It finally feels like summer has arrived here in NYC - thank goodness - and we’re so inspired by these balmy June days! Having also been inspired by the annual Trade Secrets event, Bunny's beautiful gardens are on all of our minds. Bunny has been caring and working on her acres in Falls Village for years and all of that experience lends itself to some tips that are easy to implement, whether you have a sprawling estate, or a little slice of green in your urban space.

Consider the Space

Before getting started on any outdoor project, it is so important to consider the space you have to work with. When you’re putting together a new garden, it should be in keeping with the style of your home for continuity. The other important factor to consider is what’s naturally there - let nature lead! With large properties you can enhance the sweeping scale - when it comes to smaller spaces, or an apartment garden, Bunny cleverly notes that enclosing your space creates an intimate feel. “Enclosure permits an intimate garden world that can be furnished with any number of wonders, and soon the lack of a stream or sweeping view becomes unimportant.”

“If you take the time to listen, the land will speak to you. The idea is to make your garden correspond to fit what nature has already given.”

- Bunny Williams

Use Furniture to its Full Potential

Not only will adding furniture encourage you to spend more time outside, but it will also enhance the garden and make the flow from indoors to outdoors seamless. The terrace is, of course, the first place you may think to put a bench or table, but a truly magical atmosphere can be created by moving furniture into your favorite nooks. “Put a table in the woods. Pull up a chair to the roses. Mow a path to a drooping tree and park a chair under it,” Bunny suggests.

“Make room where there was none before”

- Bunny Williams

Structure 

Bunny always says that “a great garden begins with a strong plan, and then you can start dreaming about the plants,” which can be hard as so often we’re desperate to go and buy all of the gorgeous flowers we’ve been imagining! But in her words “you have to get the scale and structure right before you plant anything.” Look at the space you have to work with and try sketching out a plan.

“I’ve learned that, just as interior design, you have to create a floor plan first.”

- Bunny Williams

When you’re choosing plants, there are four main elements to keep in mind: foliage, scale, texture and color. Foliage with interestingly colored leaves, or flowering groundcover is a great base. From there, layering different textures and playing with color scheme adds depth and atmosphere.

Plant Flowers You Love To Use

Bunny loves to plant flowers in the colors she needs for her house. Tulips are fabulous as they’re always the first to emerge every spring and there’s so much variety in color! Apricot, dark red, pink even black. Adding some larger blossoms for scale, like branches of lilac or apple blossom make an arrangement fit for a hallway or foyer.

“I think you should only plant flowers that you love. I choose colors that will work with my rooms, so I can always go into the garden and come out with a bouquet.”

- Bunny Williams

Experiment

“Gardening is all about cultivating the senses - the palette of colors, the scent of the flowers, planting for songbirds”

- Bunny Williams

Experimenting with you outdoor space has so much to do with your personal taste and style. Bunny advises “if you’re not certain which garden style is for you, go look in your closets.” The creativity that comes out in your personal style is the same kind of creativity you can play with in a garden, considering all of the color and textures at your fingertips. Think back to your earliest memories of being outside - it makes a difference to find cues that will comfort you in your own sanctuary.

For more inspiration, visit Bunny's gardens in person (The Garden Conservatory) - open to the public June 16th & July 14th, 10 am - 4 pm.