King's Garden to open; original species return

TICONDEROGA The 10th anniversary season of the Kings Garden at Fort Ticonderoga opens June 1 and celebrates with the reintroduction of an additional 15 species from the original 1921 inventory. Marian Cruger Coffin, designer of many formal gardens, including Winterthur, specified 97 different plants to go inside the stately brick walls and efforts have been underway for 10 years to bring the Kings Garden collection back to a similar variety. Along with 6,500 hundred freshly-planted annuals and perennials to greet visitors, self-guided tours may be taken at any time and staff-guided tours are offered daily. During July and August the Kings Garden will host a daily afternoon performance by the Fort Ti Fife & Drum Corps. Starting on the parade grounds at the fort the corps will lead the public down a new path, through the alle_f trees and into the gardens. The parade is followed by an introduction to the history and horticulture of the gardens and the Pavilion area by a staff member. Hands-on Horticulture program will also be given daily in July and August to guests who are interested in learning more about gardening techniques. The topics will vary through the season as the plantings mature but are sure to include design, division, and deadheading among others. The Natives, Invaders, and Pioneers tour will also proceed daily around the peninsula. It includes a 45 minute trail walk that highlights the plant species that have crept into the landscape over the centuries. Sturdy footwear is recommended for this tour. Invasive species are also in the spotlight this year with three opportunities for visitors to help with their eradication. On June 12 and July 3 Fort staff will attack the noxious garlic mustard on site from 10 a.m. to noon. Another aggressive foe, water chestnut, will be attacked July 24 when volunteers join The Nature Conservancy near the mouth of the La Chute River below the fort. Canoes and equipment will be provided for all and registration is required for the project. People can call (802) 265-8645 x22 to register. Families and children can again look forward to the demonstration gardens that feature the Salsa Spot, the Pickle Patch, a bean tunnel and a mini corn maze. Fun with veggies and flowers also include self-guided activities like scavenger hunts, a family discovery box and watercolors on weekends. Groups are welcome and can arrange visits through the fort office. There are many anniversaries at the fort this year. It is the 100th season of the fort being open to the public and Fort Ticonderoga celebrates the 250th anniversary of the French & Indian War June 24 through July 8 with a host of special activities. The exhibit Face of War: Triumph and Tragedy at Ticonderoga, 1758-1759 opens July 6 in the new Mars Education Center, the first new exhibition in over 50 years. The new facility brings the fort back to its original 1755 plan and finally allows access to the terreplein level of the fort and the second floor exhibits to handicapped guests. The Kings Garden is open daily from 10-4 through Oct. 13. For information call 585-2821 or go online at www.fort-ticonderoga.org

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