|"Shiny white lacquer chairs, along with terracotta pots of agapanthus and clipped box balls, brighten this shady terrace at the home of Oscar de la Renta in Connecticut."|
"As far back as my memory takes me, I have been smitten by gardens. I grew up in the rolling countryside of Virginia, where I spent my summers tagging after my mother through beds of flowers and endless rows of tomatoes and cabbages. Often it was my job to pick whatever was ripe, and that is the memory that stays with me now. It's a warm summer afternoon, the light is golden, the birds are chirping, and I'm out there happily picking peas for dinner."
-Bunny Williams, On Garden Style
For Manhattan-based designer Bunny Williams, her love affair with the light, the structure, and the view of the garden and their "rooms", is given careful consideration as when she designs interior spaces. She always keeps in mind that the scale and mass of the plantings are determined by the size of the house and garden, as gardens are the extension of the style of your home ... connecting House to Garden, and Architecture to Nature. The results are a stylish kitchen garden... a fireside garden... a walled garden... a container garden...
First published in 1998, On Garden Style established Bunny Williams as an expert on gardens and gardening. I carried her original book around our flat dirt-filled backyard in our (then) new home explaining to my husband the ideas of: garden "rooms", the importance of hardscape, view, and paths leading to a focal point. It was a lovely book that was both practical and inspiring; it finally just fell apart at the seams. This new edition, the latest volume of On Garden Style is lavish and informative, the pictures are generous and gorgeous, and her voice is as if you leaned over your neighbor's fence and was handed a cup of tea as she shared all her garden secrets to you in detail.
For me, Bunny Williams epitomizes the idea of "lifestyle" designer, who showcases how to live beautifully. I have loved all her books: An Affair with a House, Bunny Williams' Point of View, Bunny Williams' Scrapbook for Living, and the re-issue of On Garden Style, which really is a new book; I promise you will find yourself reading and re-reading until yours falls apart at the seams.
"A garden should make you feel you've entered a privileged space ... a place not just set apart but reverberant ... and it seems to me that, to achieve this, the garden must put some kind of a twist on the existing landscape, turn its prose into something nearer to poetry."
-from Second Nature: A Gardener's Education by Michael Pollan
|"A graphic checkerboard terrace made with squares of grass and cast cement pavers. This simple design can complement almost any style of house."|
"I remember a wide, low arbor ... Underfoot was a brick path edged with violets, overhead were grape-vines, and on each side, half under arbor and half outside, were peonies and irises. No one thought of calling it a pergola. It was merely the way to the kitchen garden."
-Frances Duncan, The Joyous Art of Gardening, 1917
|"The picket fence and wood arbor form a lovely entrance for this garden."|
So much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white chickens
-William Carlos Williams
"Spring and All"
My sincere thanks to Jill Cohen Associates - Where Beautiful Books Begin, for sponsoring this book review. It has truly been a privilege.
Photos: "Reproduced from Bunny Williams On Garden Style; Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2015"