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Finding Eden

Freeing the weeds also freed his mind



Photos by Rana Faure

For Ken Eisold, the garden was remedial. In fact, the psychoanalyst would argue that all gardening is an exercise in empowerment. His Ridgefield landscape needed all the help it could receive when he began battling the prevailing poison ivy, grape vines, and all things aggressive in residence 30 years ago. In return, he found strength, peace, and beauty. Given all the blood, sweat, and tears lavished on his 12-plus acres, it might seem that his land reaped the lion’s share of rewards from their relationship. To the contrary, Dr. Eisold now feels strongly and vocally that he is the blissful benefactor from the exchange.

Forging a garden was not first on the agenda for Eisold. Although Ken and his wife Barbara spent weekends and summers at the house they built on land inherited from Barbara’s family 55 years ago, they did not extend their Fairfield County experience outwards at first. “Basically, it was impenetrable,” Eisold sums up the imposing adversary of tangled vines in the hinterlands beyond the immediate footprint of the house.

Thirty years ago, while successfully switching gears from a teacher to a clinical psychoanalyst, a newly emboldened Dr. Eisold decided to undertake what he assumed would be a one-sided exercise in muscling the landscape into fruition. As it turned out, he found a bounty of well-being while gaining ground.

Phrases like “It was an interlude of inner discovery,” “Thanks to the activity, I could retreat into myself,” and “Working with the land was liberating” just roll off the psychoanalyst’s tongue.

Clearly, Eisold was having the time of his life while proceeding foot by foot to eradicate all manner of snarling foes from the former farm. And his observations are obviously not merely in hindsight, because the intrepid pioneer kept the cleanup right on going until he reached the stream that gurgles parallel to the house.

In fact, he ultimately installed bridges to include the far shore in the composition. But the cleanup was just the beginning, because once he made that handshake with the land, he intensified it into an embrace. At some point, he realized that a lush, wide, and floriferous perennial border running the length of the stream would be the most fitting “thank you” to his therapeutic land. 

The long, sumptuous border that resulted from the win/win relationship is nothing short of Impressionistic art. In direct contradiction to the typical foundation planting hugging a house, a victorious Eisold focused his efforts on the farthest reaches of his cleanup accomplishment. Of course, the trees that he had freed from the strangle of vines were left intact.

In fact, the newly rescued trees—including a series of gnarled apples (Eisold guesses that the property once boasted a full-fledged orchard) were lovingly pruned back into shape as part of the project. But he also installed a curvaceous border along the stream. 

His installation required some remedial action of sand and fresh topsoil underfoot due to drainage issues when water found its way down to the bottomland and settled toward thestream. To make doubly sure the perennials don’t get swamped, a smart pebble gully (“Not perceptible from a distance”) along the slate tile edging sends the water flowing away from the perennials. 

In keeping with the close relationship he had established with the land, Eisold chose the plants personally. His criterion for selection? Strictly from the heart. He frequented local nurseries, picked up whatever appealed, and adopted it into the landscape. 

He admitted that an affinity for flowers was the starting point. “I began with the naïve idea that the key element would be blossoms.”

And flowers are still part of the dialogue. “I’m crazy about peonies,” he admits, “they are an expression of my repressed flamboyant nature.”

But then he also began to see the harmony of form, shape, and texture in foliage. The therapist finds the “jungly quality” of large leaves to be particularly alluring. And he realized that interrelationships are not just a human state of affairs. “Plants set each other off. Their differences make the scene come alive.” 

In the final analysis, the garden has grown into an incredibly engaging pageant that makes your heart race and yet soothes your soul. The garden now weaves back and forth in a waltz with the brook, offering frequent benches, a rustic gazebo, vine-bowered pergolas (featuring good vines rather than invasives), and all manner of seduction.

Rather than heart-racing, it’s totally tranquil. It is the epitome of calm andpeaceful. Ken Eisold has learned a lot about life and how to heal. At his Ridgefield home, he practices it with nature.

 

 

 

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July 2018

Have tea with a former first lady! Join the Norwalk Historical Society on Sunday, July 15, 2018 at 2:00pm for a Summer Tea with Abigail Adams at the Townhouse at Mill Hill Historic Park....

