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Go try it: Humming along the hummingbird trail in Franklin

  • A female hummingbird floats around a bee balm flower at Tarbin Gardens in West Franklin along Route 127 on Tuesday, July 31, 2018. The flower is one of the top draws for hummingbirds. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Jane and Peter Fairchild of Concord walk along the garden path after watching hummingbirds for an hour and having a picnic lunch at Tarbin Gardens off Route 127 in West Franklin on Tuesday, July 31, 2108. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • A collection of lilies sits along the path at Tarbin Gardens in West Franklin along Route 127. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Jacky Tarbin of Tarbin Gardens in West Franklin on Tuesday, July 31, 2018. Tarbin and her son Richard have owned the English landscape-style garden for the past 15 years. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Tarbin Gardens in West Franklin was started 15 years ago by Jacky and Richard Tarbin based on the concept of an English landscape-style garden. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Tours of Turbin Gardens in West Franklin are self-guided. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • The tours around Tarbin Gardens in West Franklin are self-guided. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff



Monitor staff
Sunday, August 05, 2018

Jane and Peter Fairchild of Concord sat in silence across from a patch of bee balm flowers, waiting and watching. Not even an occasional car from nearby Route 127 broke their tranquility, spent a world away from the stress and strain of modern life, even in New Hampshire.

This day was for hummingbirds. And the joys of a simple garden.

“There are the big ones, but there are tiny hummingbirds too, small like a bee,” said Jane as they gathered up their picnic lunch and headed up the natural garden path, holding hands along the way after an hour sitting on a bench.

For Jacky Tarbin of Tarbin Gardens in West Franklin, mission accomplished.

Tarbin, along with her son, Richard, owns 5 acres of a peaceful, English landscape-style garden along Route 127.

“It’s a place where people wander through and socialize and relax and that is the whole idea of what a garden should be, and it’s why we call it, ‘tranquility defined,’ ” Tarbin said.

The Tarbins started this garden experience 15 years ago, modeled after an English queen who had to downsize.

“The design started in the reign of Queen Anne, who came to the throne after the Dutch monarchies in England where the gardens were all laid in geometric patterns and required an army of gardeners,” Jacky said.

“But after the wars that England had incurred, the treasury was empty, so she had to economize. So they came up with the idea of letting things go natural, and that is where the landscape-style started,” she added.

On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, that means a paid, self-guided tour and a chance to see hummingbirds do their thing. The Tarbins provide a map that shows featured areas throughout the gardens. All plants are labeled as well.

The detailed identifications are necessary, according to Jacky, who’s from Kent, England.

“We used to do guided tours a long time ago,” she said, “but the gardens have grown but the staff has not. Richard does all the maintenance and he didn’t have time to do two-hour tours, so we stopped that and decided to do self-guided tours.”

It’s a chance for people to take a quiet walk along a path surrounded by plants and flowers, ponds and small benches.

“People can follow the numbers around the paths and get to the different areas of the garden, with as many of the plants as possible labeled.” Jacky said. “If people still can’t identify something, they can take a picture and we can tell them what it is.”

Even though the property has more room to grow, Jackie said thy’re growing plenty in the garden they have.

“We have more acres on the property, but we are not expanding anymore,” Tarbin said laughing. “It’s too much to take care of.”

There seems to be enough there already.

“If people leave here happy and relaxed, we’re happy too,” she said.

The gardens are open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through September. It’s also open on Monday holidays.