A Garden Sanctuary

These beautiful gardens create a space where the homeowners can hide away and relax

Gardening for me is an escape from the stresses of everyday life, a tranquil place to watch the seasons change, observe nature and the animals who enjoy my garden space,” says Gloria Henry of Nashua. Though gardening itself is a way for her to escape stress, the end result is the creation of a gorgeous space within which the Henrys now have a number of places to hide away and relax, from secluded benches for quiet contemplation to patios where they can host guests.

“Gardening is part of my DNA it makes me feel at peace and one with nature,” she continues.  “Oftentimes I will emerge from my house in pajamas with the simple intention of deadheading a few flowers and discover three or four hours later that I am still gardening, but with no remorse.  My love of gardening fulfills my soul, rejuvenates my spirit and satisfies as well as fine tunes my senses.”

You don’t have to be an expert to begin a garden like the one the Henrys have cultivated. As Gloria says, “when you start a garden a lot of it is trial and error.” In fact, she adds that truly pleasurable gardening comes from years (in her case, 30) of trial and error. Some things you plant will thrive in your yard, others will not. Learning what works and what doesn’t is a part of the process.

“You will learn what’s adaptable to your land,” she adds. In 1983 Henry and her husband Paul purchased their home that came with a yard that had, as she describes it, “an overabundance of shade” cast by centuries-old silver maples and oaks. (After the ice storm of 1998, which brought a few trees down, the large east garden in front of the house became the sunniest area.) 

Her ultimate gardening advice to beginners is to “start small and only plant what you personally love that is appropriate for your particular gardening conditions.”

Despite the issues that so much shade can cause, the Henrys could still envision their dream garden. Paul and Gloria designed and implemented garden “rooms” throughout their landscape. Most feature garden benches where they can sit and enjoy the surroundings.

The relaxing area pictured on the opening page is called Reggie’s Garden. Gloria created this space after the death of their 22-year-old son, Reggie, in 1997. “I needed a comforting space to escape to in order to heal,” says Gloria. “Our son loved the outdoors and gardening provided the solace I most needed during such a difficult time.”

The garden area is actually made up of a number of pieces: the north garden to the right of the garage, the east garden in the front of the house, the south garden and the backyard west garden where the Henrys and their six grandchildren spend most of their time.

Here several structures — such as the multi-level decks and brick patio — allow for easy entertaining. For evenings when the bugs disrupt the peace, the Henrys created a gorgeous screened porch with the gas fireplace (see more photos of the garden and the porch online at www.nhmagazine.com/homegarden). The climbing hydrangeas on the pergola and the arching lilac bush over the stairs are favorites of the Henrys. “It took several years for both to flower,” says Gloria. “When they did flower, we were completely aghast.”

The Henrys’ gardens were featured on last year’s Symphony NH Garden Tour. This year’s benefit tour is on June 22 and 23, and will be held rain or shine. Here's more information including which homes will be featured on the 2013 tour:

2013 Friends of Symphony NH Garden Tour
June 22 & 23

$15 at outlets or online; $20 at the garden on day of event only

Gardens on the Tour:

  • Scontsas Garden, 14 Ashland St., Nashua
  • Ewald & Shor Garden, 17 Ashland St., Nashua
  • Dutzy Garden, 18 Swart Terrace, Nashua
  • Hughes Garden, 5 Anthony Circle, Nashua
  • Woodward Garden, 36 Hampton Dr., Nashua
  • Berberian & Kiroac Garden, 247 Farley Rd.
  • The Hunt Community, 10 Allds St., Residents’ garden, plus refreshments will be served

More Garden Tours

Pocket Gardens of Portsmouth

This year marks South Church’s 24th annual Pocket Gardens of Portsmouth Tour. Take a behind-the-scenes look at a diverse selection of 11 gardens. $20 in advance, $23 for the weekend tour. Free Parking. June 21st 5 p.m.- 8 p.m. and June 22nd 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. Portsmouth NH North Mill Pond District. Visit the Portsmouth Pocket Garden Tour Facebook page for more information.

Beyond the Garden Gate Tour

This spring’s annual South Congregational Church garden tour, entitled “Beyond the Garden Gate, The Fourth Annual Tour of Special Gardens,” will be held on Saturday, June 22 from 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. rain or shine! 

Special gardens in Concord and Chichester will participate in the tour, including one of NH Home Magazine’s featured “Gardens that Dazzle!” Proceeds will support local Concord community organizations, particularly those that deal with the issues of hunger and homelessness, as well as maintenance of the church’s own gardens.

Tickets may be pre-purchased for a discounted $18 before June 15 at www.southchurchconcord.org or bought online after June 15 for $25. Tickets can also be purchased the day of the event for $25 at South Congregational Church, 27 Pleasant Street, Concord from 9 a.m.-10:30 a.m., cash or check only. Tickets for seniors are $15 if pre-purchased and $22 after June 15. Go to www.southchurchconcord.org  and click on the Garden Tour link for more information.

New Castle Village Walk & Garden Tour

Self guided walking tour of private gardens in historic New Castle. All proceeds benefit the artistic and educational programs of Pontine Theatre. Rain or shine. $15 in advance, $20 at door. 1 p.m.- 4:30 p.m. Tours depart from Coast Guard Station off Route 1B, New Castle. Click here or email info@pontine.org for more information.

Celia Thaxter’s Garden Tours

Each tour will have 35 participants and will be transported to and from Appledore Island on the R/V Gulf Challenger. Lunch is included. Must be 18 years or older. $100 per person. Free parking. There are seven tours scheduled between June 29 and August 10.  Tour starts at 29 Wentworth Rd., New Castle. Click here for reservations and more information.

Opechee Garden Club
A self-guided tour of several Lakes Region gardens featuring themed table settings, music, “plein air” artists, and Fairy Houses. Tickets include a luncheon at the Gilford Community Church on Potter Hill Rd in Gilford Village. After lunch, browse Sheilah's Garden Boutique and take chances on raffle items. $25. 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. Click here or call (603)-630-9219 for more information.

Categories: Features