Well, you have to admit: not everyone can afford garden hats and smocks designed particularly for you by Givenchy. But Bunny Mellon could.
And she could also have as many gardens as she wanted. Married to philanthropist Paul Mellon, Rachel "Bunny" Mellon designed gardens at their homes in New York, Cape Cod, Nantucket, Antigua and Virginia.
Now, in the latest book by garden historian and author LInda Jane Holden, The Gardens of Bunny Mellon (Vendome Press, 2018), you can appreciate Bunny Mellon's horticultural expertise. She had no formal training in landscape design, but she maintained an expansive horticultural library and spent decades designing her own gardens and many for her friends, including President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy.
This is the first book to focus on all of Bunny Mellon's private and public gardens, with archival photos and others by award-winning garden photographer Roger Foley. It includes chapters on the Mellon Estate at Oak Spring in Virginia; the many Mellon family gardens; the Kennedy family gardens, including the White House Rose Garden and the JFK gravesite at Arlington; and gardens that Mellon designed in France. All of them are more or less "English garden" in spirit, and all of the photos, drawings, and plans are well worth studying.
In a foreword to the book, Sir Peter Crane, former director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, notes that Bunny was designing and maintaining family gardens before the age of 12. He says her gardens are "infused with insight from serious study and contemplation, as well as adherence to a few key principles: ... Space, light, openness -- each a visual metaphor for optimism -- were her watchwords." It's a lesson and inspiration for every garden designer.