1 This was Robert Rosenkranz and Alexandra Munroe's beautiful 1928 Manor Home on Long Island. There was a full-sized croquet court in the yard. Four of the nine-wickets were perfectly arranged on the field.
2 The "sidelines" were beautifully manicured and decorated with benches flanked by large container plants.
3 The landscape design was simple, yet elegant.
4 Here was an expansive meadow that was just off the lawn.
5 Next to the croquet field was the tennis court.
6 Jack Lenor Larsen, founder of the LongHouse Reserve, attended the dinner held at the Rosenkranz-Munroe home. https://www.longhouse.org
7 Here was Jack taking a stroll through the meadow.
8 As day turned into evening, a faint glimpse of the moon was visible in the sky - can you see it?
9 Here I was with LongHouse Reserve Landscape Awards honoree, Dan Hinkley (on my left), his husband, Robert Jones (on my right), and Dennis Schrader, owner of Landcraft Environments, a pre-eminent wholesaler of tropical, tender perennials, and exotic annuals in nearby Mattituck, New York. http://www.landcraftenvironment.com
10 This was an original piece of the Waterloo Bridge in London. It was shipped to the home. The Waterloo Bridge is a road and foot traffic bridge crossing the River of Thames in London. The original bridge was demolished and a new one was completed in 1945.
11 A small lily pad pool added a nice water feature to the outdoor gardens.
12 Novelist, essayist, gardener and gardening writer, Jamaica Kincaid, was invited to present the LongHouse Landscape Award to Dan at the ceremony. Jamaica appeared on the Martha Stewart Living television show to discuss her book, "My Favorite Plant: Writers and Gardeners on the Plants They Love". http://www.marthastewart.com/926714/jamaica-kincaid-discusses-her-new-book
13 A look at one of the charming gardens at the Rosenkranz-Munroe home.
14 The weekend weather was very comfortable - everyone enjoyed the gathering and the time catching up with each other.
15 Dan and many of the guests toured the woodland walk, where ferns, underneath a canopy of cryptomeria, cypress and rhododendron were featured.
16 This is the Montauk daisy or the Nippon daisy, Nipponanthemum nipponicum. Its blooms look like typical daisy flowers, with white pelts and greenish yellow eyes. The flowers are about three-inches wide and held singly on long, straight stems. They bloom from midsummer and into fall. These were close to blooming.
17 The home sits on an ocean dune with multiple gardens and grasses. Through these grasses to the beach were the ocean waves. And, if you look closely, you can see the surfers out there, too.
18 The bright moon as it emerged at dusk.
19 Here was a very pensive Dan Hinkley.
20 One last photo before the sun went down. From left to right: Robert Jones, Jonathan Wright and Bill Thomas from Chanticleer Garden, an estate and garden in Pennsylvania, me, Stuart Alter, Ilene Kutner Vultaggio, Dan, Dennis Schrader, and Jamaica Kincaid. http://www.chanticleergarden.org
21 Once we got inside, we all sat down for a wonderful formal dinner.
22 The next day was the Awards Luncheon and Presentation. Dan Hinkley is a plantsman, writer, horticulturist and nurseryman. He is best known for establishing Heronswood Nursery, in Kingston, Washington; and Windcliff, on the Kitsap Penisula near Indianola, Washington. It was an honor to introduce him at the ceremony. http://danieljhinkley.com
23 Jack is an internationally celebrated textile designer, author, collector whose designs are featured in museum collections around the world. He addressed the crowd at the Awards ceremony held at the Hoie Hall at St. Luke's Church in East Hampton, New York.
24 Here I was with Jack and Peter Olsen.
25 After my introduction, Dan took the podium. Dan is a very interesting and witty speaker. He spoke of his travels and plant explorations around the world. His talk was entitled "In Search of Good Plants."
26 Dan's discussion included a slide presentation from his many travels. His lifelong interest in plants led him to bring back unique shrubs, grasses, and herbaceous perennials for his vast plant collection.
27 Do you see what is funny about this cow? Dan put the world map on the cow, camouflaged in her markings.
28 This illustrated who Dan wished he was - he was standing to the far right, and wished he was Brad Pitt.
29 Many of the world's most renowned and exciting plants have their origins in China. At the height of the plant-hunting era, a century ago, professional plant hunters would go to China to collect living botanical specimens for cultivation in Europe.
30 Dan explained that snakes were a key component in the balance of nature. Their presence in an area directly impacts the health of an ecosystem. Snakes are predators as well as prey, and when they are around, it is an indication the ecosystem is healthy.
