Dianne B’s Enchanted Acre


LAST SATURDAY, even though I felt like sh*t (flu-like symptoms from a prophylactic tetanus shot the day before), I dragged myself to the village of East Hampton to get a first-hand view of the fabled gardening talents of Dianne B, onetime fashion-world celeb, now garden author (Dirt, Hamptons Cottages & Gardens) and fellow blogger.


I’m not sure what I expected — but I couldn’t have imagined the highly quirky, unconventional garden I found.


When she wrote Dirt in the early ’90s, Dianne was living on a larger property with her husband, Irving; now she lives on an acre with her partner, Lys. The garden is “new and evolving,” according to the description in the catalogue of the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days program, of which Dianne B’s garden was a part.


Sick as I was, I’m sure I’m missed the subtleties, like Dianne’s beloved jack-in-the-pulpits and the collection of fritillaria, whose drooping heads Dianne views via a long stick with a mirror on the end — surely some kind of Victorian invention — that she carries as she traipses about in her trademark jodphurs, a la Vita Sackville-West, and leopard-skin boots.


But the garden as a whole is hardly subtle. It’s more like an art installation, with sculptures, contorted trees, bizarre topiaries, and color combos like chartreuse and pink. If it weeps or twists, Dianne has it. It all adds up to a dramatic, bohemian garden, surrounding a sprawling shingled ranch.


Truth to tell, it was a bit much for my feverish eyes. I’d like to go back someday when my temperature is normal.


About cara

I blog (for fun) here at casaCARA, and write (for money) about architecture, interiors, gardens and travel for many national magazines and websites.
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6 Responses to Dianne B’s Enchanted Acre

  1. Tara Dillard says:

    Lovely pics. Hard to believe you weren’t feeling well. Hope you have more pics and will do another post on Diane B’s garden.

    Love her copied contrivances. Exactly what gardening is all about. She’s made it her own, and unique.

    Saw a 5 year old girl last summer wearing a pink tutu & purple cowboy boots. Made me realize I had lost that part of myself. Glad you described Diane’s clothes.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  2. Astor C. says:

    Do you know the name of those big leafy variegated things around the hand?

  3. cara says:

    Petasites, AC.

  4. Coppermaven says:

    Is this garden open to the public more than the once a year Open Garden day? I’d love to see it!

  5. cara says:

    Don’t think so, copper. That’s why i dragged my ass there even though I wasn’t feeling well.

  6. Cara and Coppermaven, Dianne’s garden is open for a second date on September 11 this year. See our website schedule for the details and directions.

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