Martha was there and so was I, TRADE SECRETS CT. Sharon Connecticut

One more unusual thing catching Martha Stewart's eye at Trade Secrets

One more unusual thing catching Martha Stewart’s eye at Trade Secrets

Each May on the Saturday and Sunday following Mother’s Day, plant and garden antiques lovers from everywhere journey to picturesque north-west Connecticut for Trade Secrets. Trade secrets is a two-day event to benefit Women’s Support Services of Sharon, Ct., which is a non-profit domestic violence organization that provides crisis intervention, counseling and education as well as legal, medical and housing assistance to fulfill its mission of creating a community free of domestic violence.

Trade Secrets started in Bunny Williams and her husband John Rosselli’s back yard (country estate) in Falls Village, Ct. Bunny is a nationally known interior designer, author of books on interior decorating and gardening, and has lectured, her husband John is a well-known antiques dealer, and together they own Treillage on 75th Street in NYC. When she had a few too many (extra) plants in her greenhouse, Bunny thought why not sell them for charity, so the Woman’s Support Service was called in, along with some local and regional plant purveyors and garden antiques dealers. The group joined together with their offerings, invited in the local and regional people and a stellar gardening event was born. The Trade Secrets plant sale quickly outgrew Bunny and John’s property so it moved on to the Wake Robin Inn, then it migrated to the estate of Elaine LaRoche called “LionRock Farm” in Sharon, Ct where it is held now. From its conception, Trade Secrets has grown into a world-class display of the best of the best, with now 60 venders displaying the most unusual treasures ever seen. Trade Secrets is like going shopping through 60 of the most unique and upscale stores in one day, while enjoying the fresh country air and magnificent views from Elaine LaRoche’s LionRock Farm.

Trade Secrets being a two-day event consists of a plant and garden antiques sale on Saturday, and a fabulous garden tour on Sunday. Bunny Williams and John Rosselli’s Falls Village estate called “The Manor” is opened yearly for viewing. Their home and grounds were sensationalized in Bunny’s book called An Affair with a House, published by Stewart, Tabori and Chan. With legions of fans and lovers of that most beautiful coffee table book, giant crowds of garden enthusiasts tour the Williams/Rousselli grounds yearly; gathering all kinds of gardening ideas from those two taste makers. Along with Bunny and John’s place, 3 or 4 other equally beautiful, but new, and most likely already seen in national garden or shelter magazine properties are opened especially for this most worthy fundraiser.

So now let’s look at some picture of this year’s Trade Secrets. (to examine further, click on photos to enlarge)

Can you imagine a couple thousand people shopping on your front lawn?  Elaine LaRoche knows what it feels like.

Can you imagine a couple thousand people shopping on your front lawn? Elaine LaRoche knows what it feels like.

Here I am with Elaine LaRoche Event Host and owner of LionRock Farm Sharon, Ct.

Here I am with Elaine LaRoche Event Host and owner of LionRock Farm Sharon, Ct.IMG_0477 Elaine owns the Passports store in Salisbury, Ct. For Trade Secrets some of its treasures are displayed at her farm.

IMG_0393 There is something for everyone. Things are priced from $5. to over $10,000. I saw a pair of cast iron lions for $9500.IMG_0397I love the cobalt blue bell cloches. IMG_0411 Things that could go with a modern or country environment, the choice is yours.IMG_0389 An interesting arrangement of hens and chicks and other succulents. IMG_0401 I love the look of this clock, do you possibly have a place for it? IMG_0399 My friend Marguerite taking my picture in Guy Wolff’s booth as I took hers.IMG_0398More Guy Wolff pots. IMG_0414 Some wonderful garden trellises at Privet House. A few years ago Target stores, nation wide, sold Privet House inspired products. IMG_0475IMG_0476IMG_0409 There are rare and new introductions of plants everywhere for sale. Trade Secret vendors are at least two years ahead of most plant suppliers for new and interesting things. IMG_0421IMG_0419 IMG_0422 IMG_0458 IMG_0488 If you want something new, antique or retro, and definitely not what your friends, relatives or neighbors have, you’ll find it at Trade Secrets. IMG_0430 Here is the line of people going into the Party Barn at LionRock Farm for lunch. Gourmet salads, quiches, pulled pork sandwiches and chicken with garbanzo beans, sun-dried tomatoes and artichoke wraps, along with big homemade cookies were part of the lunch time offerings. IMG_0440 While in line for lunch I noticed Hammertown’s sign. Their store motto is “Love where you Live“. For Trade Secrets it became “Love where you Garden“. IMG_0447 Everything at Trade Secrets is Top Shelf. Here is the tent to relax in while having lunch.IMG_0494 One of my favorite stores in the Berkshires is Campo De’ Fiore (Sheffield, Ma); I have a lot of their things. Here I am with “The Boss”. Campo De’ Fiore pieces are seen constantly in shelter and garden magazines, and I’ve seen a lot of their decorations when going on Garden Conservancy Tours.IMG_0493 More Campo De’ Fiore pieces.IMG_0506 So there you have it, a small glimpse into a day at Trade Secrets. There is soo much more to show, but a post can only be so long. The last photo is of the main house at LionRock Farm with the tents and outbuildings around it. This year torrential rains fell the night before the show, and the parking field across from the event was too wet for cars to park. People parked in away lots and shuttle buses brought visitors to the event, or some did as we did and parking on Route 41 and walked in. We walked about a half mile. This year the event had a few less people, probably because of the storm and parking, but for the ones like us who went, the day turned out to be bright and sunny, the lawn eventually dried up, it was easy to wonder through the booths and tents, and a Good Time was Had by All.

