Recently, while planning to photograph a client’s home in California, we knew we could rely on the fruit and flowers from the estate’s gardens to enhance the rooms that we had designed. When we arrived for the shoot however, we were not prepared for the garden’s astonishing bounty–verdant courtyards, vine-draped loggias, and fruit-filled orchards displayed a cornucopia of California’s riches.
With clippers and a large wicker basket in hand, we selected among a wide assortment of flowers. In the orchards, we discovered opulently burdened trees bearing Meyer lemons, limes, tangelos, oranges, grapefruit, avocados, cumquats, and the exotic and beautiful “Buddha’s hand”. After harvesting a small sampling, we couldn’t help but mound it onto a stone slab in the kitchen and capture an impromptu still life (above).
This simple act reminded us of our love for summer gardens. Whether they take shape in a back yard, a city park or even a few plants on an apartment windowsill, experiencing the garden is an important part of the human experience.
In New York City, where we live, gardens are a luxury. But every New Yorker, and indeed every American, can point to Central Park as a garden to call their own. Designed in 1858 by Frederick Law Olmstead as a refuge from noisy city streets, Central Park–all 843 beautiful acres of her–welcomes those seeking a bit of the country in town. Thanks to the Central Park Conservancy, the park has never looked better. We encourage you not only to take a stroll through the park, but also to contribute to the Conservancy to insure that the greatest public American garden remains the verdant delight that it is.
In Matthew White’s former garden in California (left), his passion for Italian-style gardens is clear. After many years of restoring and refining this old garden, the place took on an almost magical presence. With hundreds of rose bushes, splashing fountains, courtyards and an Italian style parterre, this was the perfect spot for quiet reflection or a lively game of croquet.
The act of gardening is one of commitment and hard work followed by the deep satisfaction of bringing beauty to a small part of our world. These sanctuaries create a feeling of well-being and peace to all who enter. Our straw hats are off to all the gardeners out there who create and maintain these oases for the pleasure of us all.