Sally von Trapp in the gardens of von Trapp Greenhouse in Waitsfield, Vermont.

The summer beauty of the Mad River Valley can be best exemplified through the lush gardens scattered throughout the area. Gardens of vegetables, perennials and annuals -- or combinations of the three -- are most colorful during the month of July. Mad River Valley Arts invites all to share the beauty of six summer gardens as it presents the second annual Garden Tour on July 17. The gardens cover The Valley from Lincoln Gap to East Warren, to the woods and streams of the hills and to the flatlands of the Mad River. Guests can wander all of these grounds and gardens at their leisure.



The gardens vary in size, shapes, textures and colors through various types of plantings but each is unique. Carved from a wild and un-landscaped piece of property, one garden features numerous natural elements such as rocks and a pond with wildflowers and un-mowed areas fostering homes for butterflies, bees and birds. Another garden features a well-groomed vegetable garden, apple trees and views of Lincoln Gap while at a third garden one discovers a charming garden in the woods with a wilderness of hostas and an old stone wall.

A lovely restored 1866 home south of the covered bridge in Warren is surrounded by gardens and vistas of the Mad River. A visit to the von Trapp gardens is a learning experience for any professional or amateur gardener. Ask questions and learn the history of the gardens and the business which has been in The Valley for over 40 years. Another commercial garden is George Schenk’s Interpretive Garden at Lareau Farm designed to produce nutrient-dense foods and flowers used in the Inn and the American Flatbread restaurant. The farm is a study site for the UVM/Vermont Audubon assessment of bird population density and diversity.


Participants can travel from garden to garden in their own cars and on their own timetable between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Tickets and guide map can be purchased at, 802-496-6682 or at Lareau Farm on the day of the event. A ticketed preview party is scheduled for the evening of July 16 and includes a tour ticket for the next day or can be purchased without a tour ticket.

Sunday, July 18, is a special day in the Mad River Valley with a unique event. Celebrate the Return of the Arts is a gala welcoming back of The Valley’s various shows and events after a year’s hiatus due to COVID. The festive event, sponsored by Mad River Valley Arts, takes place within the ninth Green Mountain Watercolor Exhibition held in the galleries of the 1800s restored barn at Lareau Farm. The exhibition features more than 200 outstanding watercolor paintings from across the United States including the first show in New England of miniature watercolor paintings by the Whiskey Painters of America.

The exhibition galleries are open starting at noon on July 18 with the celebration taking place between 5 and 7 p.m. Meet artists, view the paintings and enjoy the food. The free event is great for families as children are welcome. A curator’s talk and walk-through of the exhibition takes place at 7 p.m. Reservations for the talk can be made at 802-496-6682. The Red Barn Galleries are located at Lareau Farm, Route 100, south of Waitsfield.