Bunny Williams On Garden Style

While some of you, like me, may still have your original 1998 edition of Bunny Williams On Garden Style, you will definitely want to update your library with this marvelous newly revised volume. In a much larger format with many new, bigger and brighter photos, Bunny inspires and informs us about style in the outdoor world.

Bunny Williams On Garden StyleAnd gardening neophytes, fear not, for Bunny is gentle and logical in her approach, assuring us that “some of the most comforting sanctuaries are simple, with limited plant material.” As she instructs, she includes beautiful examples from around the world to illustrate her points. “Nothing is more intriguing than a doorway leading into a garden,” as seen in this Belgian garden designed by Jacques Wirtz, below, where a rose covered door leads into a Moorish pool house.

Jacques Wirtz garden in Bunny Williams On Garden StyleIn the first section, Imagine, basic tenets of gardens are outlined to help you determine your personal style and capabilities. Just as it is important to educate your eye when learning about interiors and antiques, it is equally important with gardens. We are encouraged to look at great garden design both abroad and in the past. So even though the formal gardens at Villa Gamberaia, in Settignano, Italy are grand, “elements of its style can be easily translated to more modest schemes.”

Villa Gamberaia in Bunny Williams On Garden Style

Once we approach the actual process of planning a garden, there are many considerations. Just as scale, texture, color and use of space define interiors, so these issues are equally relevant when creating outdoor rooms. “The most magical gardens, those that evoke the strongest emotion, are a combination of solid structure , wonderful plants, and delightful garden ornaments.” Below, a formal town garden by Anthony Noel includes architectural interest, contrast in textures and scale and interesting plantings.

Anthony Noel garden in Bunny Williams Garden Style

Section II, Good Bones Make Good Rooms examines the four basics – walls, floor, roof and passageways. – with wonderful advice and examples. A path for example, can be of lawn itself, as Bunny’s on her Connecticut property. The field, planted with fountain grass, is mowed to create a path to the pool, below, as you can also see in our video of Susanna’s and my visit to Bunny’s iconic pool house.

Bunny Williams On Garden Style

Just as we discussed anticipation with Gil Schafer in terms of siting a house, Bunny discusses the concept for the garden. A passageway can frame your view and set the mood. “Gates, arbors, pergolas, and hoops are the doors and hallways of discovery.” The entrance to Bunny’s woodland garden below combines architectural elements with tall columnar arborvitaes and rustic stone and gravel steps.

Bunny Williams Garden StyleFurnishing the garden includes containers, ornaments and furniture. And right about now,  few words are more encouraging than “Let’s face it. Container gardening is better than therapy for ending the winter blues.” And Bunny feels that containers can be an integral part of your garden style, as in her garden where large hydrangea-filled terra cotta pots anchor the steps into her sunken garden.

Bunny Williams On Garden Style

Gardens can be works of art, especially when thoughtful designers introduce delightful and sometimes unexpected ornament into the mix. In Richard Shapiro’s spectacular garden, simple stone fragments add contrast and sense of timelessness to the clipped boxwood.

Bunny Williams On Garden Style

In the late Bill Blass’s garden, stone fragments are artfully placed against an ancient tree adding an air of mystery and magic to this special spot.

Bunny Williams On Garden StyleWhile not all of us have the talent or resources to include topiaries in our gardens, they are a wonderful whimsical element that have for centuries celebrated man’s mastery over nature. It’s hard to beat them for impact and fun such as in the Ladew Topiary Gardens in Monkton, Maryland where a giant bird rests on concentric circles.

Bunny Williams On Garden StyleWhile such giant statements may be for the chosen few, there are so many ideas to glean from these pages including charming drawings throughout, such as these below of edging options, which help illustrate the details of garden style.

Bunny Williams On Garden StyleWhether you are an experienced gardener or a rank beginner, Bunny provides ample information and inspiration, in the most down-to-earth unintimidating manner. You will find it a wonderful addition for any stage of your garden’s creation or enhancement.


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6 Responses to Bunny Williams On Garden Style

  1. Ellen Fisch says:

    Master Gardener: Bunny Williams! Her insights into garden beauty and function are iconic!

  2. Jayne says:

    Will definitely get this on my book shelf! I’ve visited her garden in CT twice, and though I have the 1998 version, I’d love to know where she’s been on her gardening journey since then!

  3. franki says:

    I loved the Ladew Topiary Gardens in Monkton, Maryland!! Just planted six huge pots with boxwoods to line our lane … it’s a start… franki

  4. Phyllis says:

    I loved visiting her garden on a Garden Conservancy Open Day last June and will definitely be picking up the revised volume!

  5. elizabeth says:

    Tudo muito lindo! Adoro!

  6. Deborah Main says:

    The perfect inspiration for spring gardening! I remember vividly when I watched the video y’all did of Bunny about her Roman columns and her garden retreat. I was captivated!! I kept thinking, who is this Bunny Williams?? I would never have guessed that a year after that I would meet her in person at Treillage!

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