For garden lovers there is no better diversion on a weekend afternoon (other than working in one’s own garden) than peeking into the gardens of others. The six private gardens on the Kingston Garden Club tour, on Saturday, July 16, offer visitors a behind-the-gate look at some of the area’s most enchanting and charming gardens. The highlights include a 300-year-old tree, a whimsical gazebo, a study in perennial rotation for continuous color from early spring through frost, a kitchen herb garden, a Japanese Koi pond with a cedar bridge, an organic garden, and even an instructional garden at an elementary school. To whet your gardening appetite, here are a few details about some of the gardens on the tour (without specific addresses, to protect the privacy of the owners; addresses given to tour participants).
Garden 1. This lovely garden, located in a local, state, and national historic district of Princeton, and the grounds grace a stately historic home, the Gulich-Hodge-Scotch House, the oldest part of which was built in 1750. The property is a small aboretum, where all the trees have been identified and labeled by Woodwinds Associates in Kingston. The property includes perennial beds behind wrought-iron fences to wilder plantings near a tree house, as well as a gazebo and pool.
Garden 2. The owner of this garden studies what grows and when it grows in order to ensure continuous color from spring to winter, with bulbs, flowering trees, perennials, and annuals.
Garden 3. This "friendship" garden started with perennials and bulbs that friends shared with the owner, and has evolved into a several beds that are best described as "cottage gardens." The property also includes open spaces filled with annuals, container gardens, and a kitchen herb garden. The owner does not use pesticides, and uses compost and a "secret" source of rabbit manure for soil remediation.
Garden 4. This Monmouth Junction garden boasts two koi ponds connected by a 25-foot stream with a three-foot waterfall by Groundmasters, a company owned by a former Kingston resident, Dennis Shennard. The perimeter of the pond is accented with perennials and specimen trees in keeping with a Japanese theme.
Garden 5. This organic garden features crop plants, medicinal and culinary herbs, flowers, and berries and has functioned as a laboratory for experimenting with design and plant material in the midst of deer, rabbits, squirrels, and sundry critters. Visitors will see several systems of organic gardening applied.
Garden 6. This is the instructional garden at Riverside Elementary School in Princeton.
Kingston Garden Tour, Saturday, July 16, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tour starts at 7 Herrontown Road. Benefit for community beautification and education projects of the Kingston Garden Club. For tickets, follow the signs to house number one. Refreshments and maps available. $12; seniors $8; children free. Raindate is Sunday, July 17. For more information call 609-683-0483.