Bunny Williams in the House!

bunnywilliams_041514Bunny Williams will be illuminating the stage at the  Garden Bloggers Conference!

By day, Bunny is one of New York’s most successful interior designers, a woman whose hours are filled with high-powered meetings, magazine photo shoots, and detailed consultations with clients. But when the week shades into Friday evening, Bunny can be found in the idyllic retreat of her Connecticut garden, the emotional center of her life and the source of perhaps her greatest creative efforts. After five days at the top of the design world, nothing means more to this warm and brilliant woman than to spend the next two with her hands in the dirt, musing about the effect of trees and flowers, paths and benches.

The passion Bunny feels for her garden is a deep one shared by countless others — in the country, in the suburbs, and even in the city. Gardening has become America’s favorite pastime, but its vocabulary remains intimidating, even to those fluent in the language of style and design. Applying the lessons we’ve learned about interior space to the outdoors is a good idea, but it doesn’t work without help: before we can decorate the outdoor room we need to understand its character, and few people can guide us to that understanding better than Bunny Williams.

See the entire agenda and speaker line-up.   The conference program will include  learning about:

  • What Do Successful Bloggers Do
  • The Power of Personal Branding for Professional Success
  • How to Build a Strategic Social Media Presence & Memorable Brand Recognition
  • How to Monetize Your Online Brand
  • How to Expand Your Brand into Video & Gain a Global Presence
  • The Ultimate Blog Platform
  • How to Prevent Your Website from Getting Hacked
  • How to Get More Qualified Traffic & Drive Readers to Action
  • Connecting with Users: What You Should Know About Search and Analytics
  • How Photography Can Help Build Your Brand, Differentiate Your Blog, & Build Traffic on Your Web




Cultivating Garden Style

Cultivating Garden Style Book Launch Party compliments of Studio 'g'Darn, I missed the fun launch party at the stunning Tower Hill Botanic Garden (and scrumptious cake) in celebration of Rochelle Greayer’s first book!

We are so excited to see Rochelle’s new book is now available. Cultivating Garden Style, Rochelle’scultivating-style-cover gorgeous guide to outdoor design features 23 unique garden styles, suggestions for recreating the looks, and tips on discovering your personal style. Simple step-by-step projects help homeowners personalize their space, helpful tips offer essential lessons in gardening and design, and more than 1,500 dazzling color photographs offer endless inspiration.

rochelle-greayer-429Rochelle,  one of the Garden Bloggers Advisory Board members, is the founder and editor of Pith + Vigor, a literary newspaper and online magazine for garden enthusiasts. In addition, she is the creator of the popular blog Studio ‘g’, named one of the top ten gardening blogs by the editors of Better Homes and Gardens and BHG.com; co-founder and editor of Leaf Magazine, a digital design magazine for garden makers; and a weekly columnist (The Gardenist) for Apartment Therapy, “one of the most influential interior design sites on the Web” according to Forbes magazine.

A graduate of the English Gardening School in London, she has been designing gardens for private residences and hotels around the world since 2002. A lover of fresh homegrown food, she is also one of the founders of the Harvard Farmers Market, the largest weekly farmers market in central Massachusetts. Prior to her garden design and writing career, Rochelle was a physicist rocket scientist (yes, really), riding in the cockpits of F-14s and F-18s and helping launch Russia’s first commercial satellite.

Prior to writing her first solo book, Cultivating Garden Style (Timber Press, September 2014), in 2012 she was featured in Luke Dixon’s Keeping Bees in Towns and Cities and in 2004 and 2005 she worked with Rosemary Alexander to co-author The Essential Garden Design Workbook and The Garden Makers Manual.

We are looking forward to seeing Rochelle in February at the 2015 Garden Bloggers Conference.

Margaret Roach’s Gardens and The Garden Conservancy

I heard Margaret Roach talk about her passion for gardening last year and one of her comments has had lasting impact: Create your garden where you can see it from your window or any vantage point where you can enjoy it! What a simple idea!

