Send me a FREE trial issue Plus a FREE gift
Old-House Online » Old-House Tips, Restoration Stories, & More » Gardens & Exteriors » A Garden Filled with Antiques

A Garden Filled with Antiques

Simple trellises, tiny surprises, and antiques ornament a New Hampshire garden. By Tovah Martin | Photos by Kindra Clineff

    At the front of the property, a herringbone brick path connects garden and house.

    At the front of the property, a herringbone brick path connects garden and house.

    With so many ornaments whispering to her, antiques dealer Anne Rowe could have gone overboard furnishing her garden. Instead, she’s tucked in the perfect number to give her garden “roots” and a sense of place.

    “Start with a birdbath,” Anne tells newbie collectors of garden ornament. Besides attracting fly-in company, birdbaths “give height and presence to a garden,” she says. Her advice is often sought, owing to her decades of experience antiquing and gardening. Several television segments have been filmed at the home she shares with her husband in Wilmot, New Hampshire, where she has a garden-antiques store called The Sugarplum.

    After a brief blip in the suburbs, Anne found herself searching for a rural old house, a place for her family to rediscover unstructured time and space. This house in Wilmot caught her eye, and against everyone’s advice—it had no electricity, no plumbing, and blankets were tacked over holes in the walls—she and husband Garrett took the plunge. Outdoors, the four-acre property was even worse. “We took 10 truckloads of junk to the dump,” Anne recalls. Underneath “it was a jungle of juniper.”

    But, once upon a time, the still-interesting house had presided over a farm. The apple orchard was still in evidence. After years devoted to house renovation, land clearing, and fortifying the depleted soil, Anne began to replace rubble with gardens. She knew exactly what she would plant: “Start with bleeding hearts,” she tells people who want an old-fashioned garden. She moved on to other evocative perennials; bee balm headed her list, and peonies, astilbes, phlox, lady’s mantle, and daylilies play major roles. Vines of all descriptions are another secret to romance in the garden.

    Meanwhile, Anne collected antiques to use inside and out. When her youngest of four children was no longer a baby, and after Garrett (a contractor specializing in custom work) had single-handedly restored the old house, Anne embarked on a career as an antiques dealer. Just minutes after she had hung a sign, her first customer pulled into the yard. The Sugarplum gained momentum immediately.

    Anne went to auctions with such regularity, the auctioneer became a confidant. When he mentioned she should go to England, she gave it a try, buying a watering can “straight out of Peter Rabbit” that led to her specializing in garden antiques. At first, she brought back “smalls” in suitcases, such as hand tools and terracotta thumb pots. Next she was using trunks, and finally shipping crates.

    A little foursquare garden “room” surrounds a birdhouse.

    A little foursquare garden “room” surrounds a birdhouse.

    Over here, no one had seen anything quite like what Anne Rowe was offering: antique tools that work better than modern ones, tiny hand-thrown pots, watering cans, trowels, lantern cloches. Of course, a few distinctive antiques in her inventory will never leave Wilmot, unless Anne moves and they go with her.

    Anne says it was Vita Sackville-West’s garden at Sissinghurst Castle that gave her the confidence to design her own landscape. “I came away with a sense that this was something I could do,” she recalls. Her personal style combines the use of antiques, smart space planning, and adventurous plant selection, all to echo the era of the house. Garrett helped her realize her vision, building the birdhouses, trellises, and fencing. Anne believes there’s a fine line between tasteful and over-the-top, so she is selective about what chosen favorites go into the garden.

    The result has a delicious, bygone flavor that captivates visitors—but the garden is essentially simple and sublime. “I want you to be invited in, Anne says, “and when you’re here, to feel as if you’re part of the landscape.” Anne says the garden speaks to her because “it’s me; it’s my mistakes.” Others, though, gravitate outdoors as well, lingering in the garden, which feels like rooms added to the house.

    Published in: Old-House Interiors September/October 2012

    { 1 comment }

    Graydon Hare Jr July 26, 2012 at 10:17 am

    As an old page turner that still has newspaper delivered it is nice to see your articles on my tablet. Even old rabbits can learn new tricks.

    Get your FREE Trial Issue of Old House Journal and 2 FREE gifts.
    Yes! Please send me a FREE trial issue of Old House Journal and 2 FREE gifts.
    If I like it and decide to continue, I'll get 7 more issues (8 in all) for just $24.95, a savings of 48%. If for any reason I decide not to continue,
    I'll write cancel on the invoice and owe nothing. The Free Trial Issue is mine to keep, no matter what.
     Full Name:
     Address 1:
     Address 2:
     Zip Code:
     Email (req):
    Offer valid in US only.
    Click here for Canada or here for international subscriptions

    Products & ServicesHouse ToursHistoric PlacesHouse StylesOldHouseOnline.comMagazine
    Architectual ElementsKitchen & BathsHistoric HotelsArchitectural TermsRepairs & How ToSubscribe to Old-House Journal
    BathsInterior & DécorHistoric NeighborhoodsAmerican FoursquareFree NewslettersBack Issues
    Ceilings & WallsGardens & ExteriorsHouse MuseumsBungalowSubscribe to Arts & Crafts HomesDigital Editions
    Doors & WindowsColonial RevivalOld House CommunityAdvertise
    Exterior Products & LandscapeGothicAbout Us 
    FlooringQueen AnneContact Us 
    FurnitureVictorianPrivacy Policy
    HardwareLand for Sale
    Heating & CoolingSite Map
    Home Décor
    Period Lighting
    Real Estate
    Repair & Restoration
    Roofing & Siding
    Tools & Equipment

    Designer Sourcw e bookHistoric Home Show Logo

    Copyright © 2011-2016 Old House Online