Lectures will examine history of house and garden in Westminster West

Three lectures on the history of the Gordon and Mary Haywards's House and Garden will be presented at the Congregational Church in Westminster West at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday evenings, Feb. 18 and 25 and March 3.

On Feb. 18, the Haywards will explore the history of what is, since 1983, their house, originally built by the Ranney family ca. 1790.

First, Westminster historian Jessie Haas will offer context of the early history of Westminster West Village, and start the evening talking about the life and the buildings in the village around 1790. Then, for 40 minutes or so, Gordon and Mary will present an illustrated talk about the history of their house with images of the process of restoring the house and its one remaining attached barn.

On Feb. 25, the Haywards will discuss their three sources of inspiration as they developed the early stages of their new garden. This lecture will focus on how a living garden grows out of the lives of the gardeners as well as the place where they garden: It will include attributes of the original farmyard; discussion of the farms on which Mary and Gordon grew up, in the Cotswolds of England and in Connecticut, respectively; and Hidcote Manor Garden, designed by an American who lived across a field from the hamlet Mary grew up in, recorded in The Domesday Book of 1086.

The series concludes on March 3, when the Haywards will walk the audience through a Powerpoint presentation of their four-season, 1 1/2-acre garden to illustrate universal garden design principles that can be employed in any number of ways by anyone in their own home gardens. Of the three lectures, this is the one most filled with practical information for those who garden.

To preview some of the content of these talks, go to, or read their book, The Intimate Garden, published by W. W. Norton.

This Arts item was submitted to The Commons.

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates