It’s become one of the most anticipated events of the summer, and from what we know about this year’s offering, it certainly will not disappoint.
The 17th Annual Barrington Country Garden & Antique Faire runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, June 16, through Saturday June 17. Early buying commences at 8:30 a.m. on Friday only for those who want to get the best picks of antiques and garden decor.
Favorites from past years, including garden party vignettes, the French Market, Avant Garden, luxury boutique, and home and garden presentations, return. But let’s face it, what you really want to know is which of the Barrington’s area’s finest gardens will be open for the tour.
Event founder Vicky Wauterlek gave us a sneak preview of this year’s fabulous garden offerings.
Developed over 20 years, the first garden is an imaginative landscape filled with garden rooms. A grand terraced limestone courtyard is brimming with containers, a fountain, and an embedded jardiniere. The pool area features stone outcroppings, diving perches, and irregular patio edges that visually knit plants to water. On display in the pool terrace garden are a variety of perennial grasses, blooming bushes, rare wisteria vines, and a whimsical grouping of raised vegetable planters made from repurposed concrete pipes. Beyond the pool, visitors will note a beautiful black bespoke gateway of iron and wood that beckons to yet another garden room—the chess terrace. A human sized chess board, where rooks, pawns, bishops, and knights are replaced by garden ornaments and flower pots, is integrated into the center lawn. Encircling the game board are borders of lush pachysandra punctuated with small round boxwood. Taller perennials and grasses soften and conceal a necessary feature for every garden space—the custom designed compost bin.
Designed by John Staab of The Brickman Group, the second offering sprawls across a 10-acre estate, featuring everything from formal, terraced gardens to carefree cottage borders. The gardens surrounding the main house include English style boxwood gardens and a brick path lined with perennials and yews. The back of the home includes an elaborate bird feeding system where different breeds of birds enjoy the tasty treats provided. A gravel lane leads through the pool parterre and into the formal garden, where an ornate pavilion covers distinctive perennials, annuals, grasses and roses—all in bloom. There is also a French-inspired potager garden. Finally, cottage gardens bordering the 19th Century farmhouse and guesthouse are sure to inspired new possibilities for your own garden.
One of the highlights of this year’s tour is the inclusion of the famous train gardens of North Barrington, designed and built by the “Train Lady,” Elaine Silets. Visitors will meander through an expansive yard, exploring rose gardens, a Snoopy topiary, and pool. Pause at the red bridge for the first glimpse of the garden train as it wanders through four waterfalls, apple blossom impatiens, miniature trees, and a pond filled with lily pads. The tour also includes a Sunken Water Garden, Gazebo Rose gardens, and a Sunken Formal Potager Garden with a collection of whimsical birdhouses. But the real star of the property is the internationally famous “Gloree and Tryumfent” Garden Railway. Toy trains glide among 6,000 square feet of miniature waterfalls, streams, lakes, bridges, trestles, and themed vignettes, all replete with bright annuals, perennials, and miniature trees of every description. Leave enough time to visit the Harvey Silets Memorial Railway Museum. Housed in a replica of a Lionel Rico train station, The Great Wandering Tree Railroad tours through a replica of the city of Chicago and other familiar landmarks.
Barrington Country Garden & Antique Faire is at 600 Hart Road with tour shuttles leaving from Barrington High School. Tickets are $45 through June 11, $55 June 12 and after. An $80 early buy ticket allows you to shop the French Market and Avant Garden before the Garden Faire opens. Tickets can be purchased at several local retailers or at handsofhopeonline.org. For more information, call 847-381-7367.