Tag Archives: Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center

Photo Challenge #436

Gilbertie’s Herbs & Flower Garden is 101 years old.

The iron wagon and concrete planter on the beloved business’ Sylvan Lane property may be even older.

But Gilbertie’s — which sells far more than herbs and flowers — always looks fresh and new.

Its many loyal customers always go back for more. Among them (no doubt) are Mousumi Ghosh, Amy Schneider, Lisa Gold, Andrew Colabella, Seth Schachter and Michael Calise.

All 6 knew exactly where last week’s Photo Challenge could be found. (Click here to see.)

Today’s Photo Challenge commemorates one of at least 2 times George Washington passed through Westport. The plaque was placed in 1932, honoring the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Father of our Country.

If you know where in Westport you’d see this, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/John Lisee)

“06880” Podcast: Sal Gilbertie

You can’t get more “Westport” than Sal Gilbertie.

The 3rd-generation owner of Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center — plus Gilbertie’s Organics — has quite a story.

From its beginnings as a small business started by Italian immigrants, to its explosive growth as the flower and herb industries boomed, to its current emphasis on organic agriculture, Gilbertie’s has been part of our town.

There are tons of stories — and 86-year-old Sal Gilbertie tells them engagingly, and well.

I learned a ton during our chat at the Westport Library Trefz Forum. Click below, for a fascinating half hour:

Photo Challenge #415

“06880” readers know their onions.

And their spices.

Last week’s Photo Challenge showed a wooden sign, nailed to a wooden structure. (Click here to see.)

It’s on the Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden property — visible to anyone walking by, but (I thought) unnoticed by customers, even those shopping at the Winter Farmers’ Market, every Thursday from now through March.

Stupid me. I should know by now to never underestimate my readers’ powers of observation.

Andrew Colabella and John D. McCarthy responded quickly — and correctly.

Okay, guys. I’m ramping up this week’s Photo Challenge.

It’s another item, posted on an outside wall. If anyone identifies this, I’ll be truly impressed.

Click “Comments” below. Bring it!

(Photo/Abby Gordon-Tolan)


Roundup: Holiday Stroll, Farmers’ Market, Bankside House …

A number of new retailers and restaurants have joined the Holiday Stroll.

The December 3 event (5 to 7 p.m., Main Street and environs) is co-sponsored by “06880” and the Westport Downtown Association. There’s kids’ activities (and Santa!) in front of Cold Fusion, special store deals, cocoa and nibbles, and plenty of neighborly fun.

Greens Farms Academy’s Harbor Blues will sing holiday songs at 5 p.m. Staples High School’s Orphenians will follow at 6:30. Both will be at the tent in front of Cold Fusion.

In addition, Nick Calabrese — a professional singer and music teacher — will lead anyone who wants to join in on a carol sing through downtown. It starts at the corner of Main and Elm Streets at 5 p.m., and will head on to Church Lane and back up Main. Everyone is invited to listen — or sing.

A box will be set up for donations for the PAL holiday toy drive. Feel free to bring an unwrapped, new gift (or two!).

(NOTE: There’s still room for a face painter, and other kids’ stuff. If you’ve got a kids’ talent and want to help, email 06880blog@gmail.com).

Meanwhile, here’s the latest list of Holiday Stroll participants:

