revival (first) period. I adore the porch, and we live out there for much of the summer. I will do a post on it when I am able to show more of it. RDDelete
If you want to keep your bay standard going for years, read the bay chapter in "Our Life in Gardens" by designers Joe Eck and Wayne Winterrowd. It explains many wonderful gardening secrets, among them, how to prune a bay so that in a few the years it's about six feet tall, shaped like a lollipop, and is in a relatively small pot. It's a great plant for indoors or outdoors. I've been at this for a couple of years, and mine is now about four feet high, and in a two gallon pot.ReplyDelete
Dear Anon, Thank you very much for this suggestion. I shall certainly look for this book! Rgds, ReggieDelete
Hey, that sounds like a terrific place to be. Anything having to with gardening perks up Jennings' ears. I'm already planning the road trip for next year! What is it about topiaries? I just love them. Thanks for the pictures of your haul. N.G.ReplyDelete
Thanks for all your kind and enthusiastic comments about Trade Secrets, which is one of the highlights of our year in Sharon. It allows Women's Support Services to engage in life-saving work. Just for the record, Lion Rock Farm is not a "gentleman's farm" at all, but is owned by one of the most successful women on Wall Street. Maybe we should call it a gentlewoman's farm. What do you think, you being the great (and very much appreciated) arbiter of taste on the web?ReplyDelete
Dear HHH: Thank you for your kind comment, and thank you, too, for your gentle admonishment regarding the owner of Lion Farm. I have since corrected my story to reflect it. With appreciative regards, ReggieDelete
I just finished a book on gardens that I came across at the local library. Have you come across Beverley Nichols yet? "Merry Hall" published in 1951 is charming, funny, and catty. I thought of you and Boy constantly when reading it. Now to track down others of his books...ReplyDelete
Yr. sister Hermione
Dear Hermione, I am indeed familiar with Mr. Nichols' work, and have half a dozen of his books, including "Merry Hall." I am flattered that you thought of Boy and me when reading it, as the author is one of the people I have on my list of those who have long gone that I would dream of sitting next to at a dinner party, were circumstances different, and time but a fancy. ReggieDelete
Reggie you have had a tremendous response to this wonderful post about your excursions to trade secrets. I would enjoy it so much, and the plants you both picked for the veranda are perfect!ReplyDelete
Art by Karena
What sweet bounty. Sounds like you had an interesting day rubbing shoulders with 'well-cared-for' blonds and blondes. D.ReplyDelete
THEY have wanted to go to Trade Secrets for years, it hasn't worked yet, in the meantime you have kept THEM updated. Beverly Nichols is one of HER dream dinner party companions also, he is responsible for her becoming a gardener, all that watering the lillies with caught rain water......heaven.ReplyDelete