• The garden continues to evolve and change. Over the years, many of the original plantings succumbed to time and the deer and the planting choices have evolved to deer resistant, low maintenance plants rather than strictly historical plants. Some of the original plants continue to flourish and serve as the 'bones' of the current garden. The large boxwood specimens as well as the Magnolia, Dogwood, Larch, Weeping Cherry, Crab apple, and Rhododendron, continue as 40+ year survivors. .

Ledyard Great Oak ...1925

  • Restoration of historic stone walls.  In  2006, Ledyard Garden Club undertook the restoration of historic 200-years old stone walls enclosing the Great Oak Memorial Garden. The stone walls surrounding the gardens had fallen into disrepair and needed professional restoration.  Over the successive 3-4 years, the Club sponsored and paid for several sections of the surrounding stone walls to be stabilized and rebuilt. The restoration was paid for by the proceeds of the Annual Plant Sales.

   The Ledyard Garden Club....

  • Has maintained the gardens for many years with Spring and Falls cleanups regular weeding during the season.
  • In 1998, the Club received a PETALS grant to edge the garden beds with Belgian block.

Brief History ......

  • The Great Oak Memorial Garden was started as a memorial garden in 1969.
  • Rudy Favretti, Landscape Architect from the University of Connecticut designed the garden to complement the Nathan Lester House.
  • The first funds for the north Shrub Garden were contributed by the friends and family of Elizabeth Parker Avery.
  • The mill wheel and many of the larger pillar rocks were donated by Judge Crandell.
  • The south section of the garden was planned to be an 18th century garden. It is on the site of the garden of a previous owner, Elizabeth Graves Hill.
  • The south garden was planted and financed by four garden clubs: Christy Hill, Gales Ferry, Ledyard, and The Officer Wives, and by Memorial contributions.
  • In the past 40 years the Garden clubs have evolved into the current Ledyard Garden Club.












The Nathan Lester House Gardens

The Great Oak Memorial Gardens are located within the 110-acres of the Great Oak Park, and adjacent to the Nathan Lester House, an 18th century farmhouse located at the intersection of Long Cove and Vinegar Hill roads, and owned by the Town of Ledyard. 
The Nathan Lester House Gardens were planted by and are maintained by the Ledyard Garden Club