  • Bartaco: Hot chocolate on their patio
  • Basso:
  • Black Bear Wines & Spirits: 15% off all wines
  • Bobbles & Lace: Glass of wine & Bobbles Bucks ($$$ off your purchase)
  • Bridgewater Chocolates: Complimentary chocolate tastings and hot chocolate
  • Brooks Brothers: The entire store is 30% off all weekend
  • Capuli: Giving out churros
  • Cold Fusion Gelato: Check back soon!
  • Don Memo: Giving out festive adult and children’s beverages
  • Fred: Complimentary holiday treats
  • Jeera Thai: 20% off on takeout meals
  • Joe’s Pizza: Garlic knots
  • Kerri Rosenthal: 15% off read-to-wear and accessories
  • Le Route Aartisan Chocolates: Free hot chocolate
  • Lift Wellness Group: Discount on bundled psychotherapy and nutrition services; gift cards with 10% discount
  • Lux Bond & Green: Refreshments and surprises
  • Manna Toast: Hot chocolate
  • Megan’s Martha’s Vineyard Boutique: 20% off, and a giveaway bundle
  • Moxie Salon & Beauty  Bar: Spin The Wheel to Win! 20% off hair extensions; $20 off voucher; $25, $50, $75, $100, $200 gift certificates; complimentary spray tan or blowout; $50 off Balayyage or Ombre; complimentary makeup application, girls hair tinsel and/or braids
  • Nomade: Candied almonds in bamboo cone, and cookies
  • Noya Jewelry: Hot holiday drinks
  • Rye Ridge Deli: Free hot chocolate, tea, coffee
  • Savvy + Grace: Holiday treat, and mailbox for kids to drop off letters to Santa
  • Scout & Molly’s: 20% off purchase, light snacks
  • Sorelle Gallery: Gif boxes with discounts from 5 to 15% for any Holiday Collection item; light festive refreshments (prosecco, candy canes, sparkling water, etc.)
  • The Cashmere Sale of Westport: Holiday candy
  • The Tailored Home & Studio Café: Complimentary Santa’s cookies and hot chocolate; 50% off sale on all pillows
  • The Toy Post: A small toy for each child
  • Upnorth: 20% off, and a giveaway
  • West: Raffle for $150 gift card (no purchase necessary); winner drawn at 7:30 p.m.
  • Walrus Alley: Happy hour prices for food and drinks
  • Westport Book Shop: Free book, and a coupon for a future visit
  • Winfield Street Street Coffee: Hot cocoa and cruffins (pecan cinnamon rolls with a croissant dough)
  • Yoga45: Participation in a yoga event.


Former Boston Red Sox pitcher John Trautwein spoke last night at Town Hall on a tough but very important subject: suicide.

He runs the nonprofit Will To Live Foundation. Raising awareness of teen suicide, it is named after Trautwein’s son Will, who took his life. There were no warnings — no signs of anxiety, depression or unhappiness.

His message about his son — a healthy, happy, popular, athletic, and musical teenager, who came from a loving home yet lost the will to live — resonated deeply with the audience.

John Trautwein at Town Hall. (Hat tip and photo/Andrew Colabella)


Also yesterday: A good crowd showed up yesterday, for the first Winter Westport Farmers’ Market of the season.

They’ll run every Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center on Sylvan Lane.

Except next Thursday. It’s Thanksgiving.

But wait! A special Holiday Market is set for next Tuesday (November 22, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), at Gilbertie’s.

Yesterday’s Winter Farmers’ Market at Gilbertie’s Herbe & Garden Center. (Photo/Matt Murray)=====================================================

Also yesterday: a first look at Bankside House.

That’s the 12-unit condo complex rising on the west bank of the Saugatuck River, at the site of the former Save the Children (and before that, Famous Schools) offices.

The buildings were designed by Roger Ferris + Partners. They’re built by David Waldman’s David Adam Realty and Urbane New Haven, and are marketed by KMS Team, at Compass. They’ll be finished next year.

A view from the penthouse. (Photo/Dan Woog)


On October 19, our “06880” Roundup included a photo of tree-cutting at 31 Turkey Hill Road South. Soon, the stumps were gone too.

Less than a month later, Bob Weingarten reports, a row of new trees was planted. May they grow tall and strong!

Cut trees on Turkey Hill South (left), October 19; planted trees, November 16. (Photos/Bob Weingarten)


Staples High School’s girls soccer team battles for its 2nd consecutive state championship this Sunday (November 20). The Wreckers — ranked #3 in the “LL” (extra large schools) division — take on #1 Cheshire. Kickoff is 4 p.m. at Trinity Health (formerly Dillon) Stadium in Hartford.

Meanwhile, you can see Staples’ future football stars in action.

The PAL 7th and 8th grade teams play for the Fairfield County Football  League title tomorrow (Saturday) at Wilton High’s Fujitani Filed. Game times are 4 and 6 p.m.


People working in the Gorham Island office building have many perks: easy parking. A quick walk to downtown shops and restaurants.

