Stockade Garden Tour in Schenectady highlights Living Resources artwork and local gardens

Johnny Sheehan, left, and Bruce Jordan pose in Jordan’s garden in the Stockade neighborhood.

Johnny Sheehan, left, and Bruce Jordan pose in Jordan’s garden in the Stockade neighborhood.

Tucked away among two historic churches and cemeteries, Bruce Jordan’s Stockade garden is insulated from the sounds of the city.

As part of the Stockade Association’s Art and Nature Garden Tour, it’ll be open to attendees on Saturday afternoon. Featuring 10 private gardens, along with two churches two public gardens, the tour is slated to run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This isn’t the first time Jordan’s garden has been on the tour, however, this year it’ll be adorned not only by impatiens and geraniums but also by artwork from artists by Living Resources’ arts program.

That includes Jordan’s godson, Johnny Sheehan. He’s been attending art classes and workshops at Living Resources for nearly 20 years and his main artistic inspirations are Vincent van Gogh and Bob Ross.

“It’s my biggest passion,” Sheehan said.

Working with the program, which supports students with a variety of disabilities, Sheehan has developed works like the sweeping mountainous landscape that will be on view in Jordan’s garden. He’s also painted a bright landscape with a horse galloping through the center.

“We’ve accumulated close to 100 pieces of work,” said Colleen Macaulay, the vice president of the Stockade Association, which organizes the tour. “There’s at least seven pieces of work in each garden and then we have one of the churches that we’re displaying in as well.”

Some of the pieces were recently completed while others were made during the early years of Living Resource’s art program, which began in 1997.

For each of the 10 private gardens featured on the tour, organizers curated artwork from Living Resources that would complement the natural settings. Since the entrance to Jordan’s garden features a large birch tree standing sentinel over the home and garden, much of the featured artwork will include birch trees that have been made using sponge painting or scratching techniques.

Like several of the other gardens included on the tour, Jordan’s is hidden from the street view.

Over the course of the last 34 years he’s lived in his home, Jordan has changed the garden quite a bit, including removing the lawn altogether.

“A lawn on the Northside of the house in Schenectady, New York; it’s impossible. You have a lawnmower, you have a seeder . . . and it never grows. Every time you walk through it it was a mud heap,” Jordan said.

He’s replaced it with a patio and potted plants and herbs. Several trees dot the garden, along with evergreens.

“The idea was to create the structure of the garden with evergreens and trees and so even in the winter, there’s a nice look-out here. Then in the summer . . . I fill up pots with things that will bloom all season,” Jordan said.

He’s been gardening since he was a child, thanks to a next-door neighbor who took the time to teach him. This season, the long string of rainy days has made gardening a challenge.

“Of course, this year it was an impossible year to garden with the amount of water. Things that liked sun, like the geraniums, they’re getting there. But they’re not as happy as they could be,” Jordan said.

Yet, over the years he’s lived in the Stockade and been a part of the tours, he’s noticed that a lot of attendees care not only about the gardens but also the lifestyles of the residents.

“I think the people who come to the garden tours and the people who come to the walkabouts they’re really interested in seeing the neighborhood and seeing how we live. The people from outside of the Stockade are really so interested and impressed at how we live in the Stockade and it makes it fun for the hosts to show off how much fun it is to live in this area,” Jordan said.

Tickets for the tour are $20 in advance, $25 day of. They can be purchased online at or the following locations: Schenectady County Historical Society, Faddegon’s Nursery, Felthousen’s Florist, Kulak’s Nursery and the Open Door Bookstore. For updates and more information follow Historic Stockade of Schenectady on Facebook.

Categories: Art, Life and Arts

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