Wednesday, September 8, 2010
I just got off the phone with Ed. He was at Yankee Stadium with my ODF (oldest and dearest friend). I was screaming over the crowd: "Ed, can I blog about you?" He said: "I can't hear you", so ODF translated: "Fine! was the answer." So here goes. I only know the eminent Edmund Hollander as a person. He's a living legend, in the world of landscape architecture, but he doesn't live iconically. You won't find Ed on page 6. or the NY Social Diary. He is not a P.R. guy, but he has won every award, in his field, multiple times. His gardens speak for themselves, and are backdrops for films and every shelter magazine on the planet. He does beautiful work for the most beautiful people in the world. Get ready!
To quote our favorite Italian waiter, Constantino, after serving us perfect Bellini cocktails: "What can I say--Nothing!" Simplicity, and interplay of light--reflective white hydrangeas, combined with shadowy lavender, are a leitmotif, in design collaborations with partner, Maryanne Connelly. A rustic gate and fence define the space, creating a subtle transition, a new garden room, or a practical barrier for deer.
Having been an avid gardener for years, I am deeply impressed by this walk to the shore. Plantings intentionally flow between the boundaries of natural environment, to create an undetectable rhythm, with an indigenous sensibility. You see beauty and nature first and are transported from the quotidian, to the eternal moment. In their book, Gardens for the New Country Place, The Landscape Architecture of Edmund Hollander and Maryanne Connelly, we see the beautiful photographic, end results of their chemistry, first, with mother earth, layered within the vernacular culture and history of the surrounding countryside. Collaborating with luminary architects and interior designers, their artistic aesthetics coalesce, into a single comprehensive vision.
"When you enter a Hollander landscape you are suddenly quite aware of what Architects refer to as scale and structure......This perfect connection between spaces arises from a deep understanding of land that is both scientific and poetic. "
We are irresistibly drawn down a path of simple plant combinations of varying texture and planes. If flowers could speak, these friendly companions whisper: "Come this way."
Soft, airy plantings balance the harder lines of structures, and more formal elements. We flow seamlessly from garden room to lawn to woodland, with smooth transitional space between, in the timeless country house tradition of Gertrude Jekyll.
An orderly heirloom apple orchard evokes the area's contextual, agrarian roots in this transitional space. I grew up with an apple orchard, and we loved sitting in the fragrant branches in the spring, or lounging among the apples, munching away in the fall. After the first few hard frosts, apple branches can delightfully be gathered and carried inside and forced to bloom, filling the house with scent. Destination spaces, like swimming pools and tennis courts are sited with great concern for the overall natural views.
An infinity edge pool, merges with the bay in the distance, and is subtly tinted to echo the natural water environment, organically shaped as if it carved its own space. Swimmers can float into the conversation, literally. Intimacy within the space is preserved with a verdant pergola and low hedge combination, creating soft shadows, while preserving sweeping vistas.
Same pool different season! Exterior design is truly three dimensional chess. Preserving the natural beauty of the whole, throughout the course of the day, seasons, considering elements, the mathematics of architecture, botany, zone...Oy! White plantings are deliberately employed extensively in these gardens as they shimmer in the evenings, leading the eye and delighted family and friends, along intimate paths, and quiet rooms.
I yearn to lie exactly in this spot. Built into the steep hillside, discreetly beneath the house and above the apple orchard, water cascades down dry stack walls appealing to all the senses. A fragrant and colorful cottage garden, behind the lounge chairs, repeats the descending walled garden plantings, leading down the hill to the pool. A sweep of lawn connects the two, providing perfect visual punctuation. Lead us into temptation! Let it be the temptation to create beauty, harmony, with the reverent hand of man. I'll leave you with some more eye ticklers.
Descending borders, planted to bloom in all four seasons, with the perfect grammatical insertions of pee gee hydrangeas.
A sacred space worthy of a water goddess.
A lesson on balance and color harmony continuing into the fall season. Thank you, Ed and Maryanne, for your masterful, living artistry.
As a gift to our commenters, followers, or including us in your blog rolls,
we will send a lucky winner Ed and Maryanne's fabulous read.
By Paul Bennett
Principal Photography by:
Betsy Pinover Schiff
Additional Photography by:
Giveaway ends on
Wednesday, September 14th