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This is going to be a colorful celebration

This is going to be a colorful celebration | Cape Cod HOME Summer 2016

A retired animation and drama teacher at Barnstable High School, Sullivan has an artist’s eye for color and years of experience designing impressive stage sets. So it’s not surprising that he didn’t skimp when creating a landscape at his home. “I started replanting around a newly placed tree,” he says, “but then I expanded the gardens to included five waterfalls, three koi ponds, and a triple-layered garden.”   

Jim Pelletier and Joel Hass’s garden in Barnstable will be of special interest to anyone who has a yard that has grown a bit too wild. Strolling through the garden, visitors can get ideas about what can be accomplished with a thorough cleanup. “We once had an area of our property that was unusable due to the poison ivy, heavy overgrowth, and 29 downed cedar trees,” Pelletier says. “But it is now another tremendous space that we can really enjoy. The special features I hope people experience are the raised vegetable and herb garden, and the islands of cedar trees.”

In contrast to the Pelletier/Hass garden where the land has been developed fairly recently, Steve and Susan Dewey are opening a garden that has been affectionately cared for by four generations. “People always enjoy the fact that our property has been in my husband’s family for almost 100 years,” says Susan, a landscape designer who recently retired from a long career as an editor at Cape Cod Life Publications. “Visitors will see specimens that were planted by Steve’s great grandmother.”

“Our house in Centerville was built in 1736,” Susan adds, “and it’s surrounded by old farmland and surprisingly fertile soil. People will also enjoy the vegetables in our hoop house. We will be on hand to share information about how to grow fresh produce all year round in a structure heated by solar power.”

Those interested in both gardens and art will have multiple opportunities on the tour to savor the mix of sculpture and plants. From the ornate, white birdhouses in Helen McVeigh and Bobby Hallstein’s Yarmouth Port gardens, to the giant dragonfly perched on a tree house in Willow Shire and Jaime daLomba’s Eastham property, creativity abounds.

Entry to each garden costs $5, and the funds will go directly to a wide variety of Cape Cod non-profits. While some of the gardens on the tour have been planted and maintained by professional landscapers, others have been completed solely by the homeowners.

“I’m proud to say that my garden represents the years of work done by a man and his shovel,” Bob King says. “What I love most about my garden is that in spite of the fact that we’re in the middle of the densely populated Sandwich Village, my garden is very private, and something of a hidden oasis.”

One could argue that all of the 90-plus gardens on the hydrangea festival tour are hidden treasures. During the 10-day festival, these normally concealed havens are available for all to experience.

Hydrangea festival—some upcoming events

July 7

The Cape Cod Hydrangea Festival kickoff party will be held Thursday, July 7, at Cape Cod Beer’s headquarters, 1336 Phinneys Lane, Hyannis. The event runs from 6-8 p.m. Attendees can view garden-to-vase arrangements, visit the cash bar, and purchase garden tour tickets directly from various non-profits.

July 8

On Friday, July 8, the Cape Cod Hydrangea Society hosts a morning of talks about Cape Cod’s signature plants. The event features a morning coffee and continental breakfast, three speakers, and informative handouts. The event is held at Barnstable High School’s Knight Auditorium, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Tickets should be purchased in advance at

July 8–July 17

Tour more than 90 gardens across the Cape Cod peninsula, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Addresses and descriptions for open gardens will be posted the week before the festival at

July 8July 17

Heritage Museums and Gardens in Sandwich hosts daily 30-minute walking tours of its hydrangea gardens, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., during the festival. The tours are free with museum admission.

July 12

The Bourne Historical Society hosts a Colonial Garden Tea Tuesday, July 12, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Aptucxet Trading Post Museum, 24 Aptucxet Road, Bourne. Attendees can tour the gardens on site and learn about gardens of the Colonial era. Admission is $5.

July 16

Joan Harrison, the founding president of the Cape Cod Hydrangea Society, will give a talk on her book The Colorful World of Hydrangeas on Saturday, July 16, at 10 a.m., at Soares Flower Garden Nursery, 1021 Sandwich Road, East Falmouth. The author has traveled to England, Wales, France and Ireland to view and photograph these beautiful flowers. A book-signing session follows the free talk.

July 16

Writer C.L. Fornari—the author of this Cape Cod HOME article—will give a talk about her latest book, The Cocktail Hour Garden, Saturday, July 16, from 5-6:30 p.m., at Hyannis Country Garden, 380 West Main Street, Hyannis. The event features a wine tasting and book-signing reception in the store’s Hydrangea Evening garden display.

More events can be found at

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