Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Textbook Tuesday | The Gardens of Bunny Mellon

Who was Bunny Mellon? Many of you may have heard the name, and if you are decor-obsessed like I am, you may even know a thing or two about this legendary heiress to the Listerine and Gillette fortune. Rachel Lambert 'Bunny' Mellon was an American self-taught and award-winning landscape designer and horticulture scholar. She was a confidante of Jacqueline Kennedy, and is credited with the White House's Rose Garden, Givenchy's personal gardens, as well as the revival of Louis XIV's kitchen garden at Versailles. Bunny passed away in 2014, at the age of 103 - and perhaps her long and storied life could be attributed to her passion for creating the perfect place for sitting, sniffing, eating, admiring, entertaining, and spending quiet time alone.

With Vendome Press' recent release, The Gardens of Bunny Mellon by Linda Jane Holden, we catch a rare glimpse of compiled photos commissioned for the Mellon's archives, illustrations of Mellon's own garden plans, sketches, and  watercolors (photographs by Roger Foley). Holden's text for this fantastic and historic book is based on extensive interviews with Mellon before her death and she was granted access by Mellon's family to her journals, correspondence, photos, and other memorabilia.

New images by Roger Foley of her cherished home in Oak Spring are perfectly intertwined with vintage photographs by Horst, Aarons, and others.

As a design-enthusiast, I have always been taken by the imagery of Bunny's interiors as well. The book captures many of these refined details, including the stunning and extensive cabbage and lettuceware collection she kept. Between her love of pottery and myrtle topiaries, Bunny truly has inspired a whole new generation of exterior and interior designers.

Three of my myrtle topiaries pictured below, for which my inspiration can be ultimately traced back to Bunny herself. I'm particularly proud of these because despite my black thumb (and with the help of my husband), I've managed to maintain them for over 3 years. I've often been asked about their care, and although I am no horticulturist I've found a good weekly soaking, monthly fertilize, and daily being set in the sunniest window in the house has done the trick:

And, once again inspired by the likes of Bunny, a lettuceware collection is next on my wishlist.

The Gardens of Bunny Mellon is a history lesson and a perfect book to add to any landscape or decor enthusiast's library. Perhaps for upcoming Mother's Day? You can purchase your copy of this delightfully gathered tome here

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