2005-08-25 / News

Garden club invites everyone to ‘Fall into Jamestown’ on Saturday garden tour

Garden club invites everyone to ‘Fall into Jamestown’ on Saturday garden tour

The gardens of David and Jennifer Clancy of North Main Road will be one of seven featured in the tour this Saturday. The gardens of David and Jennifer Clancy of North Main Road will be one of seven featured in the tour this Saturday. The Quononoquott Garden Club will host a tour of seven island gardens this Saturday, Aug. 27, each representing the unique skills and diverse aesthetics of the selection of growers that the club has assembled for the tour.

Unlike in previous tours, when all of the gardens belonged to members of the club, this tour is an opportunity for visitors to peer into the secret gardens that lurk behind the fences and hedges of several interesting residents of Jamestown.

One of the seven tour gardens belongs to David and Jennifer Clancy of North Main Road, who arguably have one of the best views on the island.

Their property abuts that of the circa 1787 windmill at one of the highest elevations on Conanicut Island, and an eastward glance offers sweeping views of the mill, the Newport Bridge, and the peaceful cows grazing in the meadows that slope toward the East Passage of the bay.

David credits Jennifer with being the gardener. “I just build the fences, he said Tuesday afternoon as the light glazed their garden with an apricot hue.

Jennifer credits David with doing all the “physically demanding” work, while she is in charge of what’s planted in their many garden patches strewn around the property.

David has wrought a perimeter fence of cedar stumps and limbs around the perennial patch that looks as if it could have been made by the 18th century miller in between grinding sacks of corn. He has assembled whimsical stone and masonry touches that cause visitors to pause and wonder if they’ve ever seen anything quite like them.

Jennifer has planted colorful perennials, nearly all in shades of yellow, because, she said, “I like yellow.” It’s as simple as that.

On the property are many meandering pathways and quiet places to sit and reflect.

Jennifer said that she’s been told several times that people long to just sit in their back yard and enjoy a quiet moment with the windmill, the sky, and the birds.

The weather in the last two months has not been particularly generous to gardeners on the island, and Jennifer admits that she’s had some disappointments along the way. She pointed to a “failed sunflower patch,” which did not thrive in the extreme dry conditions. She shrugged. “It’s been extremely hard” to keep everything watered without draining their well — the only source of water on the property.

Disappointments or not, this couple has a sure fire way to keep tour-goers mesmerized.

Unlike any other gardeners on the tour, this pair has a trick up their sleeve that no one else can boast. Using ancient techniques, they can coax delicate petals and long, elegant stems from molten glass and fashion them into colorful blossoms — drought conditions or not.

The Clancys are glass blowers by trade and Saturday is a working day for them. Visitors on the tour can expect to see the couple plying their techniques at the studio adjacent to their hilltop home.

The “Fall Into Jamestown” Garden Tour features six other gardens and gardeners that are guaranteed to charm visitors with their passion for what is this country’s number one hobby.

The tour begins at the ticket booth at 230 Conanicus Ave., next to the police station, and tickets are $15 on the tour day. Advance tickets, at $12, will be available at Baker’s Pharmacy and the Secret Garden before Saturday. The self-guided tour runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and bottled water will be provided free of charge at some of the tour gardens to combat the August heat.

All tour proceeds will go to the garden club’s continuing civic beautification efforts in Jamestown.

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