Thursday, March 5, 2015


The first day of spring is fluid in both time and space. People often use the March equinox (from the latin for "equal night", when day and night are each 12 hours in length), but it doesn't make much sense to use the same day for Key West, Florida, and Bangor, Maine, does it? It has been spring for a while in the deep south, and it marches north about 100 miles a day, according to Bill Felker of Poor Will's Almanack. If you venture on snowshoes into the woods or open fields, you'll be amazed at the bird activity right now. We are in very late winter, and early spring is slipping in.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

4-H Club at the Garden of Ideas!!!

We have been granted the privilege of starting a 4-H club at the Garden of Ideas.

Our focus will be on vegetable gardening, chicken raising, and exploring the outdoor world.  We will be affiliated with the National 4-H, and will participate in regional and, possibly, national shows and programs.

We are looking for up to a dozen kids between the ages of 8 and 12 to start. 

We will likely meet once a week during spring, summer, and fall for activities, and once a month will hold a business meeting.  Kids essentially run the program and will be electing each other as members of the board.

This is a real commitment!!!! But an immensely rewarding one.

This Saturday at 10:00 and at 2:00 I'll be around at the Garden for anyone seeking information on this program.  Please let me know as soon as possible if your kids would like to be involved--I think demand will be high!


Monday, May 5, 2014

Garden of Ideas Benefit and Sculpture Raffle

Garden of Ideas Fundraiser and Sculpture Raffle
MAY 31     5:00-7:00

Join us for a Garden Party!!!


North Carolina artist Stephen Cote donated us this beautiful piece, “God Explains to the Chicken Why the Chicken Can’t Fly” to raffle off.  It could be yours!!!! Take a chance while supporting Friends of Garden of Ideas.

When:      MAY 31, 2014
Time:     5:00-7:00
Register via  E-MAIL at
    Register via paypal at Friends of Garden of Ideas Blog
   or call 203-431-9914 to register


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Lots of Activity at the Garden of Ideas this spring!!!

Lots of Activity This Spring!!!

Wine and food benefit at No. 109 Cheese this Thursday, March 27th, from 7 to 9.  $25 per person gets you a dozen wines and Raclette, a traditional Alpine dish.  Yummy!  Half of proceeds goes to Friends of Garden of Ideas.  Call the cheese shop for reservations for space will be limited.

Spinning Wool and Knitting at the Garden of Ideas
Discover the Pleasure and Personal Satisfaction of Creating Your Own Unique Yarn and Customized Knits
The Northern Westchester/Fairfield Spinning and Knitting group invites you to join them at the Garden of Ideas 653 North Salem Road, Ridgefield/CT on March 30th 2014 from 11am – 1pm. Bring your wheel, stash, needles or just your curiosity and meet up with other spinners and knitters from nearby NY and CT towns.   To learn more, please visit our knitting and spinning group on Ravelry:
You may also contact the group administrators directly Margarita Vatis (914) 557-0620 or Lucinda Shastid

Ask the Farmer!!! On April 5 at 11:00 a.m., come by the garden and ask Joe anything about growing vegetables.  $15 per adult goes all to the Friends of the Garden of Ideas.  Please call or e-mail to reserve spot since space is limited.

New Caanan Beautification League!  Joe will speak to this group at the New Caanan Library on April 2 at 9:00 a.m.  Free!!!

Ask the Dietician!!! Join us at the Garden of Ideas for an “Ask the Dietitian” session on April 26th at 11:00 a.m. Come with your general nutrition questions and plan to discuss topics such as:  healthy eating for your family, transitioning to a plant-based diet, getting healthy foods into your kids bellies, and more. Or, just come to meet Meg Whitbeck and participate in a lively open group discussion!

Meg Whitbeck is a Registered Dietitian & nutrition educator. She teaches at Framingham State University & has worked in the CT public schools providing nutrition education & support for school meal programs. In addition, Meg is an avid gardener. She linked her passions for delicious food & nutrition education by focusing her graduate research on the use of school gardens as a tool for effective nutrition education. She is a local Ridgefield, CT resident, living with her husband & son.

Matching Grant:  We've received a generous matching grant of $25,000!!!! If you can help us out with this, please do!!!! Pass the word on to anyone you might know who could help us meet that goal!!!