Trade Secrets has been written about in national magazines, as well as national, regional and local newspapers. Bloggers like me have sung its praises, and it has appeared on Bill Stubbs lifestyle show “Moment of Luxury” for public TV. At Trade Secrets this year Martha Stewart and her crew were photographing the event for an upcoming magazine article; so look for it on you local newsstand in the near future.

If you are interested in Trade Secrets Ct, seeing pictures of famous people who have gone to the event, or more about the Women’s Support Services, all the links to those sites will be in the first comment following this post.

Companion Posts..
Some Ideas about using Garden ornaments, they add that Finishing Touch to a Garden 6-29-2013,
Thirteen ideas for Decorating your Country Garden 7-20-2013,
Designing / Laying out flower beds 5-4-2013,
When Designing a Shade Garden, think Focal Point, Plant Color and Shapes of Leaves 9-4-2011,
Plant a Garden Room on Your Property 2-17-2013,
When Designing a Perennial Garden it’s All about the Shapes of Leaves 1-15-2011,
Colored Foliage Adds that WOW FACTOR to a Garden 2-22-2011,
Foundation Planting, Laying out Foundation Plants in Front of your Home 9-28-2013,
Grow a Topiary from an Upright Yew 6-15-2011,
Looking at Evergreens in the Garden 1-31-2012,
Some Ideas about Planting Trees by your Home for Curb Appeal 4-26-2012.

Berkshire Botanical..A Visit to the Berkshire Botanical Garden Stockbridge, Massachusetts (USA) 9-10-2012,
A Return Visit to Spencer and Katrina Trask’s YADDO, Saratoga Springs, NY 8-29-2012.


About fredgonsowskigardenhome

Your eyes deserve to view beauty. I hope Fred Gonsowski Garden Home helps to turn your vision, into a reality.
This entry was posted in Garden Visits (Road Trips), The Spring Garden. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Martha was there and so was I, TRADE SECRETS CT. Sharon Connecticut

  1. The links to Trade Secrets are as follows…
    Trade Secrets web site
    Connecticut Cottages and Gardens Magazine showing Trade Secrets attendees Bette Midler, actress Laura Linney, Bunny Williams, Martha Stewart, and yours truly among others
    Women’s Support Services of Sharon, Ct

  2. Kim says:

    Fred, can anyone go or do you have to be invited? Looks like a great day. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi there Kim, I’ve been going to either the plant sale or garden tour for probably the past 10 or 11 years. I first saw Trade Secrets advertised in a garden center in the Berkshires, called for information, sent in my money and the rest is history. The first few years I was more interested in going to the great houses. Having seen Bunny Williams and the designer, author and taste maker Carolyne Roehm place published in books, made the trek really exciting. Those were the first properties, along with another owned by an architect and his partner that I saw. It is one thing to see things in a book, and another thing to be there in person. When I do look through those ladies books, or have even seen the architects house in magazines, I think to myself, I was on that porch, or I was exactly in the spot where the picture was taken. One year Trade Secrets got entree to the garden of of Robert Couturier, he is an interior designer. (here are pictures of what I saw ) I did not know who he was, but all of a sudden for like a year, his house was advertised in every shelter magazine I picked up, as his kitchen had become an add for GE Monogram kitchen appliances. Every one of those adds showed the outside of his house, and again I had been on those grounds. After going on a lot of house or garden tours I started going to the plant sale, and have done that for many years. I’ve even gone both days, but it is a lot of driving and walking doing both events, especially if you live two hours away, as I do, so I now just attend one per season. Through The Garden Conservancy, some places that are first premiered through Trade Secrets, are opened to the public. Here is their site I don’t know where you live, but there might be some Opening Days in your area.

  3. Kim says:

    Thank you!

  4. jeannedufort says:

    Hi Fred – went searching for KMA ’74 classmates, and was delighted to find your blog! Would love to reconnect – we may have had some common adventures……

    • Hi there Jeanne (Ms Keveny) ;-}. It’s been a long time, how quick time has flown by, but in another way it’s been a million years. Nice to hear from someone from the past. Have a Wonderful Summer!

  5. Pingback: My visit to the Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown, NY | Fred Gonsowski Garden Home

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