I recently taught a class through the Brewster Community Learning Center about Putnam’s history and hikes. One of the things I like about giving talks and lectures is that I always seem to pick up leads on new places to go. This class was no exception.
Two students in my class told me about the Garden of Ideas in Ridgefield, CT. I knew OF the place, since I had passed it every day to and from my way to work when I worked in Ridgefield, but I never knew anything about it, and never took the time to stop and investigate.
So last weekend, we piled into the car to go check it out. What a great place! A beautiful garden with a maze of trails on eight acres of property, we enjoyed the hour or so that we spent there.
To be honest, we started out not knowing how big it was (I didn’t do a lot of research ahead of time), and we were worried we would get lost on the trails and have to find out way out. We realized rather quickly that the worry was unfounded, the twists and turns of the paths seemed to all interconnect, and within no time we picked up the lay of the land.
I am not a plant specialist, so I can’t tell you what was planted where, but I can tell you it is obvious that a great deal of work goes into creating and maintaining this property, and the grounds were beautiful.
While we were exploring, we ran into the owner and conversed with him briefly. How happy was I to find out that he owns the Adventures Around Putnam book I published in 2011, and has used it to find some great spots in Putnam County.
There are a number of sculptures scattered throughout the park, as well as poetry on stones and wood. There is a boardwalk that goes over a marsh, a large chicken coup, a fire ring, some outbuildings and more.
The garden is obviously a labor of love for those involved. In fact, it got its start as a family garden, and grew over time into what it is today.
If you find yourself in Ridgefield, stop by the Garden of Ideas. You won’t be disappointed.
For more info, visit www.gardenofideas.com. There is no charge to visit the garden, but they do accept donations. It is open year-round, from 8am to dusk.
The address is 653 North Salem Road, Ridgefield, Connecticut 06877. They are located on Route 116 (North Salem Road) in Ridgefield, 1.3 miles from the New York/Connecticut border, and just past the Ridgefield Middle/High School. If you are coming from downtown Ridgefield, the garden is about three miles northwest of the town village (where Routes 35 & 116 meet). Look for the white & green sign.