When I found out that Margaret’s garden would be available to visit during the Open Days of The Garden Conservancy I could not miss the opportunity to be see her personal points of view from her own garden and meet Margaret once again and bestow the well deserved Garden Bloggers Conference Hall of Fame award for winning in the category of “Best Overall Blog” for A Way to Garden.  She joins our other blog winners from Garden Rant, Beyond the Wild Garden, and Born To Grow.

Margaret Roach is among our first Hall of Fame Award Winners for the Garden Bloggers Conference.

I was so happy to be able to present the award in person and later the award found a spot near her one of her three books And I Shall Have Some Peace There: Trading in the Fast Lane for My Own Dirt Road published in 2011 about her decision to leave the city fast-lane life working as Editorial Director for Martha Stewart Living and move to her rural garden fulltime.

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The Gardens of Margaret Roach in Copake, NY Open for The Garden Conservancy

I can see why Margaret Roach fell in love with this area – the views off the Taconic Parkway are brimming with green lushness and shadows of the mountains frame the skyline. Margaret is chatting with one of her guests browsing the array of the plants on display from Broken Arrow Nursery.

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Variegated foliage and texture maintain a strong influence in Margaret’s gardens and define the many paths around her home.

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One can’t help but be awestruck by these gigantic leaves – Margaret told us it was related to the Astilbe plant family but I can’t remember the name. In fact, there are so many unusual plants which occupy this 2.3 acre garden which I could not identify.

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Margaret enjoys views of her garden pool and in the distance two modern Adirondack chairs punctuate the hillside.

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Alfresco dining near her thriving vegetable garden.

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You can tour Margaret’s garden again in August and September during the Garden Conservancy Open Days, attend guest lectures and browse for new plants to purchase. Have fun!

Bunny Williams’ Garden and Secrets Tours

Part garden touring and part road rally – four garden tours comprise the agenda on Trade Secrets‘ second day.  I never tire of driving the beautiful countryside surrounding Sharon, Connecticut which this year includes Falls Village and Cornwall and where our next adventure takes us.

Bunny Williams and John Roselli’s Affair with the Home and Gardens

It all starts at Bunny and John’s home in Falls Village and your first glimpse is of the Greek temple-style pool house (also featured in House and Garden) which is surrounded by heirloom apple trees and soft long grass. The pool is encased in rustic stone and flows with the overall design and ambience.

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Cutting garden and inside look at their renovated barn with luxurious and comfortable furnishings.

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Inviting dining area in the barn with views of the parterre garden in white and green hues provide a calming backdrop.

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Nearby arbors connect to a sunken formal garden on the other side of the house.

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We say good-bye to Bunny and John’s comfortable home and head out to Cornwall Bridge for our next tours.

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Stay tuned for the next installment of the Trade Secrets Garden Tours in Cornwall Bridge and Cornwall.

Bunny Williams’ Trade Secrets, Meet-Up Old and New


Bunny Williams, Honorary Chair for Trade Secrets, 2-day event which started in Bunny’s backyard more than 10 years ago.

Making the trek out to Bunny Williams’ Trade Secrets is a much anticipated weekend for many of us. This is only my second year but already I feel a kinship with this event which provides an opportunity to meet up with some of our Garden Blogger Conference alumni as well as chat with new gardening aficionados.

For garden lovers, Trade Secrets is a weekend to explore some of the finest gardens and to browse for a few of your favorite things. The event typically attracts about 1,000 attendees.

This popular two-day event, now in its 14th year and held on May 17-18,  includes a rare plant and garden antiques sale followed by a day of garden tours that benefits Women’s Support Services (WSS), a non-profit organization founded in 1981 that provides services to persons in the northwest corner of Connecticut who have experienced domestic violence or abuse.

