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.