Design New England

A moody garden shines

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Photographs by Rob Cardillo

At garden designer Michael Trapp’s Connecticut home, a slender pool is tucked between cracked curbing and finely sculpted shrubs. A poolside grotto, accessed by ducking under flourishing wisteria, is a folly used for entertaining.

A beautiful garden is a balance of labor and love. Yes, you have to dig, prune, plant, clip, nurture, pull weeds — all in all get dirty — but you also have to wait, simply watch, and let go, allowing time and nature run their course. In One Man’s Treasure in Design New England’s March/April issue, writer Tovah Martin brilliantly tells the story of landscape designer and antiques dealer Michael Trapp and how his love for all things timeworn infiltrate his West Cornwall, Connecticut, home, shop, and garden, which is both gracefully romantic and curiously mysterious. Photographer Rob Cardillo’s stunning photographs capture the garden’s moody earthiness and there are plenty to share.

We hope this virtual journey through a magical garden will whet your appetite for the Boston Flower & Garden Show, which opens March 13 at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston, and runs through Sunday March 17. The theme of this year’s show is “Seeds of Change” and we certainly are ready for that.


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Inside the grotto, Trapp placed coral, seashells, and even bones into the crevices of the stone walls.

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From the outside, a toolshed turned library is alluring in its humbleness. A pair of 19th-century Italian putti, found at a market outside of Paris and damaged during shipment, charms the pediment.

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Inside, the library glows; its weathered and dusty terra cotta pots, faded tomes, glass terrariums, books, bones, and old bird’s nests are Trapp’s enchanting keepsakes.

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Moss grows in the cracks of the cobblestone patio, where vintage elements combine to make a table. A concrete banister, architectural salvage from Trapp’s trove, frames the space.

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Topiary and potted grasses line the lichen covered concrete bannisters found around the property.

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A bubbling fountain between tall juniper trees is a lively introduction to the garden and shop.

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