“I look forward to this weekend every year,” said Bunny Williams of Bunny Williams Inc., one of the world’s largest and most prestigious design firms. Williams founded Trade Secrets 14 years ago when she offered to hold a small plant sale to support WSS.

trade-secrets-matt-mattusI was elated to see Matt Mattus,  Plantsman, Author, Visual Designer, Trend Consultant,
Garden Bloggers Conference Advisory Board Member and Founder and Blogger of Growing with Plants.

Matt is admiring his new purchase from Guy Wolff Pottery, one of the many vendors at Trade Secrets. You can see the complete list of vendors here.

We also had the pleasure of hearing Matt speak at last year’s Garden Bloggers Conference where he gave a very informative and engaging presentation entitled “Photography and Online Branding: Learn how photography can help you build your brand, differentiate your blog, and build traffic on your website.”

trade-secrets-snug-harbor-1Tony Elliot, proprietor of Snug Harbor Farm, is another Garden Bloggers Conference alumnus who was exhibiting at Trade Secrets. Topiaries and succulents were in abundant display and I walked away with a healthy Lemon Cypress topiary.

Tony makes gardening a fun adventure at Snug Harbor Farm-from Mad Hatter Tea Parties, Holiday Workshops and an animal menagerie.  Take a virtual tour of his eclectic nursery in Kennebunk in this video.


trade-secrets-groupI was thrilled to see Rochelle Greayer again, founder and blogger of studio g – this was her first Trade Secrets. Rochelle was one of our featured “Blogging Rock Stars” at the last Garden Bloggers Conference. She and Matt provided some expert guidance on the key topics to include in our conference program.

Andrew Keys is on the far right in this photo. Andrew is the founder and blogger of Andrew Keys Writes Things.



New Friends

Matt also introduced me to Taylor Johnston who is launching a new line of garden workwear which she is modeling in the photo.

While waiting for the shuttle to take us back to our cars, I met two sisters who traveled all the way from New Jersey to buy rare plants featured at Trade Secrets.

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Trade Secrets is a splendid mix of antiques and plants. This geranium-looking plant is actually a begonia convolvulacea “Shield of Leaf” offered by The Flower Company. Love the lines on this elegant bench from Privet House.

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Italian Terrace manufactures their pots in Italy and they have a distributor in Atlanta at ADAC, one of our sponsors at last year’s Garden Bloggers Conference.

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I found one Longhorn in Connecticut but no garden is complete without a birdhouse or two.

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Part 2 will feature all the garden tours including Bunny Williams home.

Spillers,Thrillers, and Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill


Chestnut Street Garden, photo courtesy of The Beacon Hill Garden Club

What a delight to tour one of the most picturesque areas of Boston, virtually in my own backyard, on a warm and sunny day in May.  Celebrating its 85th year,  The Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill is presented by The Beacon Hill Garden Club.


Happy to see that one of our Garden Bloggers Conference Media Sponsors New England Home also sponsored the garden tour in Beacon Hill.

Though the 12 hidden gardens represent the “main event” on the garden tour,  it is the meander through Beacon Hill which rounds out the entire experience. Individuality of color and design so beautifully expressed by an array of arresting window boxes and immaculate courtyards compelling you to stop, admire, and take a picture.

Here are some of highlights of the garden tour and my meandering:

Pinckney Street Garden
The owners graciously allow us to walk through the house to their secluded garden courtyard.  An artist painted the back wall to enliven and lighten the space, and Italian tile replaced the old brick paving. The owners chose the fountain with three angels because it reminded them of their grown sons.

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Spillers and thrillers but no fillers here — window boxes adorn the streets of Beacon Hill.

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Pussywillows were a dominant theme in the floral displays along the garden tour.

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Pussywillows add drama to pansies and alyssum.