31 However, these caterpillars can signal a poor ecosystem. This was a puss caterpillar, Megalopyge opercularis, the most dangerous caterpillar in North America - it has poisonous spines containing harmful venom.
32 This was a rare variety of magnolia - a beautiful flower that only bloomed at night.
33 To add humor, Dan also talked about some of the signs he discovered in China - this one tells visitors to keep things clean in the bathrooms.
34 Here was another sign indicating there was a very steep drop ahead, and to use caution while driving.
35 Here was a unique looking plant with seeds in the center of the leaves.
36 This one grows berries right in the middle of the leaves.
37 This was a very rare type of hydrangea. During Dan's travels, he would bring back live cuttings and propagate them here in the US for his collection.
38 Following the Awards, we all gathered for the Luncheon, also at LongHouse Reserve in front of one of its prominent sculptures. It's called Fly's Eye Dome, designed by Buckminster Fuller in 1998. It is made of fiberglass.
40 It was at the Williams-Sonoma in Bridgehampton. More than 100-people were expected to attend.
41 I love book signings - they give me the opportunity to meet so many interesting people.
42 It was great to see such a happy crowd - the line went all the way through the store.
43 I also spoke to many children who enjoyed cooking, and helping with preparations for family meals.
44 One young man also asked me to sign a baseball.
45 I stopped to take quick photos whenever I could.
46 It was nice to see such a positive response to the book. It continues to be the number one "appetizer" book on Amazon.
47 Of course, I took photos with some of the store associates.
48 Here I am again with more of the Williams-Sonoma team.
49 On Sunday, I made an appearance at the 10th Annual Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival in Newport, Rhode Island. Part of the festival took place at the Marble House, one of the famous Newport mansions once owned by Mr. and Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt. Here was the Gothic Room inside Marble House. http://www.newportmansions.org/explore/marble-house
50 Here I was with renowned chef, Jacques Pepin. We were invited as special guests at the Festival, and to participate in a food discussion with moderator, Sal Rizzo, Director of the cooking school, De Gustibus. It is always such a pleasure to see Chef Jacques.
51 Here I was with Jacques and his granddaughter, Shorey.
52 Sal acquired De Gustibus Cooking School in 2008. Sal is passionate about food and promoting the culinary arts. http://www.degustibusnyc.com
53 Guests attending the event lined up in the Gold Room. The Marble House, now open to the public as a museum run by the Preservation Society of Newport County, was designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt. About 500-thousand cubic feet of marble was used as part of the home's construction. Marble House was a birthday gift from Mr. Vanderbilt to his wife for her 39th birthday.
54 The walls in the Gold Room were made of carved wood and 22-carat gold gilt panels representing scenes from classical mythology.
55 The gilded ballroom included these ornate carved figures over the marble fireplace.
56 One of the event's sponsors was Taittinger, a French wine family famous for producing delicious Champagne. http://www.taittinger.com
57 My makeup artist, Daisy Schwartzberg, Doug Newhouse and his wife, Dr. Holly Bannister, and Memrie Lewis attended the moderated discussion with Jacques and myself.
58 Here was Trudy Coxe, CEO of the Preservation Society of Newport County, Rhode Island's largest cultural organization, which preserves and protects the best of Newport County's architectural properties and landscapes. Trudy provided the welcoming remarks. http://www.taittinger.com
59 Here we were - Sal, myself and Jacques, listening to Trudy and waiting to begin the interview and discussion.
60 Jacques and I talked about lifestyle and food trends, and how they have changed over the years. We talked about our careers, who inspired us the most, and of course, entertaining.
61 It was a wonderful discussion - it lasted an hour and a half including a Q&A session with the audience.
62 Following the the interview, I did a book signing in the Grand Tasting Pavilion, on the Marble House Lawn.
63 The Pavilion was the site of many vendors for the Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival.
65 Harney & Sons is an American tea company founded in 1983 in Salisbury, Connecticut and now based in Millerton, New York. They specialize in high-quality loose teas and herbal teas. https://www.harney.com
66 There was a lot of delicious food...
67 ... Both sweet and savory treats for visitors to enjoy.
68 Even a raw oyster bar!
69 A huge bottle of Whispering Angel sat on our table - it is a delicious rose. The book signing was also very successful and lots of fun. I signed hundreds of books over the entire weekend. http://esclans.com/whispering-angel/
70 And, for those who love caviar, lots of choices to choose from.
71 When I returned home, my daughter, Alexis, and her beautiful children, Jude and Truman, visited me at the farm - we all celebrated Alexis' birthday together. It was a perfect ending to a very busy, but good weekend.