When we went on our Maine trip last fall we made A LOT of stops at gardens. We are so thankful that James and Charlotte enjoy gardening and are game for most of our garden stops. We generally only have to concede with frequent stops for snacks.
I say this all the time, but the gardening community is the most supportive and welcoming. Through a friend we had dinner with in Maine, while also meeting another new gardening friend, we were able to make the connection to tour Bunny Williams’ garden our way back home. I thought about editing down my photos, but I think we can all use the escape of Bunny’s garden right now, so I will break up into a few posts since I have over 50 photos.
What I think is great about these photos is we toured the garden in September. The garden is often included during Trade Secrets’ garden tours during the spring and is frequently photographed. Bunny is very giving with her gardens, but I don’t know if there as many photos of the garden at the tail end of summer.
I have ordered my photos in the path we took through the gardens. We parked at the bottom of the apple orchard hill, looking up towards the iconic Greek Revival pool house. Notice the un-mowed turf around the orchard, not every aspect of a garden needs to be manicured.
POOL AND POOL HOUSE. We started our tour walking up the hill to the pool and pool house. The pool is surrounded by french limestone coping with what I am guessing is a antique wagon wheel used as sculpture (I have a few of those!).
Here are a few views of the pool house. I have a copy of Bunny’s book An Affair with a House and read up about securing the white pine tree columns from an old estate being cleared for development. The building has perfect Greek architectural geometry, so selecting the right matching ten trees for the pillars was key.
WOODLAND GARDEN Here is where I am letting you down in my tour, the woodland garden. I was having a wonderful conversation walking through the space, that I did not take very many photos! However it is a great inspiration to everyone that has a heavily wooded area and I am sorry I did not gather more. Bunny and her team work to add back as many natives as possible within the space and it is a wonderful reflective area compared to all the other more structured spaces. Here is a quick glance of what lies just beyond the pool house. You understand how perfect the raw timber building looks in its surrounding.
This cute little building within the woodlands houses the pump for the water feature. I love the details and scale of the building, almost like a home for garden gnomes.
THE STUDIO I assume all designers (from interior to garden to graphic and all in between) crave projects. The studio was created from the next door neighbor’s home. I imagine the walk from the house, past the pool house to the studio is the best commute to work imaginable. The gift of space includes the ability to create many different gardens, and Bunny’s property is over 13 acres. Even though these gardens are of a grand scale, it does show you how to have fun and play with your property to include different type of gardens, that what is surrounding the front entry does not need to match the back yard.
PARTERRE GARDEN. Next we moved into the Parterre Garden behind the barn. This once was the vegetable garden but has transferred to a more ornamental space. Since this is late September all the summer annuals have stretched to their peek bloom and height. You lose a bit of the garden’s framework created by clipped hedges, but if you search for other photos of the garden you can see the strong architecture within the design.
Outside the conservatory are beautiful succulents and summer annual plantings. From inside the conservatory they really bring the outside garden right into the windows. The three windows seen here are the reclaimed from a demolished house with the end doors made to match.
THE CONSERVATORY. These next photos are all inside the conservatory with the collection of favorite plants covering every available surface. The floor is heated to provide a great greenhouse space year around for tender plants. The space is built to eliminate the worry about watering damage and I am sure no two visits to the space have plants in the same grouping.
I am going to stop the tour here and will follow up with the rest of the garden tour in my next post within the next few days. I would also recommend reading Bunny’s Book – An Affair with a House. I was able to pull a lot of the details included here from my personal copy. It has been a while since I reviewed mine, and after seeing the garden in person, the book provided a great story to the order of creation and evolution. If you are looking for your chance to tour Bunny’s garden, look to adding Trade Secret’s Garden Rare Plant and Garden Sale to your 2021 calendar. The show has been cancelled for this year (May 16-17, 2020) so I am sure the vendors will have a stock pile of great stuff next year. I know we are all ready to start exploring America’s great gardens again.