James A. Baggett

My Friend Tovah

Of course I was a big fan of the not-so-big Tovah Martin long before I met her. I knew her garden writing from Victoria magazine and from both of her works on author, illustrator, and gardener Tasha Tudor (Tasha Tudor’s Garden and Tasha Tudor’s Heirloom Crafts). I remember being a bit nervous about our first meeting at one of Joe Eck and Wayne Winterrowd’s first garden symposiums up in Vermont back in the early 90s. Tovah had given a lecture on fragrance and passed around little posies of the flowers she talked about so we could indulge in an olfactory sensation featuring some of her old-fashioned favorites like pinks and sweet peas and heliotrope. When it was time for our box lunches out on the lawn, I insinuated myself with Tovah (Terra Nova’s Dan Heims has referred to me as “the friendliest steamroller”) and we ended up picnicking together in the shade.

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Now, almost 20 years later I’m tickled to call Tovah my friend, colleague, and mentor. Her good work appears in every single issue of Country Gardens as it has in every garden single magazine I’ve ever edited. That’s us, above, during a photo shoot about a dozen or so years ago with Richard Felber on cyclamen. Which is why I’m so psyched about the Spring 2011 issue of Country Gardens, which hits newsstands on March 1st: It features for the very first time an exclusive photo shoot of Tovah and her perfectly charming cottage garden in Roxbury, Connecticut, along with her cobbler’s shop and goat barn and her pair of Swiss Valley goats. The task of putting Tovah’s garden into words went to the masterful Anne Raver. Here’s a sneak peak of one of Rob Cardillo’s lovely images of Tovah’s indiosyncratic garden.

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One Response to “ My Friend Tovah ”

  1. You got that all wrong, James = YOU have been my mentor all these years. My garden is filled with plants from photo shoots you assigned. And when I returned from a visit to Des Moines, I wanted a house just like your antique-filled cottage (and a dog like Scout). Do you remember our second meeting? In Grand Central Station completely coincidentally. It was meant to be.