And 2 bald eagles, hanging out in a tree overlooking the Saugatuck River.

Jill McGroarty sent along today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo.

Now back to work Jill!

(Photo/Jill McGroarty)


And finally … on this day in 1493, Christopher Columbus first sighted the island now known as Puerto Rico.

(Our December 3 Holiday Stroll is just one of “06880”‘s many community projects. Please click here to help support our work.)



Young Shoots’ Pro Shots

Three of the best things about Westport — young people, art, and the Farmers’ Market — joined forces with a fourth yesterday: Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center.

The 100-year-old business was the site of an awards ceremony for the WFM’s annual Young Shoots photography contest. The goal is to capture the “energy, beauty and delights” of the Market.

This year’s drew the most entrants ever. Yesterday at Gilbertie’s, all shots were framed and exhibited. Winners were announced, and given their awards: cash from the Drew Friedman Foundation ($100 for first place, $50 for second), and MoCA of Westport art class certificates. Sugar & Olives provided refreshments.

These images were the “pick of the crop”!

Ages 5 to 9:
1st place: Aaron Slomich, “Sharpen Up”

“Sharpen Up” (Aaron Slomich)

2nd place: Juliette Newshel, “Tiny Tomatoes”

“Tiny Tomatoes” (Juliette Newshel)

Ages 10 to 14:
1st place: Mirabelle Choe, “Color Wheel”

“Color Wheel” (Mirabelle Choe)

2nd place: Rachel Pontoriero, “Fairy Stool”

“Fairy Stools” (Rachel Pontoriero)

Ages 15 to 18
1st place: Alex Sod, “Bifrost”

“Bifrost” (Alex Sod)

2nd place: Calista Finkelstein, “Heading Home”

“Heading Home” (Calista Fineklstein)

(“06880” grows thanks to reader support. Please click here to donate.)

Among the Westport Farmers’ Market “Young Shoots” winners (from left): Alex Sod, Calista Finkelstein, Rachel Pontoriero.

Gilbertie’s 100th Birthday Bash

It was worth the 100-year wait.

Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center turns a century old this year. Today, they threw a birthday party. And everyone’s invited.

Mystic Bowie played a free concert.

Mystic Bowie, in action. (Photo/Patricia McMahon)

He’s just about finished his set. But vendors selling crafts and (of course) sustainable products, a petting zoo, cornhole, food trucks — and a great, community-wide, fun-in-the-sun vibe — continue on Sylvan Road South until 5 p.m. today (Saturday).

Chilling on Gilbertie’s lawn.

Congratulations, Gilbertie’s. And don’t wait 100 more years for the next one.

Why not celebrate your 101st?

Carrie Gilbertie spent a year planning the 100th anniversary party. Today she relaxed and enjoyed it all.

Petting zoo. (All photos/Dan Woog unless otherwise noted)

(Photo/June Rose Whittaker)

Roundup: Oystercatchers, Longshore Survey, Dr. K …

We all feel battered by bad news. This morning — reminded of Sandy Hook, Buffalo and so much more by the tragedy in Texas — seems especially difficult.

Fortunately, birds don’t read the papers. They just live their lives — and bring joy and beauty into ours.

A tiny bit of good news: The oystercatchers have hatched at Compo Beach.

Please give them space. They need it. Enjoy them from afar — as in this great telephoto view.

(Photo/Tina Green)


Longshore is on the drawing board.

As Westport plans “replacement, relocations and/or enhancements of existing facilities and new facilities” for Longshore, the town seeks residents’ input.

Stantec — a landscape architect, planning and engineering firm — has developed a town-wide survey. It takes about 10 minutes to complete. Click here to participate. The link will be active until June 14.

Click here for more information, and project updates.

The Inn at Longshore and 18th hole are just a small part of Longshore Club Park. (Drone photo/John Videler for videler.com)


The Staples girls golf team — ranked #1 in the state — added to their superb season by defeating Greenwich 181-186 yesterday. The win clinches the FCIAC Western Division championship, the Wreckers’ first solely held division title since 2016.

