Charlotte Moss is a designer, author, and philanthropist. Also the designer of many products, which include collections of carpets, furniture, fabrics and china. AND she is a serious gardening expert, AND a phenomenal photographer. Meet her 9th and latest book, Charlotte Moss: Garden Inspirations, which is loaded with the most breathtaking photographs – taken by her. I love how she states that this book is not a “gardening book”, but rather a “book on gardens”… where talent meets personal passion in a big way.
I have gotten lost in this fascinating book for hours at a time. It is the best virtual vacation I have ever taken, which rarely happens in my digitally disruptive world.
“If you had to describe my garden, it’s not so much about parterres and sweeping vistas as it is about intimate spaces, small rooms – gardens within gardens.”
Moss invites us into her East Hampton home and gardens. You won’t want to ever leave. The gardens were carefully planned for how they would be enjoyed from inside of the house and out. I have never seen anything like this. Oyster shells, boxwoods, and sophisticated garden elements that are way beyond my level of gardening comprehension. When she and her husband Barry Friedberg purchased this home in 1989, it had zero landscaping. Not many people would view this as a plus; most would panic. Charlotte Moss rolled up her sleeves, consulted the experts, visited legendary gardens, and studied avidly, which resulted in the breathtaking oasis that is now known as Boxwood Terrace.
Because of this book, for the first time in my life I have an interest in gardens. I feel enlightened by an aesthetic and a philosophy of gardens that I did not know existed. Moss generously shares knowledge gleaned from her exhaustive studies that all levels of gardener will find useful.
“In the twin guest room the scheme of mixed cool blues and painted furniture is warmed by black and white framed photos I took in France. All of my guest rooms face the garden over a wisteria covered pergola facing south.”
Wouldn’t you love to be her guest? There is a thoughtfulness about Moss inherent in everything she does.
“Good food and presentation, beautiful flowers, crisp linens, and a thoughtfully set table are what any good hostess knows are the key to an enjoyable meal. All of these ingredients combined create a warm and inviting ambience and you now have the only formula I know.”
Back to her guests. Wait until you see the chapter entitled Dining in the Country. Her menus, table setting talents, and floral arrangements will transport you into the creative world of Charlotte Moss. Her talents are many, and to see them come together in Garden Inspirations is enlightening.
“It is always worth reminding ourselves that many of the historic and significant gardens we tour around the world started out looking like a wasteland. The stories of the people that created them have intrigued me even more. The vision, the stamina, the curiosity the stick-to-it, never say die attitudes have given us great beauty and peaceful havens inviting us to stroll and to collect our thoughts.”
The book includes a chapter on her research of spectacular gardens around the world: England, France, Italy, Russia, and America. She photographs gardens in great detail for later reference. These magnificent photos not only train our eye for design elements, but for fine photography as well.
Her thoroughness of study bring us to another chapter about pioneering females who were famous for their green thumbs. With profiles from Sackville West- who gardened in jodhpurs and pearls to Empress Josephine- the patroness of agriculture, with quite a few interesting characters in-between (including Beatrix Potter, Bunny Mellon, Colette), we get another angle of Moss’s research. It goes without saying that she would have to have an extensive handle on botany to even be able to approach the creative possibilities that you will witness throughout the book. Clearly she is operating on a high intellectual-creative level to bring these facets together so artfully.
“Be open-minded about flowers and their containers, and you might surprise yourself. I would much rather see someone do something spontaneous and unexpected. The confidence to do that comes with practice, and along the way you develop your own personal style.”
Unsurprisingly, she has a garden room in her home dedicated to this passion. A room that she and her husband Barry refer to as her ninth green, where she can unwind, have peace of mind, and make the magical floral arrangements happen. I love that. She shares pointers on arranging flowers and encourages us to “give it a go”.
The layout of Garden Inspirations is well designed; would you expect any less? Each chapter title is hand written in a beautiful large script. Throughout the book, she has planted a little bonus feature to make it interactive. There are five “digimarc” enhanced pages that will take readers to original bonus video content, via the digimarc app- so cool! I’m telling you, this is not a one-sitting read. It is a very generous resource, loaded with years of passionate research, inspiration and images. This is one to refer to often. If you lend your copy out, you are unlikely to ever see it again. It is THAT GOOD.
Order your copy here. In case you haven’t thought of the perfect Mothers Day Gift…
© Charlotte Moss: Garden Inspirations by Charlotte Moss, Rizzoli New York, 2015. Press images are available and are to be credited on a case-by-case basis, but no images may be used, in print or electronically, without written consent from the publisher.
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