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Chestnut Street
Tour goers enter this late federal-style row house and walk through the entire length of the house. The garden’s focal point is the mirrored palladian window. Given the lack of light and air in this garden retreat, the design relies primarily on decorative and architectural elements: a pair of  climbing men, the low arcade of French doors, and the sweeping iron stairway to the patio off the second-floor library.  The permanent garden consists of Boston ivy, ferns, moss, and climbing hydrangea. Landscape lighting brings the garden to life in the evening.

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Lovely handpainted murals in the front hall exiting Chestnut Street where tour goers are greeted by another lovely window box.

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Wysteria envelops a Louisburg Square brownstone; and a quintessential cobblestone street.

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Show-stopping courtyard along the tour.

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Topiaries and colorful annuals reside in tidy and tiny spaces.

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Whether you are a weary tour-goer or just meandering, you’ll find plenty of fine bistros and restaurants in the area – The Beacon Hill Garden Club offered a list of nearby establishments. Enjoy!


Highlights from the First Garden Bloggers Conference

Sharing a few highlights if you missed our first Garden Bloggers Conference.  By the way, we are now preparing for our next event – Design Bloggers Conference which will be held at the Grand Hyatt Buckhead in Atlanta, GA  – so perhaps we may see some of you in March!

GBC 2013 sponsors

First, a big thank you to our Exhibitors and Sponsors for having faith in the concept and supporting our event.

From the very start we were bolstered by the shared enthusiasm for this event from our Advisory Board members who deftly guided us all along the way.

We also were thrilled to have the support of some key associations – Garden Writers Association, Association of Professional Landscape Designers, American Hydrangea Society, Georgia Urban Ag Council, and Georgia Green Industry Association.

And where would we be without our illustrious Speaker line-up – from Amy Stewart, Dan Hinkley, Teresa O’Connor, Robin Horton, Matt Mattus, Rochelle Greayer, Michelle Slatalla, Steve Aitken, Felicia Feaster, Amy Flurry, Adam Japko, Dan McCarthy, Chris Heiler and  the entire DigitalSherpa Blog Clinic Team!

GBC 2013_toasting

Here’s a toast to you, our Attendees, for making this conference a resounding success! Yes, a delectable Beaufort Champagne was served compliments of Adam Japko, President of DigitalSherpa and WineZag founder and blogger.

We will be announcing the dates and venue for the 2014 shortly so please stay tuned!


Green Planet Naturals Sponsors the Garden Bloggers Conference


green-planet-naturals-logo-300Green Planet Naturals brings to the urban indoor and outdoor small-space gardeners organic compost, pumice, worm castings, and the best soil amendments available on the market! We are committed to making our products accessible from rooftop to ground and helping gardeners get the most amazing results from their gardening efforts.




Liquid Fence Sponsors the Design Bloggers Conference


Liquid-Fence-logo_300The Liquid Fence Company offers an eco-conscious line of insect and animal repellents, including its flagship product, Liquid Fence Deer & Rabbit Repellent, which is the number one product of its kind in America.  Through continuous research and dedication to consumer safety, they are expanding to even more areas of safe and effective repellent products.  To learn more, visit www.liquidfence.com.


Brown Jordan Sponsors Garden Bloggers Conference


brown_outdoor-kitchens-logo300The Brown Jordan Outdoor Kitchen Collections combine unmatched style, unrivaled quality and functionality providing enhanced outdoor living solutions for homeowners, designers, and builders. Are you an occasional backyard griller, a serious cook or a frequent entertainer with large extended families or business acquaintances? By determining how you want “to embrace the outdoors” together with the amenities that best suit your entertaining style, you can create the ideal outdoor living area …and Brown Jordan Outdoor Kitchens can assist. Select from American made grills, refrigeration, power burners, pizza ovens and almost every appliance imaginable to satisfy the most demanding chef plus life style accessories to add further enjoyment to the overall outdoor experience. Embrace this fast growing outdoor living marketplace with the confidence that Brown Jordan, the leading brand in outdoor leisure furnishings, sets the standard for outdoor living and entertaining.