There is a slice of paradise in downtown Easton if you know where to look. The Talbot Historical Society gardens, off Washington Street and Glenwood Avenue, are award-winning and spectacularly gorgeous. They make for a tranquil place for an outdoor lunch, a haven for plein-air painters, and a scenic backdrop for weddings and special events. The one-acre gardens were created and are maintained through a partnership between the historical society and the Talbot County Garden Club.
“We have photographers and artists in the gardens every week; we have hundreds and hundreds of visitors and tourists who come through,” said Larry Denton, executive director of the historical society. “It is a true gem in downtown Easton and we couldn’t do it, it wouldn’t be possible, without the Talbot County Garden Club.”
Artist Claude Monet said that his garden was his most beautiful masterpiece. The master work in the society’s gardens features mature boxwood, a terraced shade garden, an herb garden, fully established perennial beds, and fruit and flowering trees. But they didn’t get that way overnight and it takes creativity, hard work, and time to keep them looking like they do now.
Trish Reynolds joined the garden club in 1996 and has been a co-chairman of the Talbot County Historical Society Garden Committee ever since. The other three committee co-chairmen are Joey Frankos, Janet Mackey, and Caroline Rugg. There are 26 women on the committee and between April and the first week in November, they are working in the gardens at least twice a month, every other Tuesday — weeding, trimming, mulching, and planting, as well as determining the design and direction of the gardens.
The society was founded in 1954, and its partnership with the garden club goes back nearly as far. The two groups have worked together for decades to bring a place of quiet beauty to downtown Easton. It takes considerable time, effort and resources to create and tend a one-acre garden. As Rudyard Kipling said, “Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh, how beautiful!’ and sitting in the shade.” But it’s a labor of love for the garden club and a design that has been worked out and improved over the years.
“There have been a few key thrusts of the current garden,” said Reynolds. “The north terrace was redesigned in 1998. The Huxley Herb Garden was redesigned in 2017. And the perennial garden beds are being constantly redesigned and worked over time. There will also be the installation of a totally new garden of the Glenwood Avenue wall, which is a replica of (a) cemetery wall of the historic Wye House.”
The gardens are there to be enjoyed — they are open and free to the public seven days a week during daylight hours. They are located between Tharpe Antiques and the Neall House Galleries on Washington Street, and they can be rented for weddings and other private events.
Accessibility is part of the beauty. Anyone coming to downtown Easton to eat, to shop or to take a break during lunch hour can transform or brighten their day with a brush with nature. And that’s why the gardens are there and why the historical society and the garden club put such care and effort into maintaining them.
“We want to encourage people to come and spend some quiet time there — there are places to sit, have lunch, or bring a friend,” Reynolds said. “We hope people enjoy the beauty of it, it is a hidden gem in this community and should be enjoyed by many.”