Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Edmund Hollander and Maryanne Connelly Landscape Architects, and book Giveaway

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: 
Charles Mayer
Tori Butt
Dency Kane
Steve Turner
Giveaway ends on
Wednesday, September 14th


  1. What gorgeous landscapes - in every season! The way Ed and Maryanne create interest and beauty in the beds and along the stairs is genius. I love the use of hydrangea, astilbe and bluebells for contrast in shape and color. I'll buy the book if I don't win! :)

  2. Liz - I know I can always count on you to present something I am in love with! I had bookmarked Ed and Maryanne's site ages ago but hadn't been back in quite a while. Everything about this post is magnificent - the images, your descriptions. The only negative is that none of these are where I live. I am ordering the book immediately - forget wish list.

  3. Collectively Ed Hollander's work is the most beautiful group of contemporary landscape designs I've ever seen by a single firm. A visit to his website reveals a huge body of additional work. It would be very difficult to get any of your own work done if your house had been landscaped by him, given the inevitable desire to daydream in the garden or pass the time looking out the window.

  4. Inspiring. Lead us into temptation indeed. It IS like the flowers are calling you to come this way or that. It's like you can't put your finger on any one specific thing but all of it together just make you feel so serene.

  5. Great post. It is one of my great goals in life to learn something (anything!) about being a gardner. My thumb is certainly not green, but perhaps there is potential!
    I will have to visit Ed Hollander's website.
    P.S. Liz, thank you for the kind comment on my Housewife Bliss guest post!

  6. Okay, seriously, these images are gorgeous and I envy your way with words. Honestly, I am flattered you read Hill Country House with my casual, folksy expression. Thank you for your kind words, and you are right - my friends are not hicks. They are extremely gifted and I am amazed and humbled by the talent in Fredericksburg. Oh, and one more thing...the 14th is Tuesday and it's my birthday!

  7. Breathtaking! As an avid gardener myself, i can appreciate the meticulous attention to structure and flow while maintaining a natural look.

    P.S. I looked at the shop and love your items which seem to be geared toward a more traditional loving demographic(i did see a few contemporary pieces) I also didn't know that you're located in Winston-Salem(NC). I live in Fayetteville. We're almost neighbors:-).

  8. How beautiful. Like a mini vacation. Yummy!

  9. Gorgeous gardens! If I could only choose just one - it would be the first picture of hydrangeas and lavender - oh so pretty!

  10. OMG..I can feel the mist in that last autumn photo. And that infinity pool sitting above the world....I am in photo viewing heaven.

  11. What amazing layouts. The way most of those layouts echo the beauty of the surrounding nature are perfect.

  12. Such breathtaking images, i wish i had an infinity pool... and all that lavender... beautiful!

  13. Hi Liz,

    You have a great blog! Just wanted to thank you for stopping by The Gamine. We will be sure to keep reading for more beautiful things on dovecotedecor.

    Nikki & Sarah of

  14. Lead us into temptation....
    please!!! If it means taking
    in this kind of beauty, I'm
    there : ) I so enjoyed the
    tour of these lovely gardens
    and yowser, how I'd LOVE to
    win this book!
    xx Suzanne
    PS I realized after leaving
    you a comment on your last post
    that I mixed up what I wanted
    to say...My grandma lived in
    Locust Valley and my mom
    graduated from Glen Cove H.S.,
    not the other way around!

  15. The pools, the gardens, my oh my... Thanks for sharing so much beauty! And thank you for your sweet comment on my blog :-) It's readers like you that keep me blogging when life throws curveballs my way, or I'm feeling uninspired. I so appreciate you!

    P.S. I have family in Welcome, NC. Winston-Salem is just lovely!

  16. Thank you for visiting my blog and inviting me for a visit. I have been wandering around in your back post, so enjoying myself. I will be back. So interesting, your posts on renderings, I was just researching James Steinmeyer who illustrated Charlotte Moss's book Creating a Room.

  17. I can picture myself sitting by the pool, garden, patio in every single one of these photos- they are BEAUTIFUL!

  18. Like you, I love gardening ... it's such a sanity saver! Thank you for this inspiring article!

  19. Since we are currently in the throws of fixing up our deck, and doing a few things to our yard, this helped me to remember that with a plan and patience, it can grow into something beautiful. It also helped me show how nicely a pool would look in our backyard as well ;) I feel like i just read the best night, night story book. Lovely weekend to you :) Kelly

  20. Beautiful, just beautiful! Their work is truly inspirational...everything from the hardscape to the pools...AND, the profuse use of white hydrangeas! I didn't see one spider or web in any of them either! ;)

    Thank you for introducing us to such talent...
    xo J~

  21. Dearest friend,

    thank you for your visit; do enjoy yourself at this event and I MUST SAY, your tour of these lovely places just takes me away to a peaceful place. My first week of school was tiring!!! ENJOY YOURSELF!! Anita

  22. thanks for sharing this lovely destination, a must see! I checked out your on line store, it is amazing! I am sure it is a succesful business, you have an array of beautiful masterpieces! hope you are enjoying your weekend. verbena cottage

  23. Love the infinity pools! What I love about these is that they aren't at the beach, I love the rustic landscape around them, it's a bit different than your traditional beach waterscape. He is incredibly talented! XX!

  24. Stunning gardens..thoroughly enjoyed the inspirational before tackling my garden work for the day

  25. What a wonderful giveaway and how kind of you to share with us such an incredible gift of this Landscape Architect. Please thank him for such inspiration.

  26. hi good day nice post you have . great . i hope you have a post about wind spinners
    im interested on this i hope you can help me . thank you!

  27. via e mail
    Lizzie said....
    Like the kids say, these places are sick!

  28. Those pics are just amazing!!!! I have been channeling landscape architecture lately, we are moving to the backyard...the snowball viburnum and lavender and steps is just beautiful. Thanks for the inspiration.

    --Gretchen O.

  29. when I say "moving to the backyard" I meant in the design sense, not literally:)

  30. Pure genius!
    Such beautiful gardens.
    And I love his "approval" for this post!

  31. Eddie and Maryanne: drop me note at

    Beautiful work!!

  32. Great post, I am an avid reader of this blog, keep up the good work, and I'll be a regular visitor for a very long time.
    Landscape Designer Virginia

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  34. A garden designer may have a formal education and may not but is usually well versed in horticulture. Garden designers also works with site analysis, light availability, cost estimates and such but often do not work with hardscape elements. Landscaping Irving TX


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