Many garden books come across my desk, and while I can easily resist how-tos on propagation, I don't stand a chance when a book has a cover that draws me into its world; somehow it feels like glimpsing a scene, powerful and intact, if fleeting, from a train window. Such was the case with the luminous jacket of Stacy Bass's new book, In The Garden (Melcher Media). Bass shoots at dawn when possible. "That sweet and gentle light," she writes in the book's introduction, "coupled often with a morning mist or fog, has proven so seductive that it's hard to resist."
I want to step away from my desk, into that garden, and under that arbor, with that dog at my heels. The garden on the cover is in Greenfield Hill, and consists of a series of outdoor "rooms." The book, with photos by Bass and essays by Suzanne Gannon, tells how the 18 New England gardens featured were brought to life by gardeners inspired by a landscape, a single flower, or a garden seen on travels. The gardens range from orderly, with geometric parterres, to rambling, with wild grasses.
The Greenwich garden above, with its sprays of pretty pink peonies, was designed by horticulturalist and garden designer Phillip Watson.
The book's photographer, Stacy Bass, says, “I love going to a new place, usually before the sun rises, and being taken by surprise about what will be before me as the sun comes up. Unless it is necessary for an assignment, I prefer not to look at scouting shots so that I can react, in real time, to what I see without any preconceived notions about what to shoot and from what angles.”
Here at another Greenwich garden, the roses -- ballerina hybrid musk -- are so dense and beautiful they keep the white picket fence from looking clichéd.
This garden at Greenfield Hill echoes the gardens of Europe with an array of classic features within -- armillaries, benches, tuteurs, and spheres.
The owner of this formal garden in New Canaan once made her living in the theatre. A formal sunken garden (Act I, perhaps?) is ready to steal the scene just inside the gate.
In The Garden releases April 24; you can order it for $31.50 at amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/In-The-Garden-Stacy-Bass/dp/1595910735