After bouncing along an undulating, rutted track, wheels crunching over shell drive while wisteria vines lap at the windows, the entrance to my friend Marnie’s garden is like a transition to another world.
Her landscape is an informal, unfussy affair that draws equally from the traditions of English cottage gardens and the wilds of Marnie’s native Cape Cod. Here and there is also a dash of the Mediterranean, reflecting Marnie’s travels to Italy and California. It’s a romantic, unfettered place, full of discovery—the kind that invites children to romp around its pathways. Among the blooms one might find edible treats like thimble berries, or an old pot perfect for the clubhouse, or an ocean-tossed treasure that Marnie has collected from the sea.
Full of proliferous blooms that encroach on paths and climb the walls, Marnie’s world borders, Secret Garden-style, on being overgrown. “I like to let plants do their thing,” she notes. “Sometimes a plant will disappear for a year, and then the next it surprises me by coming back.” This laissez faire approach leads to a much more dynamic garden, “that, like me,” she adds, “changes every year.”
Photography by Justine Hand.