Inspiration in Full Bloom

Charlotte Moss’s lavish new book enlivens your green thumb with stunning photographs of gardens from around the globe. 

By Sarah Emily Gilbert

With a reverence for the traditional and a passion for the unexpected, Charlotte Moss brings her unique aesthetic to nature in her new book, Garden Inspirations.  A miscellany of sumptuous photographs, interesting stories, and useful advice, her book is rooted in the garden.

For over 27 years, Moss has been perfecting her East Hampton garden using influences from her international travels.  From France and Italy to England and Spain, Moss sought to document and replicate some of the world’s most divine natural sanctuaries.  As a result, the venerable designer’s artistic eye has been shaded by her wealth of botanical knowledge that she shares in the pages of her book.

Moss understands the joys and “growing pains” involved in gardening, but she advises her readers “to be patient, be fierce, and keep at it.” Starting with great expectations and a realistic approach, she believes anyone can unleash their garden personality.

“One of the greatest qualities of gardeners is that we’re all optimists.  We always think that if something is a little limp, we can revive it, but then every once in a while you come to the reality of the situation and you have to rip the thing out.  That’s the nature of the beast.”

Whether it’s impeccably designed gardens from around the world, or your own garden, Moss urges growers to focus less on the end results, but savor the moments digging in the dirt, nurturing your vision. Moss insists we “stop to smell the roses”, take in the environment, and appreciate our garden’s evolution.

“We look at the finished product, and we don’t really think about the process to getting there, and that complete journey is even more important than the end product.”

And while a garden’s development may not go as planned, she explains how working with Nature – not against her – results in more striking, plentiful, and forgiving gardens. With background knowledge of your soil and climate, you can have a better understanding of what will be a success.

Logistics aside, Moss thrives on incorporating key components from famous gardens in her designs, and encourages readers to do the same. Despite what appears to be “a horticulturists only” look, Moss insists that replicating small aspects of garden masterworks at home can reap beautiful results.

“I remember years ago being at the Hamlet in Versailles and there was a tower there called the Marlborough Tower right next to the lake.  The steps winded around the structure and on every step was a potted plant.  I thought to myself, ‘well anybody can do that, inside or outside!”  It was really just about the repetition of one simple idea that could be translated by anyone.”

From a demure plotted plant to a dramatic parterre, Moss wants everyone to uncover the depths of a garden before recreating it.

“Ask yourself, ‘what does [this garden] really mean to me? There are acres, and acres, and acres of trees, and flowers, and fountains, and parterres, so what does it really mean translating that into my backyard?’ I think there’s always something – an idea, a concept that can be adapted on a different level, and even if it can’t, it’s okay to just enjoy the moment.”

Below, you can get a sampling of the ravishing color, dramatic depth, and sensory overload found in Garden Inspirations.

Vases

Green Interior

Pink Lamp Shades

Red Flowers

Outdoor Garden Palm