A growing tradition: Dunbarton sculptor hosts seventh annual arts & gardens festival
Sculptor Patricia Dooley Murphy and her husband Richard have opened their home and gardens to host the Dunbarton Arts and Gardens Festival for seven years. (PHOTOS BY NANCY BEAN FOSTER)
Liz Hebbel's miniature gardens, on display at the Dunbarton Arts and Gardens Festival, give everyone a chance to grow a green thumb.
Murphy, who creates a variety of medium-sized sculpture including fascinating heads that can be used as planters, bird baths, and Buddhas, said she began the festival seven years ago as a way to showcase her art.
She then invited a juried gathering of artists, artisans, farmers and even bakers to participate in the show, bringing together like-minded people with different aesthetics.
"People need a place to sell their work," said Murphy, "and we like to show off our gardens, so it's a win-win for everyone."
Murphy, who wears many hats, is a horticulturalist with a degree in fine arts and another in the history of landscaping. She also loves old houses.
She has certainly brought all of those things together at the couple's historic Dunbarton property. Out front, the home reveals classic New England charm, but in the back of the house, pathways weave through sun and shade, adorned with an immense variety of plants and Murphy's artwork.
"I spend hours every day working in the gardens," she said. "It's unbelievable the reaction we get from people."
During the fair, there are plenty of classic and unique things for the garden on sale.
There are perennials, annuals, and hanging baskets by the dozen, and miniature gardens built in recycled pots.
Liz Hebbel of Concord offers her Happy Returns garden art made of found glass that can create fascinating focal points in any garden.
Another whimsical recycler is Steven Manning, who has taken forsaken cutlery and turned it into amazing wind chimes, wall art, even jewelry.
Karen Steuer features her natural, botanical artisan soaps and toiletries made in her Lyndeborough home, and Karen Mitchell of Mont Vernon brings her own unique jewelry to the fair.
There are baskets, baubles, even bread made by Alison Ladman, owner of Crust & Crumb Baking Company which makes its home at the Canterbury Shaker Village.
The fair began last weekend and continues this Saturday and Sunday, May 12-13, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
on Route 13 in Dunbarton Village.
This weekend's activities will also include food, live music and of course, plenty of time to explore the Murphy's gardens.
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