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The history of the MG - click on the MG graphic above for the video!

For the Good of the Order


I can’t remember the last time I was so dismayed, disappointed and embarrassed at the turn out, only 6 people showed up…Thank you Andre DelaChevrotiere, Paul Angelico, Ed Cooke, Jack Daniels, Jim Vibert and Bob Howard.
Only a few people in the courant membership know the significance of what we have done at Harkness and what it means to the park, and the State of CT.
While looking for a new location for our car gathering, I happened upon Harkness in the winter of 1994, the mansion was boarded up and the gardens were bare. After meeting with the ranger, I learned the “closed for renovation” sign had been in place for 10 years, and the only money the state gave him for the gardens was $80.00 a year for PREEN to keep the weeds out. I was stunned! After a lot of research, I discovered these were REALLY important gardens not only for the State, but for the entire country, having been designed by the noted landscape architect, Beatrix Farrand. With my ability to buy plants wholesale, I approached the MG club with an idea…Would they be interested in planting and restoring the gardens. The response was overwhelming! So, with the help of Ted Tetreault, the ranger, we dug out the original plans and I schlepped over 7000 plants from green houses all over New England, and then with the help of about fifty volunteers from the club, planted the gardens for first time in over ten years. Still to this day, I consider it to be one of most important things I’ve ever done. With this replanting of the gardens came some well deserved recognition and eventually the State’s interest in restoring the mansion. (At one point they were considering knocking it down). We were awarded the Governors Green Circle Award for our volunteer work. Unfortunately, when Mary Harkness died in 1950, she didn’t leave a trust for the upkeep, and because of the State cut-backs, the park has depended on the CT MG CLUB for their generous donation of both money and more importantly, their time. We have always had a great relationship with the park, and I hope this will continue for many years to come…but, it’s not going to happen without volunteers. This small club has made significant impact on making Harkness once again, one of GEMS of CT.

Thank you,
Annie Wincze