This summer I had the opportunity to meet a fellow I’ve followed for some time. Not literally, of course. They put people in jail for that nowadays, I hear. But Stephen Orr cropped up on my radar several years ago when he was garden editor at HOUSE AND GARDEN magazine and at the cool Conde’ Nast magazine DOMINO, of whose demise I’m still lamenting. He moved over to guide the gardening department at Martha Stewart Living Magazine a few months ago and quickly put his stamp on it, bumping the style up to a new level, one that seemingly could not get any better.
(Then I saw the digital version on my iPad and I thanked the techno-gods! Glossy magazines cannot touch the incredible interactivity of the digital version. Having the chance to flip back and forth between videos, audios and how-to’s make it a perfect format for many genres, but enhance the gardening experience unbelievably.)
When I heard Stephen had a new book out, I knew his ability to find beauty in the everyday would mean a gorgeous book. I was right.
One of the things I like least about gardening books (and magazines) that come to us via New York is that most of the content seems to be limited to that area as well. That’s fine if you are in New England, but doesn’t do the rest of us much good. However, Stephen hails from West Texas – and went to the OTHER university in the Lone Star State – so he was conscientious about giving equal billing to every end of our nation. In fact, he’s created a panorama of place to show how the environment should be considered in landscaping. A novel idea, huh?
From plants to hardscape materials to furnishings, Stephen shows the importance of selecting things that are a good fit for where you are and who you are. He shows recycled spaces with personality and purpose in a whole new light. His yummy photos display gardens that run the gamut of styles, but all point out how we can be better stewards of what we have.