Monday, March 4, 2024

Hello from Will’s Garden at Shakespeare Park!


Shakespeare Park, 1850 Elm Street

By Anne Lees
Certified Landscape Designer and Master Gardener

Hi! It’s high Summer in Will’s Garden in Shakespeare Park and we are enjoying an amazing bounty of flowers and wildlife. The Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ are in full bloom, and their large white heads create a very nice structure in corners of the garden. They needed some help earlier in July when the heavy rains came. The blooms you see in the pictures have been supported with bamboo stakes.

The perennial Echinacea, Shasta daisies, phlox, day lilies, and Russian sage, plus the annuals that we planted this year are also doing well. You can see some of those annuals in the pictures, like Salvia ‘Black & Blue’ and Cleome ‘Senorita Rosalita.’ Not only are they impressive to look at, they are loved by hummingbirds!

It is lovely to see all of the wildlife that’s attracted to the garden. If you sit for a while on one of the two benches, you’ll spot all the pollinators busy at work, and can watch the little backyard birds enjoying the bird bath! They almost sparkle after their bath! We’re sure they say thank you in their way.

Earlier in July, we had a lot of aphids in the garden. Growing up, we were taught they were the enemy and should be sprayed away!  We decided not to spray them in Will’s Garden this year, and a week after the aphids appeared, along came the ladybug larvae that took care of the aphids right then and there. Nature’s way of managing pests without chemicals — how exciting!!!

Right now, our work in the garden is mainly maintenance, such as deadheading spent flowers and clearing lilies. That’s good, because it’s great to sit back and enjoy the beauty of the flowers and shrubs! It’s really a treat to see families stop by and spend some time in the garden, enjoying Mother Nature.

A few neighbors asked about the heavy rain we’ve had in July. Yes, it was a lot, but the plants are very happy to finally have some good drenching rain. One inch of rain per week is optimal. We had a lot more than that, but we are not complaining!

Although we’re nearing the end of July, it’s still peak for the garden, so try to come for a visit. It’s free to enter and you can stay as long as you like. But don’t worry if you miss it in July—August has a beautiful show too. Happy Gardening!


  1. For those who don’t know where the garden is, this excerpt from a piece titled “The Story of a Magic Garden,” written by Andrea Byrne in 2022 describes the location:
    “There is such a place, you know, And it”s here in Stratford, on Elm Street. Enter the grounds of Shakespeare Park at 1850 Elm Street, and to your right you will see one of the loveliest public gardens in the state. It is a garden with history and celebrity.”


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