I’m so glad you could join us, as I’m thrilled to have a very special guest on the blog today— Tovah Martin! Tovah in a renowned horticulturist, author, speaker and contributor to print and television media. She was also a longtime friend of Tasha Tudor and counted her as a mentor.
You may even be familiar with two of her books written about Tasha— Tasha Tudor’s Garden and Tasha Tudor’s Heirloom Crafts. You can learn more about Tovah and her books on her website, and I also suggest following her great page Plantwise with Tovah Martin on facebook.
I’m so pleased to have Tovah here on the blog today chatting a bit about Tasha, and can’t wait to share it with you. And thanks so much to Tovah, for taking time out of her very busy schedule, to “Talk Tasha” with us.
And so, I will get out of the way, and welcome Tovah to the blog!~
– What was it about Tasha Tudor that first drew you to her?
Long before I met Tasha in person, I was drawn to her art. Coincidentally, an aunt worked for the publishing house that produced Tasha’s stationery and she gave me a set of Tasha’s cards when I was very young. I never parted with a sheet of that stationery.
Instead, I brought those cards with me wherever I went—to college and to my first job. Her art captured the essence of free-spirited country life and there was nothing else like it at the time.
|Photo by Richard Brown|
Every brushstroke spoke of levity and a love of nature. So when Tasha walked through the door of Logee’s Greenhouses, where I was working, I recognized her immediately. But how could you fail to recognize Tasha? It wasn’t just that she dressed uniquely—she had an independence and a spark that set her apart from the rest of the world.
– How did Tasha’s garden inspire and influence your own gardening style?
Tasha also gardened like nobody else. Her love of vintage plants was contagious. Tasha
was really the first cottage gardener that I knew—she forged a passion for a style of gardening that was dense and infinitely romantic.
It was defined by tight paths, groping vines, hidden terraces, heady fragrances, and plants with stories attached. I will never be as brilliant a gardener as Tasha, but I try. Tasha’s foxgloves, sweetpeas, peonies, Exbury azaleas, and dianthus were the stuff of dreams. I can see and smell them now. They’re still some of my favorite flowers.
– What advice do you have for anyone who would like to create a cottage garden?
I think the essence of a cottage garden is the density. You should become lost in it. Tasha
loved to make lunch when I visited and she always did it from scratch. So as soon as I arrived she would say, “Go show yourself around the garden while I make the lunch.” And that was my signal to get lost.
It was so hard to pull myself away from the magic of the plantings to sit down to eat when lunch was ready. Fortunately, she always served lunch outside during the growing season. Even if it was pouring, we sat on the back porch. A cottage garden needs to surround you
|Illustration by Tasha Tudor|
and touch you.
– What was your favorite spot in the Corgi Cottage garden?
That’s a tough question. Tasha always had a project going—inside and outside. So she
was invariably planning a new section of the garden throughout our friendship. Whatever she was working on became our focus and her enthusiasm was boundless. When she made her “secret garden” with the larger-than-life foxgloves—I was enthralled. I loved the greenhouse with its gnarly old camellias. But I also loved her potting area with the stacks of old terra cotta pots. And I remember the first time I saw the fairy ring of dianthus…the whole place was a fantasy.
-Did you learn any heirloom crafts from Tasha that you still enjoy today?
|Photo by Richard Brown|
I’ve always loved to sew, but Tasha shared her love for hand sewing rather than stitching
on a sewing machine. I still find it infinitely restful to pick up a piece of mending and work on it by hand. And Tasha also taught me how to make flower garlands. I’ve brought that to my local elementary school—teaching the kids how to weave garlands.
-How has Tasha inspired you to ‘take joy’ in your work and life?
Beneath it all, I think Tasha’s primary message was to follow your own drummer and
honor your inner creativity. Tasha forged trends, she never followed them. She found beauty and she created beauty. Tasha could take a piece of paper and make something absolutely splendid from it. She could look at a flower and see the world in its petals. And she discovered that beauty daily with fresh eyes. Certainly, she taught me to look and really see the zest all around us. And she inspired me to seek the words to express my reverence for nature.
And now, to celebrate Tasha’s garden and in celebration of such a wonderful visit with Tovah Martin, I’ve got a very special giveaway in store! This week’s giveaway is a copy of Tovah Martin’s beautiful book “Tasha Tudor’s Garden.” This book is a staple of any Tasha Tudor book collection— with lovely and thoughtful writing (plus, lots of expert garden information!) as well as the gorgeous photos of Richard Brown. If you’d like to win a copy of this book— it’s easy! Just leave a comment here on the blog. Good luck! And the winner will be announced on Friday!~
Hope you have a wonderful Tasha Tuesday!~