The MAR Blog

Up close and personal.
Where I've been, what I'm doing, what I’ve seen and what I’m up to next.

A garden tour to die for.

Welcome back.

I hope you had a restful and wonderful long Memorial Day weekend and enjoyed the pleasure of having a short week. This year, I celebrated the holiday at home with friends, tending to my garden and training my now 24-week-old schnauzer. You might think that’s not much fun, but in spite of all the invitations for barbecues, I chose to pass and simply unwind at Rosebrook Gardens.

That said, there was one invitation that I could not pass up—a private garden tour. Being a garden tour aficionado I just can’t resist an invitation. Carol, a lover of all things beautiful and big fan of my book Life On Mar’s, A Four Season Garden, wanted to walk me through her garden here in New Canaan, Connecticut. I was excited – I met Carol not long ago at one of my lectures and stayed in touch with her. From that first meeting it was clear to me that Carol had something special, a spark, and we quickly became friends. Carol is as passionate about her garden and home as I am. From the moment we met it was as if we were lost at birth and reunited. Carol is not only a great person with whom to share my love affair of the garden but also happens to love my book and has single handedly purchased over 75 copies. “Mar, they make a great gift”. Love her, her home and everything she touches. And her mother: I must say I want to take away with me as she is a complete doll.

Truth be told, her gardens should be professionally published as they unfold from the moment you enter the grand gates leading you onto the property. To your right is a new parterre garden that welcomes you with an incredible fountain. The boxwoods are lush and the Pee Gee Hydrangea topiaries are a familiar sight as I too have them in my garden. Perhaps, maybe a MAR inspiration, Carol? Haha! Carol’s gardens are a great deal like her interior spaces, each garden is like a room that has it’s own character and amazing function and style. Off the back of the house is an outdoor garden room created to sit and relax, taking in the extended grand back lawn. This garden tour evokes nostalgia in me. I suppose it takes me back to those gardens I have always been fond of while traveling in the English Countryside.

Just as you begin to wander down the stone path from the parterre garden, beauty continues to unfolds in every direction as a secondary set of stepping-stones created from an old hand-laid antique stone stepping-wall stirs a sense of mystery as still ahead the view is concealed and awaits you. The view of the house here is that of a regal manner in a magical place that can only be called “paradise” because it is beautifully situated on the grounds. I stop to take in the abundance of beauty delighting all my senses. Touching the massive stones, smelling the flowers and sipping my bottle of water. “I’m happy and I could live here!” Where’s my cocktail when I need it–I should have brought a flask.

What awaits me through the bushes? A hidden path unfolds as I enter to an area Carol calls “the recovery center.” A private oasis – blocked from a direct view from the house – where plants come to recover and gather their strength, or bide the seasons before they are returned back to the garden. Nothing is wasted and in this spot all manner of plants need to do nothing but recover. Bravo Carol for having a place where even the undesirable are welcomed. This is a great idea to learn from.

We wrapped up our killer garden tour inside with a lovely glass of white wine. There’s my cocktail! The perfect way to finish off a week, but wait – can this get any better? I was invited to dinner and a play at the Westport Country Playhouse to celebrate my belated birthday. MARfest has returned and continues. (I wonder if I can stretch it to August?) Spending time with such wonderful people is a gift. Treating me to dinner, well that’s just not necessary but what the heck I wont say no.

The photos cannot even begin to do the property and gardens justice; it was a phenomenal experience. Yes the gardens were amazing but Carol was the biggest treat of all. I learned, I had fun and I made a dear friend not so long ago by loving my garden and sharing it with others. Making new friends while enjoying my love for the garden is great but making a new friend, well that’s always the bonus!

The rest of the weekend I gave my two year-old Aristocrat Flowing Pear trees a much-needed trim and reshaping, this time into a topiary ball style – I love topiaries. I also worked on a new book and puttered in the garden and garden studio. And Monday I went to our local parade with Miss Violet to meet some friends and take in the fun at a yearly parade party on Myrtle Avenue hosted by the Riggios. My friend Jane Green the author was also, there looking fabulous as always. This was a perfect way to enjoy the holiday.

Tuesday I got amazing news from Blue Sky Media Group that my book became a bestseller over the weekend on several categories on amazon.com. Thank you for your continued support, and let’s keep the momentive going. Next: the New York Times!

As training Violet was in full swing, I was rewarded for one of my training sessions when she brought me back a little something from the garden. As I called for her she entered the house, and I quickly noticed something in her mouth. “Perhaps a toy?” I naively hoped, but when I asked “Violet, what’s in your mouth” she dropped it proudly on the sisal carpet as if to say, “Look what I got for you Daddy and I didn’t even have to kill it.” I discovered a dead bird. (Historically, the type of work for which Schnauzer were bred originally was as highly valued ratters and tireless watchdogs on farms in Germany. Today, they are mostly companion dogs, but some Schnauzers continue to work as Violet so perfectly demonstrated.) For those of you have read my blog before you may remember the last thing Violet brought to me was my underwear – that said, I quickly “fetched” it from the floor and began washing her mouth over the sink. She looked at me as if to say “What, don’t you like fresh bird?” Nevertheless it’s all part of tending to my little girl’s every need.

Have a great weekend and make sure you come back soon.

Mar Signature