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Rudbeckia triloba - one of the many different flowers that goes by the nickname 'Black Eyed Susan.'

The Nantucket Garden Festival

One of the benefits of being in the proximity of so many fantastic gardens and gardeners is that once in a while we all get the chance to see some of those fantastic, creative plantings.  We have that chance, and much more, this Thursday, Friday and Saturday, July 25, 26 and 27.  The 5th annual Nantucket Garden Festival offers workshops, delightful garden tours, children’s activities, an artisan’s marketplace, a fabulous opening night party and several events with one of my favorite garden bloggers and writers, Amy Stewart.

It’s all for a good cause, too.  The Nantucket Lighthouse School engages and challenges the whole child in the creative act of learning, and I don’t believe there is a better context in which to teach children than to help them learn to grow things. The Garden Festival this year is emphasizing education and the celebration of horticulture and design through sustainability and artistry.

Thursday begins with a new event; The Nantucket Geocache Challenge. This free event will introduce you and your child to the fun geography discovery pastime that is becoming more and more popular. There is a tea at the Westmoor Club with George Schoelkopf of Hollister House Garden, and the opening party is Thursday at 6 at Pumpkin Pond Farm.   Friday holds several events, but the one I’m most looking forward to is Amy Stewart, speaking in the Hayloft at Bartlett’s Farm on ‘From Garden to Glass – Adventures in Cocktail Gardening.’  I recently picked up her new book, The Drunken Botanist, and am intrigued by the fascinating history that marries botany and booze. Later that day, Amy teams up with Randy Hudson of Cisco Brewers, and presents “Infused Friday” at Pumpkin Pond Farm.

Friday and Saturday both offer tours of private gardens, led by some of Nantucket’s finest gardeners. Add the Artisan’s Marketplace, a community planting challenge call 'What's Your Vessel?" some greenhouse demos, and interesting workshops and lectures, and you have three days of garden heaven.  Choose one event, or take part in several, but do take advantage of this great opportunity and immerse yourself in the garden world.  Full details of the events and registration can be found at