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Flora

Barbara Israel

Barbara Israel

The Four Seasons by Villeroy & Boch, circa 1900

One perfect June summer night, my fellow Bunny Williams colleague Jonathan Preece and I attended garden antiques collector Barbara Israel’s 30th Anniversary Celebration on the grounds of her almost six acre rambling country property.   The evening garden party was as beautiful as can be – the sun beginning to set in the distance over the Hudson River casting sumptuous light upon the gardens and trees, tables with hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and bouquets of country flowers scattered amidst the gardens, with enchanting garden sculptures, benches, urns and antiques everywhere you turned. Barbara even thoughtfully stashed a miniature figurine display of the fairy tale story depicting the festival of the summer solstice at Midsummer’s Eve under a tree, only to be discovered by the wondering guests.

Barbara Israel Garden Antiques is located in Katonah, New York on her home’s property where the by-appointment only ‘showroom’ is literally a strolling tour of the woodland gardens.   Her business started in 1985 as she adventurously purchased an entire lot of 40 garden statuary pieces from the private estate sale of Adele Lovett in Locust Valley, Long Island. Lovett’s husband, the late Robert A. Lovett, was Harry Truman’s Secretary of Defense. With that single purchase, a career was launched! She has since passionately collected 15th through 20th century garden antiques from the United States, Europe and Asia for decades and is truly the leading expert in this unique decorative field.

Also adorning the property is Barbara’s house which is a nineteenth century Hudson Valley clapboard farmhouse wrapped with an inviting porch anchored by floor-to-ceiling double hung windows. The oval drive approaching the house is aptly named the Sugar Maple Circle, lined with magnificent old trees.   Aside from the Formal Garden dating back to the early 20th century, and rumored to have been designed by the famed Olmstad Brothers firm, there is an Allée, a Woodland Retreat, a Rose Garden, a Display Garden and an Orchard. The property has several follies including two playhouses. All in all, it is truly a magical experience to visit Barbara’s much loved home and garden.

Click here for more info

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Farmers

Farmers

flowers

For those who live in San Francisco, we have the year-round weekly pleasure of the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. Smaller markets are also open on Tuesdays and Thursdays but spending an early Saturday morning perched on the edge of the San Francisco Bay is truly a delightful way to begin your day.

The Farmers Market is a sensory joy. It is a composition of locally grown fruits, vegetables, and flowers not to mention mouthwatering homemade cheeses, breads and jams. One will also savor the aromatic artisan street food trucks and local restaurants serving delicious hot meals.

Whether shopping for your produce amongst the San Francisco chefs, buying fresh flowers for your home, or taking in a meal, the experience as a whole is always memorable and inspiring.  The colors alone are inspiration for decorating any room!

For those of you who visit San Francisco, please be sure to allow yourself time to walk along the Embarcadero and take in the decadent sensations of the Farmers Market!

http://www.ferrybuildingmarketplace.com/farmers_market.php

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Rodin & Roses

Rodin & Roses

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The Musee Rodin in Paris resides in the Hotel Biron which was built as both a townhouse and country home in the early 18th century.  By the 20th century, the estate was put up for sale and several artist tenants were allowed to occupy the hotel.  The writer Jean Cocteau, painter Henri Matisse, dancer Isadora Duncan, amongst others, took up residency on the property.  Auguste Rodin also rented four ground floor rooms which opened to the terrace and used them as his studio.  The gardens most likely influenced his work and he ultimately occupied the entire building.

Rodin left all of his works of plaster, marble, bronze, stone and more, to the state and asked that they be kept at the Hotel Biron - to be called the Musee Rodin - in exchange to 'reserve the right to reside there all (his) life'.  The most significant of his works - The Kiss, The Three Shades and The Thinker - also live larger than life on the property.  The gardens surrounding these sculptures are infused with roses of every species adding stunning color to the otherwise sculptural landscape.  It's all quite magical!

http://www.musee-rodin.fr/en/museum/musee-rodin-paris

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