Garden Designers Roundtable: Hort Idols the Live Show!

Today I want to take a different approach (are you suprised?) to the idea of who my horticulture idols are and share how much I’ve learned from visiting the gardens I’ve seen with the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days program.  Some famous, some not, the creators of these gardens shine each year when the gardens are open to the public.

Entrance to a private walled garden in New Jersey

Open Days have allowed me to see extraordinary gardens that I would not have had access to otherwise.  Each one has inspired me.

Patrick Chasse's under pool grotto at the White Garden in New York

Every design discipline has its stars…its creators, its communicators and its mavericks.

An extraordinary potager in a private New Jersey garden

Until 1989 when the conservancy first worked to preserve The Ruth Bancroft Garden in California, America’s private gardens were at risk.

The magical interior of Michael Trapp's garden house in Connecticut

Now, more than twenty years later, tens of thousands of people visit private and public gardens each and every year.

Entrance to the greenhouse gardens at a private New Jersey garden

I’ve been visiting gardens since the first directory was available.  Each spring I visit with my guidebook and camera in hand…

Bunny Williams' understated porch in Connecticut

a day planned out…alone or with a companion I set out to discover America’s garden idols…live!

The round pool at Hortulus Farm in Pennsylvania

On a side note…Leaf Magazine will be giving away ten 2012 Garden Conservancy Open Days Guides during its holiday givewaway starting December 1st.

For more reading on other designer’s Horticultural Idols visit the links below…

Thomas Rainer : Grounded Design : Arlington, Virginia
Scott Hokunson : Blue Heron Landscapes : Granby, CT
Rochelle Greayer : Studio G : Boston, MA
Jenny Peterson : J Peterson Garden Design : Austin, TX
Debbie Roberts : A Garden of Possibilities : Stamford, CT
Andrew Keys : Garden Smackdown : Boston, MA

21 thoughts on “Garden Designers Roundtable: Hort Idols the Live Show!

  1. Susan,

    This was very enjoyable. The interior of Michael Trapp’s garden house was particularly stunning . . . what a concept! Keep up the great work.

    Thomas Rainer

  2. I’m not surprised at your take on the topic of horticulture idols!

    Such gardens, no matter if one knows or has studied the designers’ work, inspire and therefore are worthy of display. And preservation – good design deserves that like anything else “art”, and you know how I feel about that on my usual comments about maintenance. Thanks!

  3. Great take on the topic. I first learned about the Garden Conservancy through the Ruth Bancroft garden, which is only about a mile from my home, and have been a supporter ever since.

  4. Thanks for the tour. Someday I hope to tour more of the East Coast Open Day gardens , they offer such a different horticultural terroir than what I have been used to seeing here on the West Coast.
    I found that opening your garden to the garden convervancy tours can be nerve racking for several weeks leading up to the opening, but after it is all over the experience was well worth it. I still get notes and cards from visitors who enjoyed experiencing the garden, some send photos of themselves in the garden. Those are precious moments that touch your heart.

  5. I’ve been a huge fan of the GC for years, though I’ve never got to venture out of Texas. One of these days! In the meantime, I love visiting your tour! Hey, Austin should have a rockin’ tour in 2012 if you need an excuse to come down (and be on CTG too!)

  6. Wonderful assortment of gardens Susan! I remember once hearing you say that; not only is it enjoyable to visit the open days gardens, I consider it my job as a designer, to see what others are doing good and bad, and to be inspired. That was a bit of a paraphrase (I can’t remember your exact words), but the point was well taken and I has inspired me to go more often myself. Thank you!

  7. I do view it as part of my job, Scott..the most enjoyable part! Thanks for stopping by.

  8. Wish that I could make a trip to Austin…I’ve heard so much about the gardens there! I loved the gardens I visited in Dallas/Fort Worth last year, so Texas is definitely on my radar!

  9. Would you like it more if you knew that the round pool is actually a swimming pool? I didn’t realize it was until I was inspecting some plantings and saw the steps into it and then turned to see a group of chaise lounges adjacent! Sure fooled me.

  10. For me, as a designer, it’s all about how people move through the space, so your comment really hit home. I have to experience things in 3D to really ‘get’ them!

  11. You know you have a place to bunk if you do decide…I’d love to go touring on this side of the country with you!

  12. I hope to visit the Ruth Bancroft garden on my next visit to the Bay Area…I missed it last time. Glad you are a Conservancy geek like me, btw!

  13. The most incredible gardens I have seen have often been anonymous creations…great work is great work indeed.

  14. I want Michael Trapp’s garden house!! It’s absolutely dreamy! After visiting so many gorgeous gardens in CT this past summer, I can’t wait to go back – especially if they’re on the GC tour. I think I just missed them this time, so it seems a little planning is in order – perhaps next summer? Great photos today – thanks!

  15. Droolworthy photos, as always… I’d love to see Michael Trapp’s garden house. (I’d love a garden house of my own. Maybe I’ll make my whole house the garden house.)

    I’m still not a Garden Conservancy member. Gasp! I know. It’s time, though. Paying for it will get me off my ass and out the door to be inspired, and sometimes, especially when you’re busy, that’s a tall order, as much as taking time to be inspired is important.

    Speaking of, Brimfield spring ’12?

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