By Linda Lee
The Trade Secrets show on May 18 and 19 in Sharon, Connecticut is the highly anticipated chance to see, in one place, the choice offerings of 60 vendors of plants and antique garden fixtures. Sharon, Connecticut, is to gardens what Brimfield, Massachusetts, is to indoor antiques (or more accurately, “stuff”).
That aside is for anyone preparing for an analogies exam.
Bunny Williams started the event in 2001 (or as some teenagers now refer to it, “almost back in the 1900s”) with Naomi Blumenthal as a charity event to benefit Women’s Support Services of Northwestern Connecticut, which supports communities free of domestic violence and abuse. The vendors come not only from surrounding areas (Great Barrington, MA., Copake and Hudson, NY,) but include Peace Tree Farm in Pennsylvania (if they bring their ruffled snap dragons, snap them up!), Issima from Rhode Island (check out their absolutely wacky hydrangeas including the sub-shrub Platycrater arguta Honeymoon, which has a scent!), and plant vendors from as far away as Kentucky and Montana.
And then there are the vendors of garden antiques, clay pots, statues and oddities. These come from near and far as well, although giant pots, stone benches and metal goats are not as easy to haul cross country as containers of plants.
There are familiar names in the area, like Hammertown Barn (with three locations), and copper watering cans from Pennsylvania, giant clay hand-made pots, trellises, garden statuary, benches, garden signs. One vendor, from Vinalhaven, Maine, spends half of her year (we can guess which half) in France, and collects antiques there. So it would not be unexpected to find French garden furniture at her stall: Marston House.
On the other hand, it’s best to recognize that what’s safest to expect at events like this is the unexpected. Saturday, May 18, is the day for plant and antique vendors. The event runs from 10 am to 3 pm, and tickets are $50.
Early shoppers, who would like to have breakfast as well, are welcome at 8 am. Those tickets are $125.
Day of, for a quick two-hour breeze through, $25, for 1 pm to 3 pm.
The event takes place at LionRock Farm, Rt. 41 & Hosier Road, Sharon, CT. Tickets may be bought on the Trade Secrets website.
Sunday there are a few tickets available, in advance, for tours of four private gardens in nearby Falls Village (the garden of Bunny Williams & John Rosselli), and Twin Lakes. Tickets for the self guided garden tour are $75.