Garden Club’s holiday house tour a big success


The Canton Garden Club welcomed hundreds of people last weekend to “A Pleasant Christmas Stroll,” their 2015 holiday fundraiser. Club members decorated three homes in the Canton Corner Historic District that once belonged to the Draper family with beautiful greens, lights, flowers, wreaths and trees. Marie Duffy and Carol Munson were the chairpersons of this year’s stroll.

Dining room table and wreaths at the Joseph Porter Draper house (Mary Ann Price photo)

Dining room table and wreaths at the Joseph Porter Draper house (Mary Ann Price photo)

Charles Norris Draper named his home and land Pequitside Farm. The town of Canton has owned Pequitside since 1971 and uses it for office and recreational space. The stroll began at Pequitside, where Garden Club members sold handmade Christmas decorations and ornaments and invited strollers to return at the end of the tour for cookies and wassail.

The two homes to the immediate right of Pequitside Farm are the Joseph Porter Draper house and the John Howard Draper house. A chairperson was in charge of each residence, with committees handling the actual themes and decorating of the houses’ first floor entrances, hallways and rooms. Planning began months ago and included visits to each house as well as workshops for members to make decorations.

The living room of the Joseph Porter Draper home is to the left of the entrance and runs from the front to the back of the house. Club members Collette Samsel, Bunny Kemalian, Anne Aletta, and Diane Silvia and friend Carol Abbott made the room festive for the holidays.

“It was a huge space,” Samsel said. “We wanted an elegant woodland look. We wanted to feature animals.”

Small statues of animals rested on tables throughout the room and a Christmas tree on a patio behind the living room was decorated for birds. The homeowners’ daughter lives in Virginia and sent a box of magnolia leaves to her parents, which club members used to decorate the fireplace mantel.

Tina Dunn, Ellen Quinn, and Claire O’Toole decorated the dining room with wreaths at the doorway, above the fireplace and on the backs of the dining room chairs.

“I love how each room has a theme,” visitor Cathy Martin of Canton said. “It’s not too busy. So easy to do.”

The themes of animals and nature were repeated in the kitchen, with a Thai birdhouse on the kitchen island. Through the kitchen windows, strollers were able to see the wide trunk of a silver maple tree, which is at least 300 years old.

Mary Lyons of Canton enjoyed everything in the house. “The decorations are beautiful,” she said. “They did a really nice job. Every nook and cranny is covered. They put a lot of work into it.”

The owners of the John Howard Draper house next door have decorated their home with many antiques, including a spinet piano tucked into the fireplace in the home office. Holiday music greeted strollers as they entered the house. The decorations included a rustic Creche set on the lid of a 1918 Victrola and family ornaments on a Christmas tree.

The table in the dining room was set for dinner and decorated with greens, poinsettias and roses, with lovely bows tied to the back of each chair. The den was once the kitchen. It held another decorated Christmas tree and a gnome enjoying the sights from his perch on the mantelpiece.

“The details are amazing, just amazing,” said Debi Masciarelli of Canton. “I’ve never seen a room like this before.”

Trees made from dehydrated lemons, oranges and apples and gingerbread houses were just a few of the many decorations in the new kitchen, a bright and airy space. Karen Brodigan, Marla Jenkins, and June Martin were in charge of preparing the room, which Brodigan said took four days to decorate. The three club members placed a vintage wine barrel cover with a decorative arrangement on the island and Santa’s sleigh in the sitting area adjacent to the doors leading to the deck.

Connie Spiros and Suzette Standring from Milton have visited the decorated houses on the Garden Club’s holiday tour for many years. The two friends took notes last week as they walked through the two Pleasant Street homes.

“I thought it was beautiful,” Milos said of the John Howard Draper house. “It was very architectural,” Standring said. “I liked the way they used very large elements, like a piece of birch standing up.”

“This is a labor of love,” club member Harriet Burak said of the 2015 stroll. “These homes are very historic.” She pointed out that strollers were able to see a glimpse of Canton’s past when they visited the decorated Draper homes.

The Canton Garden Club funds scholarships for Canton High School graduates, plants the seasonal planters around town and waters them throughout the season, plants a tree each year on Arbor Day in Canton, makes floral arrangements at holiday time for the Massachusetts Hospital School, and does overall civic beautification. Members also decorated a tree and donated it to the Canton Senior Center. For more information, visit

See this week’s Canton Citizen to view more photos from the Garden Club’s holiday stroll. Not a subscriber? Click here to order your subscription today (also available in digital form).

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