My husband and I were gifted recently with an inheritance…..not the cash or kingdom kind, nor jewelry. Instead, we received a set of four concrete flower & fruit garden finials. Amazingly, they did not belong to any family members. These were given by friends, weary with the task of dispersing a lifetime of goods that occupied their family home.
We were thrilled to have them, and frankly surprised that all four survived the decades intact. Things happen in the garden….your dog spies a rabbit and goes tearing through the beds, jumping over the low wall that holds a finial. Or the dear soul who comes to help with the heavy outdoor work and leans too closely and there goes the finial. I love the word CROWN, and all that it implies, and found a very old brick bearing the word. I placed it near a statue in my hellebore bed. It went missing one day, and a search found it propping open a gate. Things happen in the garden, including the slow march of time that embellishes statuary with its own brand of beauty: mosses and lichens attest to the aging process. Much like a face road-mapped with smile lines.
TREILLAGE closed last month, and although I never set foot in the door, I am sad it is gone. Bunny Williams, ( my friends and I call her Bunny, but she doesn’t know us) and John Rosselli were spot-on the front end of the garden trend. They knew what every good student of American history knows: the Pilgrims brought their faith and their families here, and left the garden antiques behind. So John and Bunny made a charming treasure trove of a shop filled with other people’s things from far, far away. Once, at the end of a trip to NYC, I hurried to East 75th street, only to find Treillage closed for the day. Undaunted, I stood like a kid outside a candy store and shopped from a crack in the door, my eyes surveying every single piece collected from the world over. Reluctantly I left, taking nothing with me but inspiration, excitement, ideas, and a renewed love of old gardeny things, and grateful that in the midst of a hustle-bustle city of gray and black, there was a refreshing oasis of green called TREILLAGE. In spite of its closing, inspiration can still be had every year, as ‘Trade Secrets’ hosts a fabulous, and often famous, garden tour, and sometimes includes John and Bunny’s delightful farmhouse garden in Connecticut.
Funny thing about our recent inheritance; the finials probably did start out in our family. Paul’s father, an early Tyler landscape architect, designed and planted this home, and likely sold the four finials as finishing points on the low brick wall surrounding their back terrace. At our house, they live inside; owing to the fact that all our posts and pedestals are currently occupied with other finials ( hmmm, a finial fetish?). When you love the garden, the inside and outside begin to look the same. Once, a client stopped by the house and coming inside stammered, ” Your house…. It looks like your nursery.” She was a little shocked, I think. I was complimented.