In his new book, horticulturalist and garden writer Jack Staub gives readers a glimpse into a world of rarely seen, idyllic gardens.
Who better than Horticulturealist Jack Stuab to write a book on secret gardens? As the owner of the hundred-acre farmstead Hortulus Farm Nursery & Gardens with Renny Reynolds, Staub certainly knows about private Edens firsthand.
Private Edens: Beautiful Country Gardens is a lavishly photographed book that highlights personal country gardens primarily in the northeastern and mid-Atlantic states. Beatuifully depicted here are five New York gardens, two from Maryland, one from New Jersey, and four from Pennsykvania, Connecticut, and Virginia.
Each gardens is unique and reflects the owner's vision and plant material completementary to its particular zone. Staub often relies on the owner's own words to transport readers to the individual special site. We learn what each property was originally like, how it has been enhanced and amended, and the owner's dream of what is to come. These gardens are all very well suited to their vernacular, architecture, and individual topography. In every garden is a wonderful balance between nature and design. Trees are vital to all of these gardens, several of which have their own small orchards of assorted fruit trees.
One of my favorite gardens featured in Private Edens is Oak Hill in Aldie, Virginia. Oak Hill is a private reside not open to the public. James Monroe inherited the land from hin uncle, and Thomas Jefferson designed the home for Monroe in 1820. When Monroe retired from his second term in office as President of the United States, he lived at Oak Hill until moving to NEw York to reside with his daughter at the end of his life.
This imposing brick home has an extraordinary Doric colonnade set on high foundation that overlooks the garden and more that a thousand acres of rolling Virginia countryside. Huge boxwoods and an allee of mature trees generously frame the handsome, redbrick facade. Just looking at the photograps of this hime and garden makes my heart pine for Virginia.
Private Edens is a gorgeous resource. It offers terrific ideas for combining plant material, working in conjunction with steep slopes, or blocking undesirable views. The varieties of handsome wooden fencing, stone terraces, and walls for dining and solace are also inspiring. Treat yourself to this extraordinary book and enhance your own Eden.
Another kind of curiosity — sneaking a peek at finely tended properties from the luxury bracket of the real estate listings — can be satisfied in Jack Staub’s PRIVATE EDENS: Beautiful Country Gardens (Gibbs Smith, $50). Not many of us are able to emulate the owner of the magnificent “farm” in North Salem, N.Y., who finishes her daily horseback ride with a walk to “check the orchard, the vegetable gardens, the forest, the backside of the lilac lair.” But thanks to Rob Cardillo’s sumptuous photographs, we can lean over the fence and commune with her cows, even see that her blueberries are starting to ripen. This is a book packed with stupendous vistas, wildflower meadows, boxwood-bordered garden “rooms” and water features seemingly immune to pond scum. Even the animals look buffed to a high sheen in the perfect light.