Staples — now 13-1 — vies for the FCIAC crown on June 2. Two days earlier, they end the league season with a match against Eastern Division champion New Canaan.

Congratulations to coach Patty Kondub and her team!

The 2022 Staples High School golf team. Seated (from left): senior co-captains Lizzie Kuehndorf and Leni Lemcke. Standing: freshman Rachel Pontoriero; sophomore Kathleen Coffey, juniors Reilly McGeehan and Keeva Boyle.


No one loved Staples High School more than Gerry Kuroghlian. The beloved English teacher collected many Wrecker items during his long career — including yearbooks.

“Dr. K” died last November. Now his wife Ellen is offering some of those yearbooks to anyone who wants them. They’re free — but she hopes their new owners will make a donation to the Dr. K. Humanitarian Scholarship, created by friends and administered by Staples Tuition Grants.

(The first award will be given out May 31. Donations are always welcome!)

The yearbooks are from 1970, ’71, ’72, ’75, ’79, 2000, ’02, ’03 and ’05. Email 06880blog@gmail.com for details.

Dr. Gerry Kuroghlian


Speaking of Staples collectors’ items:

Yesterday’s Roundup included an item about the Class of 1967 Homecoming Queen ballot, now for sale on eBay.

Robert Gerrity — who sent that link — has discovered another Class of ’67 eBay goodie. This one has a bit more appeal: a vinyl recording of an Orchestra concert.

Click here to buy this rare item. If, that is, you’ve still got a turntable. And are willing to pay $100.

The 1966 Orchestra record, with conductor Robert Genualdi.


There’s only one week left in Gilbertie’s Herb & Garden Center’s town-wide scavenger hunt. It’s one of the fun lead-ups to the family-owned business’ 100th anniversary celebration June 4.

All you need for the scavenger hunt is a smartphone, car and driver, and the clues (click here).

It takes half an hour. It’s a great activity for families, anyone new to Westport, anyone who’s lived here a long time and loves Gilbertie’s — or anyone else.

Click here for details. Then click your seatbelt, and scavenge away. When you’re done, you’ve got a chance to win a $50 Gilbertie’s gift certificate.

Meanwhile: Congratulations to the first winners: Bonnie and Allan Arkush.

A scavenger hunt map.


Some youngsters with critical illnesses ask Make-a-Wish for a trip to Disney World, or to meet a celebrity.

Aaron James wanted to serve food from a truck.

The 17-year-old was diagnosed with cancer 5 years ago. It’s now in remission. So the other day he happily took over Dan Kardo’s food truck at Don Memo. Along with great chefs like Bill Taibe (Don Memo, Kawa Ni, The Whelk), Jess Bengtson (Terrain Café and Amis Trattoria), Matt Storch (Match Burger Lobster, Match) and Robin Selden (Marcia Selden Catering), he served up tacos, oysters and more.

Aaron’s goal is to have his own food truck one day. Here’s hoping that’s one more wish that comes true.

Aaron James outside Don Memo.


Yesterday, Westport Police released the name of the man killed in Monday evening’s fatal automobile accident on Saugatuck Avenue. He was Mark Lemoult, age 59 of Norwalk.

The incident remains under investigation.


Westport Country Playhouse’s current production — “Straight White Men” — is both funny and thought-provoking. In between male bonding rituals and conversations about money, work, and love, a father and his 3 adult sons face serious questions about their own identities.

The play runs now through June 5. But the Playhouse is offering free post-curtain events, open to all who want to learn more about the production and its themes.

Anyone can attend; tickets are not needed. Just arrive at the Playhouse 90 minutes after curtain time.

The first (Thursday, May 26) is a conversation with director Mark Lamos,

A symposium after this Sunday’s (May 29) 3 p.m. matinee features the full cast, in an in-depth discussion. of “Straight White Men” for an in-depth discussion about the show.

On June 3 Edson Rivas, executive director of the Triangle Community Center, leads a discussion on gender expectations

Click here for more information “Straight White Men.”

Westport Country Playhouse


The threshold for entitled parking photos on “06880” is now taking up 3 spaces — not just 2. And a parking job must be a lot more egregious than just a “No Parking” zone to make the cut these days.

