From the restored beauty of Grey Gardens to the minimalist designs of landscape designer Edwina von Gal, Hamptons Gardens showcases the best of the good life.
The ocean-side towns on the far eastern end of Long Island have become synonymous with the smart set. But as Hamptons Gardens ($150, Assouline) reminds us, the area's natural beauty has been drawing weekenders since the 19th century. The mild climate and well-drained soils also make the Hamptons ideal for gardening.
A cottage-style garden is a perfect match for the architecture of this home.
Dynamism is the word that author and landscape designer Jack DeLashmet uses to characterize the gardens currently thriving in the Hamptons. Grey Gardens, for instance, the once overgrown estate portrayed in the eponymous documentary, is now owned by Ben Bradlee and Sally Quinn. Quinn and designer Victoria Fensterer have paid homage to the 1913 design of gray, blue, and white floral palette, but also kept hints of what he calls the earlier era's “romantic tangle.” The plants almost grow into each other and sight lines are blowsy and rich.
Grey Gardens revitalized.
Celebrated designer Edwina von Gal, meanwhile, is known for the minimalist work she's done for residents such as Calvin Klein and Ina Garten. At her own place in the Springs, she rid her grounds of invasive species and encouraged the growth of native switch grass and American hollies; she used a mower to create the paths that shape the property.
Von Gal's salt marsh walk.
Hamptons Gardens also shows beauty on a humbler scale, as at Eileen and Mark Catalano's Springs home. The owners grow fruit trees and vegetables, and keep honey bees. It's more Green Acres than Real Housewives, and it's the most inviting spread in the book.
Montauk daisies planted en masse in North Haven.
An elegant bamboo garden and water feature in Water Mill.