Jeannette Ross photos
Sandi Blaze has been working on her gardens for 15 years and she has quite a bit to show for it.

Her garden is named Pixie Perennials, and visitors may drink it all in when it is open for the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days tour on Saturday, June 2, from 10 to 4. The gardens are at 200 Nod Hill Road. Parking is available in the driveway or on Spruce Meadow, a short walk away. Admission is $7 for members and non-members without tickets purchased in advance. Tickets may be purchased at gardenconservancy.org.

Blaze and her family moved into their 18th-Century house 20 years ago and she started working on the gardens after their fifth year there.

“My dad was a mason,” Blaze told The Bulletin last week, and in addition to the stone facing on part of the house, his work is memorialized in terraces and walkways throughout the property.

One of the selling points of the property was a huge, ancient maple tree. It stood near an area that was all grass. Now it stands near a circular terrace oriented to a hall window on the house. It is surrounded by plantings that include hostas, alliums, boxwood, and climbing vines. An arbor at the other end leads to a barn. Stones — many dug up from all over the property — make up the pathway.

Because the gardens are laid out over a large area, Blaze has created “rooms” focused on lighting, terrain, and plant types. “I try to make little garden rooms so you have points of interest,” she said.

Because she “likes the sound of water,” that is an important element, with either fountains or fish ponds in several locations. Inconspicuously placed lighting illuminates portions of the gardens at night.

One area features a massive climbing hydrangea along a stone wall that will be in bloom for the weekend. In front of it is a bed with plants that “bloom from spring to frost” and also feature different leaf textures, shapes and colors.

A little ways on from that is a granite ledge Blaze uncovered one day with her children. Attempts to turn it into a pond didn’t work, so now it is planted to give the impression of water running along a stream of rock.

As the property slopes downward, Blaze has created a terraced landscape. Sometimes there are grass paths, and sometimes stone paths. Boxwoods lend structure to many of the garden rooms, and they also act as a stairwell of sorts from a fish pond down to another level.

Beyond plantings, Blaze incorporates many man-made elements to offer points of interest and whimsy, including garden statuary such as a family of ducks, a pair of stately dogs, and cherubs; fountains; decorative spigots on the irrigation hoses; stone pedestals; many arbors; and even a Scrabble board embedded in one terrace.

While visitors can enjoy both intimate garden spaces and more open vistas, including a lineup of peonies that will be in bloom this weekend, there is more to Pixie Perennials than flowers. A vegetable garden with a scarecrow that personifies Blaze’s late father with his jaunty mustache and a grove of fruit trees are also part of the property.

Along with the open gardens to entertain guests, Blaze has invited a number of vendors to spend the day:


  • Ellen Hoverkamp, offering scanner photography, note cards and handmade silk scarves.

  • Hello Natural organic goat milk soap.

  • Hook & Ladder Hand Knits with whimsical items made of wool.

  • Nod Hill Designs, offering garden and kitchen aprons.

  • Just Desserts bite-sized custom hand-painted cookies.


Blaze will also offer her own homegrown plants and shrubs.