What A Glorious Garden Tour It Was!
We strolled between the raindrops and enjoyed an unforgettable day of history paired with garden inspiration and Jane's true passion for both!
Thank you, Jane Bradbury!
It all began at Blooming Art...when Jane and husband Ivan attended the event at the Old Mill in June. Jane offered to Blooming Art greeters, Laurie and Gay, an opportunity for the Club to see the gardens at her Edgartown home. The ladies learned from Jane, that her home had previously belonged to Mrs. Meikleham,...the founder of the MV Garden Club! Of course they were excited for the possibility and passed me Jane's contact information. I called her straight away and within a few days, Jane and I met and began plans for the Tour. What a treat it was for my husband and I to get a private Tour of the entire property from Jane, as we discussed possible dates and options.
From the beginning, Jane had an absolute vision for the Tour. She wanted to include the history of the Meikleham family by highlighting Mrs. Meikleham's many contributions to the Island, including her having founded the MV Garden Club and her commitment related to maintaining the Island's natural beauty. Jane did tireless research at both the MV Museum and the MV Gazette to build her repertoire for the Tour. She gathered archived articles and printed them for attendees to reference prior to the Tour. She created a four page plant list/handout which everyone received and there she noted some house history with the botanical names and information on most of the property's unique and rare plants, shrubs and trees. Jane requested I create a bullet pointed list of accomplishments of Mrs. Meikleham's as it related to the Garden Club to offer to attendees of the Tour. She wanted everyone to understand and appreciate Mrs. Meikleham's impact on the Island. Through the MVGC 'Yearbooks', I was able to read firsthand, The 'President's Letter' Mrs. Meikleham wrote for the membership yearbooks over the course of her fifteen year tenure as President of the Club. It was like going down a rabbit hole, but it was so very interesting to get a real feel for the heart and determination of the woman who founded our Club! (Much like the lovely Jane, the hostess of our Tour!) Since Mrs. Meikleham and the MVGC 'saved' the Old Mill from demolition in 1937, we felt making it a fundraising event for the Old Mill would be fitting. The Tour was so well received that we added a second Tour after the first one sold out literally in just hours.
Here are some photos from that day...and words of appreciation from some folks who attended. Once again, a huge thank you to Jane, and thank you to those members who helped by supporting this Tour! - Donna
"All the gods of the universe were with us today! What an amazing experience.
Be sure to credit whoever put together the gorgeous food and the wonderful display of archival material, as well as the timeline and plant lists.
Jane was such an engaging and welcoming hostess. I'm still overwhelmed with the sheer amount of plant material at her home! And then the incredibly beautiful juxtapositions of colors, textures, sizes/shapes - even in the areas with no blossoms, the plants were paired with a very discerning and creative flair. Thanks to all who made it happen!" -Laurie
"I loved this beautiful "hidden treasure" in Edgartown! The excellent tour from Jane made it even more special -- you could hear the love she had for the trees and the gardens. I learned so much, aided by the handout she gave us listing the plant names. It was really wonderful!" -Ty
"Simply breathtaking gardens and to know that they are hands on makes it even better. A secret garden in the middle of Edgartown. The tool shed with shadow paintings on the walls of each tool so you know where it goes back to was simply lovely. Reminds me of Julia Child’s peg board with outlines for all of her pots and pans that Paul Child created for her. Jane’s stories are treasures. Thank you to our amazing board for making this happen." -Susie
"It was a wonderful opportunity to see a well designed and well loved garden. Unique that much of the planning was done by Jane and her husband. Their compelling interest in maintaining our island heritage through both their plants and trees ties in so well with our garden club goals." - Al and Joan
"Truly not enough superlatives to describe this mornings garden tour...absolutely spectacular! Jane's gardening knowledge and knowledge of the history of the home and inhabitants were fascinating and inspiring. Thank you to all the MVGC members who made this happen. The welcome refreshments were a lovely way to be greeted. I am so happy I was able to participate in this special day." - Linda
"Thanks to Jane for sharing her in depth research on her home’s former powerhouse women and the gardens they created and shepherded.
