Insights • Inspirations • Destinations • Design

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Bunny Williams and the Trade Secrets

It was Hunter wellingtons at fifty paces yesterday at Connecticut's annual Trade Secrets fair, one of America's most beautiful garden and antique fairs. As the sun danced upon the topiary bay trees and the smell of well-composted soil and old Connecticut money mingled in the May air, well-heeled (or well-wellingtoned) gardeners vied for the best bargains at what has become one of the Green Thumbed and Design Set's most loved social outings.

And what an outing it was. It was such a beautiful sight that at one stage I thought I'd fallen into a Ralph Lauren shoot. In fact, if Ralph hasn't decided to do a new homewares collection called 'A Connecticut Garden' he perhaps should. It would sell like posies of pink peonies at a Manhattan flower market. There were splendid white marquees, antique urns overflowing with ivy and specially planted spring bulbs, extraordinarily gorgeous farm buildings and chic little stalls full of rare plants, vintage bird houses, quaint old garden tools, refurbished orchard ladders, enormous wicker baskets, beautiful old French linens and cute straw garden basket. There were also hats. So many straw hats. I haven't seen this many beautiful hats since Ascot! Everyone, it seemed, was donning either a natty little hat or a natty little French-style straw bag. Beige J Crew-style pants and a pretty shirt were mandatory too. I tell you, these were seriously stylish gardeners. There were no dirty fingernails and soil-stained gardening smocks on this lot.

I didn't see Ms Martha Stewart – by the time we arrived at 10am, 2 hours after the fair had opened, all the serious shoppers (including Ms Martha) had come and gone, taking their plant-stuffed SUVs with them – but I did glimpse the fair's lovely co-founder Bunny Williams (above) and a few other celebrities. As I was told, the people watching was as wonderful as the plant sales. Here are a few photos snatched through the day. Apologies they're not better quality – I was too enamoured with the whole, glamorous, gorgeousness of the event to concentrate on capturing it on camera.

Tomorrow, I'll post another treat: photos of Bunny Williams' famous house and garden, which we're seeing today. And to all those who have posted lovely comments, thank you! I was so touched to read them. I'm going to reply tonight (we've spent the last week in transit) so I do hope you'll bear with me. It's always so lovely to hear from people, whether by comments or email, so once again, my sincere thanks. It's so lovely to know that The Library has such beautiful readers!

Above: Lion Rock Farm, the site of the Trade Secrets Fair. Have you ever seen a more splendid farm?

The 'barn' at Lion Rock Farm. Imagine having drinks with friends in this space?


  1. I am swooning. The hats! The red gingham chair! The fire place! The beautiful day!

  2. it all looks gorgeous, btw weren't you in Sydney on Friday? wow ! Reggie Darling also has the fair on his site

  3. Oh my goodness - It all looks so gorgeous. Lucky you! Wish I could be there too....hope you're having a fab time (and if you're visiting Bunny's house, you'll will most certainly be having one. Major envy there!) xxx

  4. So envious! Everything looks divine.

  5. What a beautiful place to visit, I have Bunny Williams book and I adore it. Have a lovely time.x

  6. Oh, Janelle! I am swooning in Hobart. You lucky duck! Keep soaking it up, Lovely! J x

  7. Mel@Georgica PondMay 22, 2012 at 10:43 PM

    What wonderful photos - I feel like I'm strolling around there myself. Beautiful inspiration.


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