But this driver managed to do both yesterday, at the Westport Library. He or she came all the way from Florida (or registers his or her car there, to avoid Connecticut taxes), just to 1) hog 2 spaces perfectly and 2) ignore the sign that says — smack in front of the driver — “No Parking/Loading & Unloading Only.”

But hey: It is a very nice car.

(Photo/Dan Woog)


Spring brings a riot of colors to Westport. Sunil Ghirani captured some of them on Soundview Drive, for our “Westport … Naturally” feature.

The sailboat in the distance adds even more.

(Photo/Sunil Hirani)


And finally … on this day in 1878, Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera “HMS Pinafore” opened in London.

Gilbertie’s Townwide Scavenger Hunt Kicks Off Today

Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center is 100 years old.

They’re throwing themselves (and the town) a giant party on June 4. The day includes music from Mystic Bowie, a petting zoo, artisans and craft vendors, 3 food trucks, ice cream and beer.

But you don’t have to wait a month for Gilbertie’s fun. Today, they kick off a townwide scavenger hunt.

A scavenger hunt map.

You’ll need a smartphone, car and driver, at least one other person to read and solve clues, the clues themselves, and a pen or pencil. I’ll provide the clues — just click here, and print them out — but you’re on your own for the rest.

There are 13 sites, and 15 clues. The scavenger ends at Gilbertie’s, where you stand under a sign, take a picture (for their Wall of Fame), and become eligible to win a $50 Gilbertie’s gift card. There will be one winner each week, from now through May 29.

The scavenger hunt takes about half an hour. It’s a great activity for families, anyone new to Westport, anyone who’s lived here a long time and loves Gilbertie’s — or anyone else.

Click here for details. Then click your seatbelt, and scavenge away.

Roundup: Affordable Housing, Gilbertie’s, I-95 Noise …


Last night’s meeting on a 5-year plan for affordable housing — co-sponsored by the Democratic, Republican, Save Westport Now and Coalition for Westport political parties — drew some interesting comments.

Among them: a proposal to install metered parking downtown. The proceeds — estimated to be $1 million or so annually — could be used to create a substantial affordable housing fund.

With Westport’s credit rating, the town could borrow $20 million.

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker and Planning & Zoning Commission chair Danielle Dobin at last night’s Town Hall meeting on affordable housing. (Photo/Jimmy Izzo)


A couple of months ago, “06880” gave a shout-out to Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center. This year, Westport’s 2nd-oldest family business celebrates its 100th anniversary.*

At the time, they were beginning to plan a huge celebration. Now they’re ready to announce details.

The free bash is set for June 4, from noon to 5 p.m. at the garden center on Sylvan Lane South.

The very popular Mystic Bowie’s Talking Dreads will headline the bash. Reggae artists Kale Wale will warm up the crowd.

There’s a petting zoo for kids, and artisans and craft vendors for older folks.

Also on tap: a town-wide scavenger hunt too, with prizes. It will focus on the town’s most historic business, ending (of course) at Gilbertie’s.

Plus 3 food trucks, an ice cream truck and beer vendors.

Antonio Gilbertie — who arrived in Saugatuck in 1919 from Italy, and started out selling flowers from a Sylvan greenhouse — probably listened to opera, not reggae. But he’ll probably be looking down from above, with a proud smile.

*Who’s #1? Gault — by a long shot. The energy company was founded in 1863 — nearly 60 years before Gilberties!


“06880” reader Jim McKay* wants to raise a ruckus.

His subject: noise.

Jim writes: “In 1958, I-95 sliced through Saugatuck, and other areas of Westport.

“A lot has changed since then. There’s more people, more traffic, more trucks. And more noise.

“The Connecticut Department of Transportation has a number of redesign plans for sections of 95. They include Greenwich, and Westport/Norwalk.

“A few days ago, under pressure from Greenwich town leaders and citizens, Governor Lamont asked CT DOT to revisit the Greenwich project and include possible noise mitigation plans.

“Now is the time for our Westport town leaders and citizens to demand equal revisions to the existing plans, to make sure it include noise mitigation.