4-H Club!!! We're in the middle of the paperwork for establishing a 4-H chapter at the Garden of Ideas!!! This is very exciting, and we will keep you updated.

Spring Benefit!!! We've pencilled in May 31 for our benefit and our raffle of a Stephen Cote sculpture.  Details to follow!!!

Come see the Garden in its naked spring condition!!!  The Gnomes are hiding again!!!

We're working on additional programs and will keep you up to date.

Thanks for your support!!!

Monday, December 2, 2013

A great first year!!!

Thanks to your support, we enjoyed a great first year as a non-profit dedicated to maintaining and expanding the Garden of Ideas!

With your help, we accomplished the following:

--we hosted thousands of visitors;
--we built a bamboo garden and meeting space off the back of the farm stand;
--we built a labyrinth;
--we removed several dying ash trees;
--we refurbished the upper fish pond and rehabilitated and made more accessible the entrance frog pond;
--we moved some hoop houses down the road to our leased farm land and are now erecting a gifted metal and wood glass greenhouse (well, the frame we need funds for the glass).  This will be a great space to hold classes and to host small events in case of rain!;
--we added a small patio in the woodland;
--we maintained the garden to higher standards than the last few years;
--we hosted our first fundraiser on the Fourth of July;
--we hosted guided bird walks in spring;
--we conducted tours throughout the season;
--we hosted visits from Wooster School first graders and girl scouts from Darien;
--we hosted visits from the Ridgefield, Wilton, Weston, and Redding garden clubs;
--we hosted the New Caanan Beautification League, and will be presenting to them in the spring;
--we added some more unusual perennials and shrubs to the Garden;
--we were featured prominently in the Acorn Press newspapers and in the Danbury New Times ;
--we introduced a very handsome Garden Gnome that hundreds of children enjoyed searching for!

We were able to accomplish all of that from dozens of small donations, the money visitors deposited in our donation boxes, a generous grant from the Weeden Foundation, a grant for our events furniture from the Ridgefield Rotary Club, and extremely generous donations from an anonymousand enthusiastic supporter.

Going forward, we hope to secure funds for the completion of our glass greenhouse,  to add more rare and interesting plant material, to improve our planting of annual flowers, and most importantly, to provide a broad roster of classes and lectures on the natural world.

Please consider helping us maintain and improve this suburban sanctuary.

We have quite a few volunteers signed up, and hope this coming year to organize this willing force to further our mission.  Please consider adding your name to the list!!!

We have produced a lovely calender this year.  Make a contribution of $75 or more to Friends of the Garden of Ideas, and receive one!!!  Just let us know your address, and we'll send you one.

If you're not comfortable with Paypal, simply mail a check to Friends of the Garden of Ideas, P.O. Box 732, Ridgefield, Ct.  06877.

Thanks again for all of your support, and enjoy the winter!The garden remains open year round, so come by for a winter stroll in the snow!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Introducing Friends of the Garden of Ideas!

It’s been nearly twenty years since we first welcomed visitors to the Garden of Ideas.    What started with a collection of plants in the back yard has grown into seven acres burgeoning with flora, fauna, and outdoor art--an oasis of tranquility in Ridgefield.

We estimate that approximately ten thousand people of all ages visit the Garden each year.     There is no admission charge or fee of any sort.    

As we’ve aged, oh so reluctantly, we’ve recognized a need to plan for the future.   The question for us has become how do we sustain and improve the Garden of Ideas and plan for it to become an important and lasting fixture in the town of Ridgefield.   To that end, we’ve formed a non-profit entity to help us develop the property into Ridgefield’s own botanical garden.   

Our initial goals are modest.  We’d like to:

install educational signage;
build a public restroom facility;
repair the marsh boardwalk;
hire an employee to perform some garden maintenance;
as farm growing is moved to other fields, transition that space back to more ornamental and creative uses;
establish  volunteer opportunities;
design a beginning educational program for children;
develop a website.

Our long-term goals involve land acquisition and expansion of the educational program to provide diverse offerings in botany, gardening, agriculture, ornithology, art, and the natural world to all ages.

If you believe our vision is worth supporting, please consider making a fully tax deductible
contribution to the Friends of the Garden of Ideas.  We need and appreciate your support! We've even provided a handy PAYPAL donation button over on the right.

We would also like to encourage anyone who would like to volunteer to contact us.  A vibrant volunteer group is vital to our mission.