One of the best parts of the Hidden Pondresort inKennebunkport, Maine is the flower and herb garden, where guests can help themselves to shears from the little garden sheds and snip, snip, snip. I was pure joy to put together this little bouquet for myself, and one for my friend Deb too. We spotted the garden just as we were leaving, so we stuck the blooms in water and brought them home to Boston.
My most fabulous friend and former colleague, Chantal Gordon, along with her adorable and talented husband, Ryan Benoit, recently launched gardening blog The Horticult. Of course, I meant to blog about it in the spring but . . . The New York Times beat me to it! Last Thursday, a superb article by Michael Tortorello about Chantal & Ryan’s crazy amazing backyard, or rather, outdoor room, appeared in the Home & Garden section. What a feat, though not wholly surprising. (Chantal, whose middle name is Aida, is not only an excellent writer herself, but insanely fashionable, smart, and sweet. She worked at Vogue, hung with Lauren Conrad on “The Hills,” etc. Soon I expect she’ll be a best-selling author, as she’s working on an a novel, exotic botany included.)
Anyway, back to the yard. The pair live in a 750-square-foot rental with a 55-by-44-foot, concrete-covered lot near the beach in La Jolla, California. Look what they’ve done to it! Can you believe? What’s more incredible is that it’s DIY, much of it re-purposed, all of it movable. While Chantal tends the succulents, Ryan builds the furnishings, many of which are prototypes for pieces he sells through Ryan Benoit Design. Yes, you too can create an outdoor haven like Ryan and Chantal’s!
Of course, not one to let a good opportunity pass her by, Chantal’s blogging about it, as well as the local dirt & design scene, with help from her photographer/engineer/lieutenant commander husband. On The Horticult, you can catch her exercising (crop top included) on the porch at the Yoga Yard, examine the aphids and inchworms that have invaded their loquat tree (whatever that is), and join them and friends for fruity cocktails al fresco (where’s my invite?!)
When I’m looking for specific types homes to pitch to magazines, I send emails to my design contacts. When I’m looking for gardens for the Boston Globe Magazine gardens issue, I expand my reach to friends. Not being what you’d call a green thumb (ha), my landscape design contacts are hardly far and wide. We scout and shoot a year ahead, so if you have New England gardens to suggest, send me snapshots!
This year I wrote about three gardens, including designer/Elements of Style blogger Erin Gates’ parents’ gorgeous garden in rural Connecticut. I was psyched when she sent me photos and that the editors liked them. We loved that her mom works on the entire thing herself, tractor and all. She’s so sweet and humble about it; it’s really beautiful. Erin’s dad designed the house and her mom designs and tends the various gardens and plantings around the property.