Getting my hands dirty

I went out to Long Island this weekend to start the spring cleaning in my garden in Montauk. Nothing like hard labor to make a weekend go fast! Fertilizing, cleaning the beds, raking, trimming, sweating…it revitalizes me to touch the ground again and I look forward to seeing the bulbs popping through the ground. I always try to visualize the garden in bloom – it gives me a boost. I planted my garden all white, except for one big bed that has mixed colors, going from purples to yellows to pink. It’s always a thrill to see what survived the winter.
I’ve drawn inspiration for many rooms from the colors in my garden. I’m always inspired by the different tones of flowers and leaves. Do any of you garden? If you do, is there a particular pattern of color that you have in your garden? I’m thinking of starting a new bed, so if you have any ideas, let me know. After all, how different is doing a room from doing a garden? 


  • VictoriaArt

    Well, I think you are right, I would go further and say the garden reflects house and owner truly…
    In our case a rather mixed garden, with corners of special beauty, a deck covered on one side entirly with deep purple clematis and on the other with honeysuckle,lots of different grasses and mixed trees, some very toll and over 60 years old, plenty of the typical garden variety of rhododendron, azaleas, roses and phlox, oh you get the picture. My husband and I are doing all the gardening and it fills us with pleasure to see it grow!
    We are a lively family and enjoy in the season almost every meal out there, by night with candles! We just love it!
    If I had a wish, I would build an entire garden on grasses, mixed with wild flowers, somewhat asian influences with lanterns…and water!
    Happy gardening!

    March 23, 2009
  • Vicente

    You garden sounds simply delicious, Victoria!

    March 24, 2009
  • Meade Design Group

    I am having a garden envy moment here. (lol)

    I live in a condo and of course I don’t have that many plants around here. I truly miss getting my hands on the soil.

    March 24, 2009
  • Vicente

    Ivan – perhaps you should get some potted plants to surround yourself with. In the city I keep many of my favorite white orchid plants and find it so rewarding when those flowers wake me with their scent in the morning!

    March 25, 2009
  • J Santa Fe

    It's no different at all!
    I started out as the Horticulturist for the City of Aspen: designed all the plantings for the city parks & pedestrian malls. Then moved from Exterior to Interior Design. Twenty years later … . I do both. The same principles apply: Designate a focal point, watch your scale and vary your textures!
    I now live in high desert Santa Fe .. . where the rarest color is Green; so my big luxury is a small lawn with a variety of textural evergreens and groups of vibrant pink potted geraniums.

    Your wisteria trellis is just yummy.
    Have a lovely (GREEN) Montauk summer!


    March 29, 2009
  • Vicente

    What I’ve always enjoyed about your work is that you seem to think and compose like a painter. I know you are a photographer, but that sensibility of a vision for a space, then blocking in large shapes, lights and darks, and then slowly adding detail, and just enough to suggest and evoke your relationship to the things you choose to collect and live with; seems to me is a very painterly approach ( to photography as well as design). I’m looking forward to hearing about what you’re up to. Would love to see what you’re doing with your garden as it evolves and grows. In the Rocky Mountains, I take advantage of the drought resistant grasses; copper colored fountain grasses, burgundies, all variations of browns, purple blacks and greens with black pots and pale gray colored stones/river rock, boulders. Evergreens, somewhat bonzai-ed in shape also appeal to me and work with our greater landscape. It’s been years since I’ve been in Montauk (Used to live in New York, and who knows may return some day). Your description makes me a little homesick for summers outside the City.I’m sure your garden will be a “living” room.

    Enjoy the spring,

    March 30, 2009
  • I love a formal symetrical garden, but rejoice in being in the rain forest near Tofino BC, where the dappled light is sieved out by the layers of moss. Nature does ourdoor rooms wonderfully.

    We had a night blooming jasmine over our hot tub in Key West, and after dinner parties, we would turn on the tub, and let the aroma spread around us.

    All this aside, it’s just fun to get your hand dirty isn’t it?

    April 09, 2009
  • kelly

    We love your interiors and photography and it would be very cool to see your garden that you do in colors….. I do mainly white gardens too… and would be very intrigued to see your interpretation of colors…
    Will you photograph your gardens and post on your blog please!!!

    April 11, 2009
  • Elizabeth Ayers

    I was watching “Selling New York” and was fascinated as you totally rearranged a very boring apt. into a lively beautiful space. I came to the internet and discovered you. I am just an aging houswife and gardener here in Houston. I look forward to getting and enjoying some of your books. Wish when I was younger I had such inspiration to guide me. Our neighborhood gardens have improved much over the 37 years I have lived here but unfortunately the home interiors by and large are now lavish but tasteless .

    April 04, 2011

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