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Durham -- Kalmia Garden at Gastler Farm

Object Details

sova.aag.gca_ref33204
GUID
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/kb6373e474b-d618-41e6-8c39-454ee1a9b32c
General
In 2008 the third generation owner of Gastler farm retired from his nursery and landscape design business, leased most of the original 46 acre property and retained five acres with the 1830's late Federal farmhouse, outbuildings and gently sloping fields, and developed a community venue for music and the arts for the fourth generation, called Kalmia Garden. In the early 20th century the family had a dairy farm while raising wholesale crops and maintaining a roadside stand to sell their flowers, sweet corn and strawberries. There was a poultry farm, field-grown pansies were hybridized and sold in another era, and the nursery business was known for its large field grown trees and shrubs. Native stones that had been unearthed over the last century's cultivation were used to build retaining and free standing walls to develop gardens on five acres. Huge Portland, Connecticut brownstones that had been salvaged from a nearby abandoned bridge abutment also were used in the hardscape. In total more one half mile of dry stone walls was built, evoking the archetypical New England farm and functioning as the bones of the landscape. Native and specimen trees and shrubs from the nursery business were relocated among towering trees planted by earlier generations that include a Norway spruce and a sugar maple each more than one hundred years old. Historic farm implements are features: a 1910 horse-drawn sickle mower sits under a Japanese cypress near an 18th century carriage house moved here in the 1950's; cast iron wheels from an 1890's steam tractor lean against remnants of the corn crib's stone foundation; a vintage stone well cover is stood upright next to a 1907 stone and cement ice house. A contemporary barn-board sided addition to the farmhouse built in 2014 has a chef's kitchen, and food grown on the farm is shared with neighbors, friends, helpers and visitors. There is interest in developing a farm-to-table business, too. Entering the property there is a meditation garden with irregular island beds of mixed conifers, and around the bend there is a memory garden, a small triangular space enclosed by stone walls that was a seed bed in the past, now used to cultivate Solomon's seal. The large vegetable garden beds are separated by wide grass walkways with a long herbaceous border opposite the 1916 barn. Crops include herbs, tomatoes, sweet corn, peppers, beans, squash, rhubarb and strawberries. There are mixed garden beds around each outbuilding accented with nursery stock. An extended paved patio next to the house has colorful annuals growing in containers and in a 1650 English stone sink. Across the lawn there is another curved dry stone wall known as the wedding wall. There is a Victorian style gazebo built of red cedar that was installed in 1981, its sides covered by morning glory. The newest space, the event garden, is a large walled lawn with native trees and shrubs surrounding the low walls. The parking garden is terraced with a stone retaining wall and an impressive view of the Coginchaug River valley. Persons associated with the garden include: Charles Miller (former owner, 1873-1875); L.M. and Oscar Leash (former owners, 1875-1884); Olean Miller (former owner, 1884-1905); Nehemiah Burr (former owner, 1905); Gastler family (former owners, 1905-2006); Timothy Gastler (owner, 2006- ).
Provenance
Middletown Garden Club
Photographer
Murawski, Pat
Owner
Gastler, Timothy
Photographer
Murawski, Pat
Collection Creator
Garden Club of America
Topic
Gardens -- Connecticut -- Durham
Provenance
Middletown Garden Club
Photographer
Murawski, Pat
Owner
Gastler, Timothy
Photographer
Murawski, Pat
See more items in
The Garden Club of America collection
The Garden Club of America collection / Series 1: United States Garden Images / Connecticut
Sponsor
A project to describe images in this finding aid received Federal support from the Smithsonian Collections Care Initiative, administered by the National Collections Program.
Custodial History
Middletown Garden Club facilitated the submission of this garden's documentation.
Archival Repository
Archives of American Gardens
Identifier
AAG.GCA, File CT761
Type
Archival materials
Collection Citation
Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, The Garden Club of America collection.
Collection Rights
Archives of American Gardens encourages the use of its archival materials for non-commercial, educational and personal use under the fair use provision of U.S. copyright law. Use or copyright restrictions may exist. It is incumbent upon the researcher to ascertain copyright status and assume responsibility for usage. All requests for duplication and use must be submitted in writing and approved by Archives of American Gardens. Please direct reference inquiries to the Archives of American Gardens: aag@si.edu.
Scope and Contents
35 digital images (2016-2018) and 1 file folder. Images 001-035 under copyright: Pat Murawski, photographer.
Collection Restrictions
Access to original archival materials by appointment only. Researcher must submit request for appointment in writing. Certain items may be restricted and not available to researchers. Please direct reference inquiries to the Archives of American Gardens: aag@si.edu.
AAG.GCA_ref33204
Large EAD
AAG.GCA
AAG
Record ID
ebl-1643208220039-1643210177519-1
Durham -- Kalmia Garden at Gastler Farm
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