I’m thrilled to see Jane carry on the property’s mantle of being a knowledgeable and impressive gardener and activist - such passion for the plantings which have lived there and will continue to live there, and for those seedlings which she and her husband brought from England and tended, and for the native and exotic plantings which Jane selected and added to make the property even more special and unique.
I’m very appreciative of the handouts Jane created with the history of the Meiklehams. What a treat and inspiration for us 2022 Garden Club members to understand and appreciate Mrs Meikleham’s vision was when she founded the MVGC: a “Constructive Force and Not just an excuse for pink teas..” I’m impressed with Mrs Meikleham’s focus on pests, billboards and highways because “this island is our garden”. I was surprised to learn about her pest control of tent caterpillars and Gypsy moths, elimination of emerging billboards, intent to eliminate ticks on the island, campaign against insensitive pruning, and becoming the savior of the Old Mill for the MVGC Centre. Wow! I’m really happy to know this is the MVGC history as it highly elevates my estimation of our roots.
Jane’s plant handout is a most helpful reference. I appreciated being able to add my notes onto her various plant descriptions.
I have been fortunate over the years to have opportunities to visit Jane’s garden, but this is the first time I had the honor of being led through the gardens by Jane. Listening to Jane’s verbal descriptions and explanations brought everything into perspective and allowed me to understand and appreciate the early and the recent choice of plantings. I especially enjoyed hearing about the Peanut Butter Bush, Kentucky Coffee Tree, Wedding Gown Hydrangea, ectodermic roots on the Linden tree, the rare full shade Sargentiana hydrangea, salt water tolerant Tamarix, the ruby spice Clethra, and description of the shock of pink astilbe in bloom at the center and points of the sunken flag garden.
I shared photos with my husband and was excited to show him the tool outlines in the garden shed. Workshop tool outlines might be on my Christmas list:)
While I’ve been to Jane’s gardens before on the 8th grade garden tour, this is the first time I feel that I have truly experienced and appreciated them.
Huge thanks to Jane for creating this opportunity for us, and to the board for recognizing that this unique experience should be a fundraiser. "- Jennifer
A bit about Jane: Jane Bradbury has been a long-time seasonal resident of Edgartown. She and her British husband Ivan are keen hands-on gardeners. Based in London and fascinated by social history, Jane is the principal author of American Style and Spirit: Fashions and Lives of the Roddis Family, 1850–1995, published by the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2016. CLICK HERE to read about her book.
"Garden lovers - Thursday morning with Jane and all of you was my idea of heaven on earth.
Thank you to Jane for inviting us and sharing her passion, intellect, knowledge and garden." - Nancy
"Fellow gardeners, Jim and I loved every moment of our time on this amazing property. Jane is so knowledgeable about every plant, those she inherited and those she so lovingly selected and planted. She is a walking garden encyclopedia! Her handout is a comprehensive list of many of the plantings, and her stories about her trees, shrubs and flowers added to the experience immensely. Jim and I came home inspired!
With many thanks to Jane and her husband for sharing and to our garden club for arranging a most special event" -Janet
"It was so inspiring to listen to Jane describing the plants and trees while weaving in the history and stories! I enjoyed making the connections between past and present and thinking about how a place can change over time. Oh the gardens were just magnificent! What a terrific event, many thanks to Jane who was such a lovely hostess and to the MV Garden Club. Thank you!" -Colleen
"A big bravo to Jane for hosting the splendid tour of her gardens. I learned so much and now have plenty of ideas I would like to try on my own property. I have a new appreciation of common, native species and am also intrigued enough to hunt for the lesser known Peanut Butter bush and the Wedding Gown Hydrangea. Thank you for the invaluable handouts. I extend a hearty bravo to both gracious Jane and the MV Garden Club." -Pam & Chip