As it Was at “Howards End,” So It Is in This Post (Stillwater Diary)

Clockwise from top left: pear tree, fountain wisteria, hydrangea and bee balm

Clockwise from top left: aristocrat pear tree, fountain wisteria, peegee hydrangea and bee balm

James Ivory’s 1992 film, “Howards End,” was adapted from E.M. Foster’s eponymous 1910 novel–often cited as his masterpiece–dealing with class, property, love and friendship in turn-of-the (last)-century England.

Although I only vaguely recall the details of the story, I (think that I) precisely remember the profusion of flowering plants and the hem of Vanessa Redgrave’s extravagant dressing gown sweeping behind her through a field of bluebells in the dim early morning light.

And at Howards End, everything–wisteria, roses–bloomed simultaneously and seemingly perpetually, in gorgeous, glorious defiance of nature: my ideal garden.  In reality, I had an old wisteria that was a capricious bloomer, flowering some years, balking others, but relentlessly wrapping its tendrils around everything, trying to remove the railing from the deck and the shingles from the house.  Other flowering plants succumbed to Japanese beetles, the omnivorous deer and too much/too little rain, heat, sun.

But this year my flowering trees, shrubs, perennials have been living up to expectations. And in this post, they bloom simultaneously.

Clockwise from top left: kwanzan cherry tree, rhododendron, delphinium, hydrangea

Clockwise from top left: kwanzan cherry tree, rhododendron, delphinium, hydrangea

Clockwise from top left: wild flower, rose of sharon, day lily, rhododendron

Clockwise from top left: wildflower, rose of sharon, daylily, rhododendron

Clockwise from top leftL aristocrat pear tree, columbine, wild cherry tree (in front of a maple), columbine

Clockwise from top left: aristocrat pear tree, columbine, wild cherry tree (in front of a maple), columbine

Clockwise from top left: lilac, kwanzan cherry tree, viburnum mariesii doublefile, wild columbine

Clockwise from top left: lilac, kwanzan cherry tree, viburnum mariesii doublefile, wild columbine

 

I had shot James Ivory and his producer/life partner Ismail Merchant in my studio for the Village Voice which led to an invitation to photograph them (and their screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and composer Richard Robbins) at their elegant 1805 Federal house in Claverack (in New York’s Hudson Vallery).  I wasn’t surprised (and was quite pleased) that their design sensibility for living echoed the art direction of their films.

James Ivory and Ismail Merchant, Claverack, NY

James Ivory and Ismail Merchant, Claverack, NY

This entry was posted in Film, Flowers, Photography, Photos and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to As it Was at “Howards End,” So It Is in This Post (Stillwater Diary)

  1. Joyce says:

    Robin, these are beautiful and just the inspiration I need for our planning our 4,000 sq meters of yard at our house in the south. Now I have to pull out the garden books to see if these will survive where it is.

    • Thanks, Joyce.
      A big garden in the south of France, so wonderful (stuff of dreams).
      I think everything that grows here will grow even better there because the winters are less severe. It surprises me that my lavender comes back (particularly after feet of snow) but it only flowers for a couple of weeks and I remember fields in France that bloomed all summer.
      I can’t wait to see your garden–you must send photos, even of the early stages.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s