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Secret Gardens

The Quononoquott Garden Club celebrates 70 years with its Jamestown Garden Tour


The Quononoquott Garden Club (QGC) marks its platinum anniversary this year with the club’s signature Jamestown Garden Tour returning on June 15 from 10am to 3pm. The event features self-guided tours of meticulously manicured gardens at private properties peppered throughout Conanicut Island. “The gardens can be found in different neighborhoods through Jamestown – a few waterfronts, some centrally located, some on the east side and some on the west side of the island,” explains Joan Vessella, QGC’s publicity chairwoman. The gardens are a closely guarded secret until participants pick up their guide the day of the event, but both green thumbs and novices alike are sure to be inspired by the host of native perennials, colorful annuals, garden sculpture, shrubs, and overflowing containers to be discovered in myriad settings.

Along with its annual plant sale, the tour helps fund the QGC’s commitment “to nurture the civic spaces on beautiful Jamestown for the enjoyment and pleasure of its inhabitants and visitors.”

Throughout the year, club members (there are around 50) break into beautification teams that divide and conquer by tending to specific areas in public view around the island – clearing brush, improving soil, watering, planting, trimming, and tending to flowers and plants. Locations include the Jamestown Fire Department Memorial Museum, the Town Cemetery, Jamestown Town Hall, the planters at Veterans Memorial Park, and the “welcome sign garden” located at the entry to town via the Claiborne Pell/ Newport Bridge. The club is also excited about a new pollinator garden, which has been planted to attract bees, butterflies, and birds.

Dianne Rugh, QGC’s co-president, is excited about the upcoming tour as it is only the fourth one in seven decades. “We are a working planters club,” she explains. The tours have historically coincided with milestone anniversaries, so on their 70th, here’s your opportunity to see and be inspired to start or improve your own garden this season.