Tucked away in the quiet, peaceful woodlands of New Canaan, Connecticut, lies a vibrant floral sanctuary of narrow paths entwined with shades of pinks, purples, greens, blues and yellows. Home to a number of bulbs and ferns, as well as rhododendrons, azaleas, herbaceous plants and other beautiful blooms, the Olive W. & George S. Lee Memorial Garden was created 63 years ago to provide “a peaceful place where plants can reveal their characteristic beauty in a natural setting”—a goal that has clearly been achieved.
The 2.7-acre garden, which contains boulder drifts, rocky ledges and a seasonal stream amid its densely planted floral terrain, was developed by George S. Lee, Jr., a man who devoted nearly 40 years of his life to plant collecting and authentic growth in the rocky Connecticut woods. His unique approach to gardening displays how plant species naturally adapt and grow among granite rocks, mature trees and thin soil, without preparing a clean and open landscape. Eager to share his technique with fellow gardeners and the New Canaan community, Lee made his garden open to the public for viewing.
Upon his death, this stunning property was left to the Garden Center of New Canaan, which now operates as the New Canaan Beautification League, a non-profit service and educational group dedicated to sharing knowledge of gardening, conservation and horticulture with town residents and visitors. Today, The Lee Memorial Garden is maintained and “beautified” under the caring hands of this local organization, and has been open for plant lovers, naturalists and lucky neighbors to enjoy every day for the past 25 years.
While there is always something to see throughout the year, a favorite time to visit this hidden neighborhood gem is right around now, during the early growth of spring. Ephemerals and azaleas are currently in full bloom, with rhododendrons to follow later in May. Due to the wide variety of specimens, flowers usually begin emerging as early as April, and continue well into July.
You can see this spectacular display of azaleas and spring ephemerals come to life this Sunday, May 15th from 1-4 PM during the Beatification League’s special “Lee Garden Azalea Festival.” 313 Wahackme Road, a lovely five-bedroom Colonial on over an acre of pristine land just a short stroll from Lee’s public garden, will be holding an open house during the same time as this wonderful town event. Be sure to stop by to experience the unbeatable location and exquisite lifestyle of this stunning New Canaan home, which is represented by New Canaan agent Leslie Razook, and offered at $1,695,000.
For more information on the New Canaan Beatification League and its work to maintain and preserve the radiant beauty of the Lee Memorial Garden, please visit its website here. Details on the upcoming “Lee Garden Azalea Festival” can be found here.