Tuesday, July 1, 2014

An Antiquarian's Garden

I spent a few days last month travelling through Connecticut and was fortunate that my trip coincided with the Garden Conservancy's Open Day in Litchfield County. I cannot sing the praises of the Garden Conservancy loud enough; through it I have gained entry into private gardens I have previously only seen in books or magazines, and never imagined exploring in person. In case you missed it, last week I shared photos of Bunny William's garden at Tone on Tone (we are giving away a signed copy of her book on July 8th so stop by if you haven't already) and today I am sharing another - very different but equally inspiring garden - antique dealer Michael Trapp's in West Cornwall, Connecticut.

Tucked behind his shop, the garden is laid out over a series of terraces above a river. Michael's unique style is evident wherever your eye falls; salvaged building materials and re-purposed artifacts give the garden a 'lost in time' quality.

Stone steps lead to the pool and grotto on a lower level:

A small terrace offers a beautiful vantage point over the pool:

One of two studios on the property:

After having visited a variety of gardens, of different styles and sizes, I have arrived at the conclusion that every garden possesses a degree of magic and surely the source is the spirit of the person who looked at an uncultivated plot of land saw in it exactly what was possible.

For information on joining the Garden Conservancy visit their website. Open Days continue across the country through November 1st.


  1. Magical indeed, Phyllis. What a magnificent yet charming garden. Makes me want to run to our local architectural salvage spot to find some unique pieces for my own property. Thanks for sharing these inspiring gardens!

  2. Wow...this is soooo dreamy Phyllis. I can imagine just getting lost in such a magical place. Wonderful!

  3. some years ago a professional landscape organization i belong to went to bunny's and michaels magical gardens. i was in awe! thank you phyllis for the wonderful images that bring back extraordinary memories

  4. Phyllis,
    This garden is stunning. The various elevations hold details that are so beautiful and sometimes unexpected. I will go back and study some of these garden rooms. What a wonderful tour this must have been. Bunny Williams grounds were so much fun to see and now this! Thank you for sharing such pretty gardens.

  5. Phyllis, as you probably know I, too, am a huge fan of the Garden Conservancy. It is an amazing outfit and they do such a wonderful job all over the country. Someday I would love to visit some gardens in other parts of the States: Pacific Northwest perhaps? Thanks for these beautiful images. Hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend.

  6. What a unique and lovely garden - magical is the perfect description and I love your observation that the magic comes from the unique spirit of the person behind it. Thanks for taking us with you on this tour, I wish I could get lost in those lovely stone paths. Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

  7. I love it when a garden shows some of the owner's personality as this lovely one clearly does, and I agree that it is a reflection of their spirit and imagination. That pool is my dream pool too!

    xo Kat

  8. Phyllis, thanks for another smashing garden tour! This one is full of drama - such amazing garden architecture! Michael Trapp is a gifted designer, and he knows how to play with scale. Beautiful photos. Have a wonderful 4th ahead. Loi

  9. And this garden looks like it could be in Italy!

  10. Oh so magical and just the look and feel I love, a mix of ancient stone steps, grottos and lush foliage everywhere.

    The Arts by Karena

  11. It's so very green! like, impossibly so.

    How nice to see foxgloves too….an old fashioned and much forgotten plant which is ever so charming.

  12. That chandelier and pool.. gorgeous! Such a lovely spot Phyllis. I can't get enough of all the greenery everywhere .. it's so pretty. Enjoy the long weekend ahead! xxL

  13. Wow wow wow! What a gorgeous garden and that pool...heavenly.

    Not sure why but I got that spam above on my blog too. Maybe I am in need of some spiritual salvation...

    xo Terri

  14. What a charming place to visit...I could spend all day there!

  15. So happy I found your blog through Tone on Tone! Great post here and over there! Thanks!

  16. Hi Phyllis,
    Another stunning garden. What a joy to have a peek into someone else's life.
    Thank you yet again for sharing.
    Have a lovely weekend,
    Liz x

  17. Elegant and a bit wild. Love the unexpected surprises throughout. And I'm d y i n g over the studio specimens!

  18. Oh my goodness, beauty at every turn! I want a studio room on my property! That pool is gorgeous and love all the stone work! Have a great week Phyllis! xo Nancy

  19. Beyond gorgeous!! Hope you are enjoying your summer!

  20. A fabulous designed garden! Could easily live there - together with all!
    And a FABULOUS post, Phyllis!
    Warmest greetings,

  21. Fabulous tour. Now I'm torn between two pool gardens Phyllis. I'm sure you are trying to throw me off my game, showing me gardens with pools in them. The lap pool is gorgeous, the hard landscaping excites me no end and as for the studio, I could see myself sitting there very comfortably thank you very much. Sending all the best from sunny England.

  22. Oh Phyllis,
    This is a perfect place to be on a Sunday, here with you scrolling through some of the most amazing photos of landscaping I could ever imagin. I love the grotto, that chandelier hanging amungest the moss so hauntingly gorgeous...the garden bungalow of curiosity delights a soul driven to sit and write and compose more beauty of intriguing interest. The lap pool set in the quiet of all the trees sculpted with perfect relaxed growth, and best all the stone, stone columns, and pathways.

    What about the interest in colour choice in the homes paint finish, much like a butter pecan back drop to a trim of navy; it's such a beautiful blend in all this lushness!
    I have designed homes, design the elevation of the home for gated communities and dress them with fitting colour contrast that appeal to the buyers in the developments I have worked on, then to dress them with stately traveled furnishings, as well as collected pieces from design show and showrooms always a factor to sale homes for the developers I am highered to create for. Years later now I find myself in a place of comfort, relaxed in the creative find of a mix of antiques to salvage and enjoying the creative end of the beauty in a great find that I can up style and not fill abit guilty if I sale it later.
    There is something so valued in our world of Interior Designing that only designers get, that it's not the most expensive piece that pulls a look together, it's the creative pieces that finish a look in designs.

    This home, this beauty, takes my breath away, much like the world of salvaging! This home is gathered and collected in that very way of savage beauty that makes its grandeur so aw inspiring.

    Thank you Phyllis for visiting me and my little cottage that I now want to plant it in that yard poolside and live soulfully, I am sure you agree?
    Thank you for your encouraging comment to my latest up styling to the uncommon use of two pieces. It's the support of designers like you that encourage the gravity and pull to creating, designing and blogging it.
    Thank you for gracing your beauty with a visit, and thank you for this post.
    I am now going back to save some ideas in what inspires.

    I have to get this book without a doubt. If I am understanding that this is all in a book?

    Beautiful July to you, beautiful inspiring future travels.


  23. Ok, Michael needs a book on his gardens and shop!
    Next time you visit please take me along Lol ! :))

    Love that mirror in the grotto, and the desk in the cottage of curiosity :)
    And I have seen the cotthage featured here and there.

    Good day to you my dear.


  24. All I kept thinking was the numerous options of places the boys and I would have to play Hide and Seek! Wow, what a garden!! Beautifully captured too. x

  25. The cloud's reflection on the pool accentuate the beauty of the place. It highlights the freshness of the garden. Very beautiful.

    Patrick Tan


Please share your thoughts!