When Eileen Johnson called to invite me to a lecture series at Jardin de Buis, I had a hunch that I should drop everything and make arrangements to attend. Yes, my Dad could pick up my kindergartener from school and I could make the 54 mile trek west of the city to Califon, NJ. In Conversation ‘Gardens in Design’ was the subject and Frances Palmer, Ken Druse, Lucy Hunter and TJ McGrath would all be on hand to talk about gardens, flowers, creativity and how the natural world inspires their work. Plus, the Jardin is well-known for its stunning beauty, a labor of love in constant evolution for nearly 28 years by Designer Andrea Filippone. As I live in New York City, there were train delays getting home to fetch the car and by the time I picked up Eileen in the city, we would already be a half-hour late. And traffic seemed to conspire against the visit, our arrival time kept ticking later and later. More than once I assured Eileen we would make it in time to hear at least one of the speakers. Out of the metropolitan vortex and cruising down I-78 further westward into New Jersey, our race to catch at least twenty minutes of daylight became apparent. Eileen’s good grace in accepting our tardiness allowed me to mine my zen awareness and to take delight in the quality of our visit, not the quantity of minutes.
Upon arrival, the cool and earthy dusk air greeted us in the rural expanse. We found our way into one of the greenhouses and in the orangerie, the gathering was in its wane. Mingled chatter and book signing buzz filled the warm and cozy interior. I didn’t mind. I felt possessed to record the setting’s natural beauty as the golden hour marched its beat to fade. The green and verdant plants and pottery and architectural elements had me humming with fervor. An elegantly curated selection of fresh flowers for a workshop the next morning satiated my winter-weary eyes. The world and the news of the day rested still for a moment. The gift of nature’s beauty, thoughtful design and being in a gathering of people was worth every last minute. I hope this brings you Joy!
Photography Beth Horta for Sweet Sabelle.