In approximately 1655, in Much Haddam, England, money was raised to send Nicholas Ackley to “the colonies” to establish a Congregational Church.
In 1662, he built himself a “stout” barn and installed a 26-foot-deep, hand dug well in what is now East Haddam, CT.
Three hundred and fifty years later, the original chestnut beams of the barn can be seen in Ballek’s Garden Center.
The farmhouse that houses the gift shop and offices is the third house on its original 1690 foundation. The original well still functions to this day.
Seven generations of Ackleys continued farming with mixed livestock and crops.
The next three generations of Gelstons brought purebred cows, horses, pigs and poultry. In 1969, the dairy herd was sold in order to pursue the greenhouse and garden center business full-time.
The land was enriched and stewarded for future generations.
Today, the garden center’s organic and sustainable growing practices support environmental vitality and soil health. And electricity and hot water are solar-powered.
On July 7 and 8, 2012, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and from 4 p.m. on Sunday, the Ballek’s Garden Center family invites the public to join them in celebrating 350 years of stewardship and a renewed commitment to protect the land for future generations.
At a special event tent, there will be displays on composting, native plants, water conservation, herbs for health, Land Trust and Open Space conservation information, storytelling and more. Tours of the solar array also will be available.
Children’s activities, music, and food vendors are also planned.
The official dedication ceremony will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 7.
For more information, visit the Web site at www.balleksgardencenter.com
Posted July 3, 2012
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