Following last year’s Bradford Garden Tour, Dan and Sandy O’Brien thought they would likely downsize the elaborate garden at their Forman Street home because of the work involved.
The O’Briens not only didn’t downsize their beautiful garden on Forman Street, but instead “upsized” it and are now regularly showing it off to local and out-of-town visitors.
“I’ve tried to put in a lot of variegated hostas so I didn’t have to plant so many annuals,” Dan O’Brien said on Wednesday prior to showing the property to the Jamestown (N.Y.) Garden Club. “I still like annuals, but it gets to be a ton of work.”
Sandy O’Brien noted they’ve reduced the number of annuals from approximately 900 to 700 plants, which embellish their 1,000 or more perennials, give or take. He takes care of the weeding and other needs around the garden, while she waters the plants.
The O’Briens, who have been residents of the downtown neighborhood for close to 60 years, have created a beautiful garden in the front, backyard and side yard of their historic home. Dan O’Brien, who is a semi-retired 80-something-year-old, has been cultivating the garden since the 1980s and first showed it to the public during the 1999 Betty Jane Monjar Garden Tour. The aptly named “Enchanted Garden,” which also comprises a coy fish pond, gazebo, garden tables, paths, a sound system and lights, hit its zenith when it won first place in the show during the 2018 Bradford Garden Tour.
The garden continues to impress current visitors, just as it did during last year’s garden tour.
This was evidenced as 15 women with the Jamestown club disembarked from their cars and club member Alison Churchill exclaimed “Oh my goodness, look at this,” after seeing just the front garden of the home.
“This is so nice of (the O’Briens) to let us come and tour this because our garden club goes to see a lot of things,” Churchill said.
Patty Idzik, president of the Jamestown Garden Club, said she was “greatly impressed and inspired” by the O’Brien’s garden.
“I’ve got to go home now,” Idzik added with a laugh. “I’ve got stuff to do” at the home garden.
Dan O’Brien said they connected with the Jamestown group through his daughter-in-law, Nancy O’Brien, who is a member of that organization. The couple also has been visited by garden clubs in Warren, as well as from the Salamanca/Allegany (N.Y.) Garden Club.
When asked why he continues to cultivate his garden, and work part time for a couple of grocery companies when he could be enjoying his retirement years, Dan O’Brien replied, “It’s just a hobby and I enjoy it — it keeps me out of mischief or whatever.”
The couple said they would be happy to show the garden to other garden groups, clubs or individuals. They can be reached at 362-7787.