Cost: $40 - $45

Where:
Mill Hill Historic Park - Town House
2 East Wall St.
Handicapped parking on site only. All others follow signs to overflow parking across the street.
Norwalk, CT  05851
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Historical Society
Telephone: 203-846-0525
Contact Name: Samantha Kulish-Fargione
Website »

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Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 titicus road
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Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
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Cost: free

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Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
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Cost: $12.50

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The Ridgefield Playhouse
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Sponsor: The Ridgefield Playhouse
Telephone: (203) 438-5795
Contact Name: Vania Saintfery
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Cost: Adults $10; children 12 & under $5.

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Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

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Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
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Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
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Cost: Free

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66 Elm Street
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Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
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Sponsor: Keeler Library
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Cost: $125

Where:
Red Bee Honey
Weston, CT  06883


Sponsor: Red Bee Honey
Contact Name: Emily Sabo, Events Manager
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Cost: $15-17

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Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
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Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

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Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Burn Baby Burn”, a group exhibition featuring works by Kathleen Kucka, Dennis...

Cost: Free

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Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
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Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
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Cost: free

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Keeler Library
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Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

Make and decorate your own house for fairies! July 12th and 19th at 4:00 PM You are welcome to one or both sessions For kids in grades Kindergarten and up. Younger children need to have...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
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View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
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Cost: $125

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Sponsor: Red Bee Honey
Contact Name: Emily Sabo, Events Manager
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Cost: Free

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Lewisboro Library
15 Main St
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Sponsor: Dr. Somesh N. Kaushik
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Contact Name: Dr. Somesh N. Kaushik
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Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
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Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
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Cost: Free

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Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
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Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
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Cost: Free

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Keeler Library
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Sponsor: Keeler Library
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Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
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Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
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Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
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Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
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Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
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Cost: Free

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Maritime Garage Gallery
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Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
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Cost: Free

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Telephone: (203)801-9590
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Cost: free

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Keeler Library
276 titicus road
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View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
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Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
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Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
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View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

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Cost: $100

Where:
Red Bee Honey
Weston, CT  06883


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Cost: $67

Where:
Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Website »

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On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
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Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
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More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Burn Baby Burn”, a group exhibition featuring works by Kathleen Kucka, Dennis...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
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Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
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Cost: donation

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Road
New Milford, CT  06776
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Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farm
Telephone: 860.355.0300
Contact Name: John C. Maxwell III
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Red Bee Apiary's Talk, Tour & Honey Tastings are an opportunity to visit a working apiary and experience honey at its source. Take a tour of Red Bee's apiary and gardens, once...

Cost: $35

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Red Bee Honey
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Sponsor: Red Bee Honey
Contact Name: Emily Sabo, Events Manager
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Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 titicus road
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Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
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Cost: General Admission- $15, VIP Purple Experience- $50

Where:
Ives Concert Park
43 Lake Ave Ext
Danbury, CT  06811
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Sponsor: Ives Concert Park and Promotions in Motion
Telephone: 203-837-9227
Contact Name: Phyllis Cortese
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Cost: $150-$200

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Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


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On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
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365 Lukes Wood Road
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Sponsor: Grace Farms Foundation
Telephone: 203-920-1702
Contact Name: Regan Hayes
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More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
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View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
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66 Elm Street
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Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
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Visit The Aldrich for FREE the Third Saturday of each month! See the latest in contemporary art and participate in family-friendly art-making workshops in The Studio. Family...

Cost: Free

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The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
258 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877
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Sponsor: The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
Telephone: 203-438-4519
Contact Name: Emily Devoe
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Looking for some family-friendly activities this summer? Visiting museums is educational and engaging for even young children, but tickets can often be expensive. Luckily, The Friends of Keeler...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 titicus road
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View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

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Cost: Tickets $20 in advance, $30 at the door.

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Ives Concert Park
43 Lake Ave Ext
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View map »


Sponsor: Ives Concert Park and Promotions in Motion
Telephone: 203-837-9227
Contact Name: Phyllis Cortese
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Cost: $69.50

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Ridgefield Playhouse
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Ridgefield, CT  06877
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Website »

More information

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
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View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

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