Barre backyard features train, trestle, tunnel – and gorgeous gardens

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 June 2013 at 12:00 am

Seven sites featured on ‘Garden Tour’ on July 13

Photos by Tom Rivers – Gary Wilson leads a group on a train ride at a garden in Barre he has created the past 34 years with his wife Doreen.

Doreen Wilson is pictured with the S-shaped Weeping Atlas Cedar, part of a 2-acre landscape at the Wilson property on Route 31A.

BARRE – For 34 years Gary and Doreen Wilson have nurtured flowers and trees, stacked stone to create old English walls, and designed 16 gardens in their backyard.

Mr. Wilson built a miniature train with a gas engine and laid 1,000 feet of track that weaves between trees, goes under a tunnel covered in flowers and vegetation, and circles the lush landscape.

The Wilsons have happily shared the space with their grandchildren and friends. On July 13 they will open it to the public as part of the fifth annual Garden Tour organized by the Master Gardeners.

“It’s a lot of work,” Mr. Wilson said tonight while giving a preview of the tour. “We enjoy sharing it. Otherwise what’s the point?”

He gave train rides to visitors this evening. The train is a 2 ¼ scale model of a steam engine. Wilson pulls three cars, two gandolas and one box car with the train.

The track passes along the banks of Otter Creek, and goes over a trestle bridge.

The tunnel for the train is covered with wisteria, yellow trumpet vine and autumn clematis.

The property also features raised beds, an organic vegetable garden, and compost piles. The site was picked the fourth best garden in the world in a 2009 contest by the Walker Lawn Mower Company. Walker published an annual “Beautiful Places” calendar the Wilsons’ backyard was featured.

The Wilsons are one of seven stops of the Garden Tour, which runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on July 13. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased through the Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Other stops on the tour include Paul and Joyce Beatenbough of Lyndonville, Anne Smith of Lyndonville, Tom Wenhold of Lyndonville, Brown’s Berry Patch with berry demonstrations in Waterport, Ginny Byers of Kendall and Gertrude Hauck of Kendall.

For more information, call the Extension at 798-4265.

Gary Wilson likes to share his garden. “Otherwise what’s the point?”