“Noise has gotten worse. It will continue to do so. We have a unique opportunity to include noise mitigation before the project goes forward. It must be an incremental cost now — not a massive capital project 20 years in the future.”

*Not the sportscaster. He died in 2008.

Traffic — and noise — have increased since I-95 (then called the Connecticut Turnpike) neared completion in 1957,


Staples Players’ production of “The Descendants” drew raves. Audiences old and (particularly) young delighted in a never-bef0re-seen production of Disney’s tale.

It’s a tradition for the high school troupe to raise awareness of important causes — and funds — at their shows. This year was especially important.

Costumed actors were on hand as audiences left the theater. It turned into a great photo opportunity for children, and their new high school heroes.

Their parents gave generously. Over 2 weekends, Players collected $8,400 for Save the Children’s Ukraine relief efforts.

Quinn Mulvey (Mal), and a new friend. (Photo/Kerry Long)


On Saturday, a Westporter was out for a run. A few yards over the Fairfield line, where Old Road becomes Wakeman Lane, he spotted a car balanced on a stone wall, halfway into the woods.

That was bad enough. But the kicker is the bumper sticker.

It reads: “Please Be Patient. Student Driver.”


There are matching grants. And then there are amazing matching grants.

Two anonymous donors have told Westport Country Playhouse they’ll match every dollar raised — up to $150,000 (!) — between now and June 30.

That’s great news, as the historic theater enters its 91st season. They’ve got an ambitious set of plays planned, and will leverage the funds for greatest artistic and educational impact.

Tax deductible contributions can be made online, by mail (Development Department, 25 Powers Court, Westport CT 06880), or by texting DONATE to 475-453-3553. To learn more about the perks of donating at various levels, click here. For more on this matching drive, click here.

A historic theater has a historic opportunity to raise funds. (Photo/Robert Benson)


There are runners. And then there are amazing runners.

Monday’s New York Times included a story on Oz Pearlman. He’d just run 19 loops of Central Park — 116 miles — in a single day.

Because “06880”‘s tagline is “Where Westport meets the world,” there is (of course) a local connection.

The main photo showed Oz with a group of runners. Just to his right — wearing a blue-and-yellow hat, to match Oz’s Ukrainian-color outfit — was Alex Freedman.

Alex Freedman (blue and yellow cap) next to Oz Pearlman. (Photo/Hilary Swift for the New York Times)

Freedman — the 1996 Staples High School salutatorian — is now back in town, and running with the local Joggers Club. He is also a founding member of the Central Park Running Club. Both are led by another Westporter, Dave Menoni.

Freedman runs with a third group, the Henwood Hounds. That’s where he met Oz. Freedman joined in for “a small part” of Oz’s Central Park (and record-breaking) journey. (It was also a fundraiser for Save the Children’s Ukrainian relief. Oz busted well past his goal of $100,000.)

When he’s not outside, Freedman is the director of Advantage Testing of Westport,

Notice I resisted the impulse to say he “runs” the highly regarded educational counseling and private tutoring organization.


Savvy + Grace’s new sign has brought color to that stretch of Main Street, and smiles to passersby.

Most probably don’t know that it’s the work of a noted artist.

Jana Ireijo is famous for her “vanishing murals.” Created with charcoal from wildfires, they are meant to disappear — just as the coral reefs, manta rays and other living things she portrays are, unfortunately, dying out.

Ireijo — a member of the Artists Collective of Westport — has created vanishing murals here. She drew a koala bear opposite Design Within Reach, and a sperm whale on a Winslow Park fallen tree trunk.

She’s worked far from Westport too — in Santa Fe and Maui, among other places.

The peonies on Jana’s Savvy + Grace sign is not meant to disappear. It’s just a colorful addition to a bright downtown spot.

PS: Savvy + Grace offers great custom and pre-made Easter baskets. Click here to see.


Among his many civic efforts — all of them volunteer, pro bono — attorney Ken Bernhard is a state Department of Agriculture animal (victim’s) advocate. He appears in court proceedings involving animal cruelty cases.

At yesterday’s Westport Rotary Club meeting, he talked about his work. He connected animal abuse with spousal abuse and other crimes.

