Chaffee Garden Party

Chaffee Garden Party

You’re invited to a Garden Party on Saturday, July 22, 1–3pm on the grounds of the Chaffee Art Center!

It’s Free with lots of fun activities, demos and speakers, light refreshments, garden tours, Castleton Ukulele Group will play some old favorites and more. Artisans will be set up selling affordable, handmade items. Explore the 100 x 9 foot Pollinator Garden with native plantings, growing Sculpture Garden, beautiful outdoor area with expanded grass section, and over a dozen gardens on our historic property. Be sure to come inside our 1890s Queen Anne Victorian Mansion full of art, gift ideas and stunning architecture.

Speakers/Demos to date:

1:15pm…Rutland Garden Club flower arranging demo using perennial flowers.  Learn about perennial flower utilization beds.

1:45pm…Bee the Change will present and give out a FREE native plant to attendees (while supplies last)

2pm…Vermont Center for Ecostudies will present a talk on native bees in VT with a show & tell

2:30pm…Rutland County Audubon Society “Wildlife habitat protection and connection”

Ongoing…Pollinator Garden Tours by gardener and Board member, Michelle Hartline.

Plus, The VT Bee Lab will have a Drop off Bee Sample Station

The VT Bee Lab provides diagnostic services, free of charge, to any Vermont beekeeper looking to evaluate the health of their colonies. They have drop boxes located throughout the state. Instructions for sample collection and submission can be found at

Garden History:

In summer 2022, we began the project of restoring the beauty of our historic grounds to match the magnificence of the mansion architecture. One part of the project was to create a Pollinator Garden of native flowers and bushes thanks to a grant from the Rutland County Audubon Society. To do this, it took an army of volunteers…thanks to everyone who made this possible!

It began with excavation by Kurt Hathaway of a 40 x 46 foot section of knotweed, as well as a 100 x 9 foot area, and a 60 x 18 foot area. Markowski Excavating donated topsoil for these areas. Volunteers planted a huge number of native plants and bushes. The 100-foot trellis fence was installed behind the pollinator garden by GE Volunteers, prepped by Rutland City and South Rotary Clubs.

Another part of this project was to create a Sculpture Garden. A 70-foot section of trellis fencing was installed by GE Volunteers, with more native plants and bushes planted among sculptures, in front is a large grass area perfect for an outdoor gathering, and to be used as an outdoor classroom for camps and classes.

Along with the new gardens, we enhanced the three gardens close to the back of the mansion creating a rain garden complete with its own potting bench; a butterfly garden; and the third got a new spirea bush and hostas. In front of the mansion are 6 gardens. The Rutland Garden Club has for years done their magic with the front four gardens closest to Route 7. We added some plants and bushes to the gardens closest to the building, planting a few rose bushes behind our stunning hydrangea’s original to the property.  There are a few more gardens along the driveway lush with ferns and flowers, and one with peonies original to the property.

We hope you enjoy a stroll outside through the beautiful gardens, and plan to visit the Chaffee during Open Hours to experience the beauty of the 1890’s historic building and the wonderful works of art throughout, plus our Gallery Shoppe! While here, picture your next event, bridal shower, wedding, meeting or retreat being held in our stunning 1890’s mansion, fondly known by its first owners as Sunny Gables.

Schools, Groups and Visitors: We created these outdoor spaces for the community and visitors to enjoy while they learn about native plants, bushes and pollinator gardens. They can be used as an educational tool for area schools and bus groups, visitors as well.

Volunteers welcome! We would love to have help with weeding and keeping these amazing gardens looking spectacular. Check out and the Chaffee Art Center Instagram and Facebook pages for updates on events, classes and more. Call 802.775.0356, [email protected], or stop in to the Chaffee Art Center at 16 South Main Street in Rutland, VT. Summer Hours: Wednesday and Thursday Noon to 7pm; Friday Noon to 5pm; and Saturday 10am to 2pm. Private appointments available by request.