Christmas at Ladew Gardens: a country manor house drawing room

655A2FC3-E133-447B-9885-A9708C73590DThe manor house at Ladew Topiary Gardens was built in 1820 and purchased by Harvy Ladew (1887-1976) in 1929. For the rest of his life Mr. Ladew (as he is lovingly referred to by the staff at the Gardens) restored and decorated the house, while creating the exquisite gardens on the property. Both the house and gardens are open to the public  from April-October. The house is re-opened for its annual Christmas Open House with each room decorated by a designer or garden club. This year we took part in this special event and decorated the drawing room.


When decorating a historic house we think it is important to respect the style of the period and incorporate designs that enhance the original architecture rather than distract from it. For this large, centrally located drawing room, traditionally used for entertaining and socializing, we chose a neutral palette of whites, brown, and taupe to compliment the pale green chintz on the furniture and the dark cherry antiques.


Mixed evergreens served as the backdrop to the featured white flowers: magnolias, paper whites, and amaryllis. Blue and white decorative pieces were used as accents. We incorporated natural and garden elements with plaid and gingham ribbon, and hung handmade stockings in hunting scene toile as a nod to the equestrian lifestyle that Mr. Ladew lived and loved.




Mr. Ladew’s manor house is a place of tradition, character, and moxie: you feel this as you walk through the rooms that are just as he left them: thoughtfully decorated and collected. If the house is haunted, it is by ghosts of the creative spirits who passed through its rooms like interior designer Billy Baldwin and musician Cole Porter (who actually played the piano in the drawing room). And of course by Mr. Ladew himself, who certainly knew about the art of living well.


Thanks so much to all of you who attended the open house. We appreciate your support of  Ladew Topiary Gardens and ECS!

(* all photographs by Michael Sneeringer, Jr.)


Holly and Brooke

upcoming holiday events


The holidays are upon us! We will be participating in two wonderful events and thought we’d share some information about them with you.

On Friday December 6th and Saturday December 7th Ladew Topiary Gardens hosts its annual Christmas Open House and Greens Sale.  This year the theme is Winter Wonderland, and each room of the historic manor house is decorated for the holidays by a different floral designer or garden club.  We will be decorating the Drawing Room in Elegant Country Style.


The following weekend, December 13, 14, and 15th Honeybee Home will host The Hive Winter Holiday Market at Mary’s Land Farm.  This is a sip and shop event with over 50 vendors, live music, carolers, food trucks, and valet parking.  Elegant Country Style holiday floral designs will be on display and for sale in the main farmhouse living room.

Both venues are beautiful country settings and are sure to get you in the holiday spirit.  We are so thankful for all of your support and encouragement, and do hope to see you there!  (click on links above to purchase tickets)


Holly and Brooke

weekend edit 6.14.19

Pamela Cook for Veranda Magazine

Around the House:  Silk 101

 I’m increasingly fascinated with the origin stories of decorative art objects and textiles. Here is an interesting short history of silk, the mysterious, luxurious, much coveted fabric, in this month’s Veranda Magazine. It includes plenty of modern day examples with sources and a chart describing the various kinds of silks still being made today. Think of it as Silk 101. I think you’ll enjoy it.

Floret Farm

In the Garden:  Are dried flowers making a comeback?

 It seems to me that dried flowers might be making a comeback. And I’m thrilled. After years of being pushed away, they appear to be dusting off their dismal reputation as lackluster throwbacks to the 80s. I’ve always thought that in the proper hands, they can be very pretty and even chic (for example, dried lavender topiaries are always nice to have). Flower grower and floral designer Erin Benzakein writes about how she has just discovered dried flowers here. I hope this is a trend because I’d love to see what this new wave of floral artists will do with this lost art.

Country Life Magazine

Out and About:  House hunting

If you are anything like me (that is, obsessed with houses of all kinds), you probably look at real estate listings on a regular basis. My own interests range from tiny cottages to large estates, houses within my budget and lots of them outside of it. This one is way outside my budget, but great fun to dream about: an old millhouse in the English countryside. And despite its price tag and amenities (a lake and a quaint bridge, barns, a wine house, formal gardens, and country meadows), it doesn’t seem to be too full of itself.  Have a look here.

Cheers! Happy Friday!