Bernhard noted:

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.

“When humans act with cruelty, we characterize them as ‘animals.’ Yet the only animal that displays cruelty is humanity.

“Animals are the real victims on this earth. They didn’t declare war, they don’t have weapons, and they don’t want to destroy humans or impose religion. Their only crime is they exist.”

Ken Bernhard, at yesterday’s Westport Rotary Club meeting.


The Fresh Market ospreys get most of Westport’s love.

But they’re not the only ones in town.

Today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature is a two-fer. Here’s one of the Longshore ospreys:

(Photo/Patricia McMahon)

And a pair at Burying Hill:

(Photo/Alan Phillips)


And finally … all his life, Julian Lennon refused to sing “Imagine.”

The only time he could consider singing his father’s signature song, he said, would be “the end of the world.”

The war in Ukraine is not that (yet). But it spurred John Lennon’s 59-year-old son to reconsider.

It is “an unimaginable tragedy,” he said. “As a human, and as an artist, I felt compelled to respond in the most significant way I could.”

He performed at a #StandUpForUkraine funddraiser in Prague on Saturday. The event raised $10 billion in pledges for Ukrainian refugees.





Gilbertie’s: 100 Years Of Nurturing Westport, And The Earth

Quick: Name Westport’s oldest family-owned business.

It’s Gault, by a long shot. Established in 1863 — midway through the Civil War! — the company has evolved from coal hauling to bioheat and other, more modern energy solutions. But after nearly 160 years, Gaults still run the show.

What’s second? Many Westporters would say Mitchells. Founded in 1958, the mom-and-pop men’s clothing shop has morphed into a bicoastal group of high-end men’s and women’s stores. With the 4th generation poised to take over, it’s a proud, still Westport-based institution.

But Mitchells is not our town’s 2nd-oldest family business.

When the calendar turns to 2022 in a few days, there will be a celebration on Sylvan Road. This coming year, Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center turns 100 years old.

Like Gault and Mitchells, Gilbertie’s changed with the times. Antonio Gilbertie’s original cut flower company now has a tagline: “nurturing the organic gardener.”

But he would be proud to see what his son, grandson and their families have done with the business.

Antonio and his wife arrived from Italy around 1919 “with just the clothes on their back” says Carrie Gilbertie, who married his great-grandson Tom.

In 1922 Antonio sold his first flowers from a greenhouse on Sylvan, near Riverside Avenue. The Saugatuck neighborhood was nearby, and there was plenty of demand for carnations and lilies.

Antonio Gilbertie, and his family.

When Antonio died, his son Salvatore took over. He died young — just 52 — and left the business to his wife “Nana” and children.

Sal Jr. had gone to school for accounting, but came home to run Gilbertie’s.

He was fascinated by herbs, and bought a 36-acre farm in Easton. He earned certification as an organic farmer, and started a microgreens business.

Today, the company supplies customers as far away as Virginia.

Sal Gilbertie, in the field.

“People love Gilbertie’s,” Carrie says. “We’ve stayed true to who we are. We’re all about organic and natural.

“We practice what we preach. We nurture people, and the earth. We’re very involved in the community, and we help them find so many ways to take care of the planet.

“We’re not trying to be something we’re not. People appreciate us.”

The pandemic was, surprisingly, a boon to Gilbertie’s. An “essential business,” they never closed. With Westporters stuck home — and a huge influx of newcomers eager to find backyard projects — the family and their loyal, longtime staff offered tips on what vegetables, flowers and herbs to grow, and how to grow them.

Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

They’ve kept coming back.

New customers come all the time too. Some discover Gilbertie’s by word of mouth. Others are attracted by the Winter Westport Farmers’ Market, held every Thursday from November through March, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in and around their 3 greenhouses.

Everybody loves the Westport Farmers’ Market. (Photo/Lisa Lewin)

A full year of celebration is planned, including gardening and chef demonstrations, giveaways, prizes, a town-wide scavenger hunt, and a party with live music.

“06880” will keep you updated on the all the goings-on.

But first: We’re proud to be the first to wish Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center a happy 100th birthday!