Now in its fifth year, the ON+OFF the Ground competition, held at LongHouse Reserve in East Hampton, New York, allows designers of all stripes to craft garden containers while indulging their creative fancies. Author Ina Garten, painter April Gornik, and architect Frederick Stelle judged this year's creations, which ranged in tenor from classic to whimsical. Craig James Socia’s 1967 Yen featured Scaevola, passionflower, and climbing morning glory spilling out of the remains of a yew tree. Garten gave it first prize; Gornik gave it an honorable mention. Reuse and plastic were leitmotifs in the collection — designer Harvey Bernstein used dry-cleaner bags to create a sculptural wrapping for several plants, garnering an honorable mention nod from Stelle. “In previous years when we’ve seen plastic used in the garden, it was rather disheartening to look at,” says Matko Tomicic, executive director of LongHouse. “Yet once the plastic was in the hands of a master, it came out pretty good.”
Pictured, from left: Craig James Socia's 1967 Yen; Madeleine Piro with her A La Carte, a wheeled cart and two chairs.