Spring is more than fresh colors and fragrances. It is also a chance to spend more time outdoors. I’ve been getting into gardening in the last few years, including a little patch of herbs and vegetables — all this even though I was sufficiently warned that the pastime can cast a spell.
I find it time well spent. One of the best reasons is that I get to teach my children about the earth. When they grow their own tomato plants, secure the growing vines and anticipate the first fruits, we’re sharing a bit of real magic. They’re giddy when they finally get to pluck ripe red produce and bring it into the kitchen.
There are also lifetime memories being made — of them watering the hydrangea and astilbe or, my favorite, bringing me a fresh bloom for the little vase on the windowsill.
The garden has become my place to relax. There is hard work, of course, pulling weeds and replanting sections, but it’s therapeutic after a stressful day. I didn’t see it that way until I talked to Janet Christie of Fairfield. She has a huge garden that she and her husband have designed and fostered over many years. When we met, she told me that she loves to cut things back to exorcise frustration or tend to a young plant to connect to her nurturing side.
It’s taken me a long time to understand what gardeners have been telling me for years: you get back “an essential of life” when you plunge your hands into the earth and create. This gift is more than the flowers and vegetables. As Janet says, you connect to something larger.
This may be why our gardening issue is one of my favorite. We get to tour some of the best properties I’ve ever seen, and talk to the people who have made them this way.
This year, we offer you two gardens. One is a gentleman’s garden, designed very thoughtfully for leisurely strolls (glass of wine optional). The other is Janet’s garden, which bursts with colors and happy memories.
I hope you enjoy these stories — as well as our interview with Lucie Arnaz, an extraordinary performer, and our feature on one of the most important decisions parents make: hiring a nanny. You might want to bring this issue outside, find a cozy spot and soak in all the delights springtime has to offer.