Martha's 'Skylands' Home in Maine: Tour the Gardens!
Martha's beloved home boasts quite the selection of curated plants and hand-picked pottery. The results are simply stunning.
A pair of antique glazed terra-cotta sphinxes by Emile Muller preside over the terrace at Skylands. In the center, a huge pot by Eric Soderholtz shows off a blue agave surrounded by helichrysum, or licorice plant. The two concrete pots in front are by the Maine-based pottery Lunaform; the agaves are underplanted with various trailing succulents. The wall around the edge of the terrace is just the right height for sitting and looking out at the water.
Pink granite quarried on the island was used for the pergola’s pillars, built-in benches, and terrace (and for Martha’s home as well). This monumental Soderholtz bowl is planted with shade-loving bird’s-nest fern and deep-purple oxalis, with ‘Silver Falls’ dichondra and golden lysimachia trailing out of the pot.
Large alocasia leaves tower above delicate, lacy lotus vine; the two are wildly different in shape and scale—and that’s what makes this dramatic arrangement, in a reproduction of a Gertrude Jekyll pot, work so well.
A spearlike agave shoots out from fast-growing, bright-green lysimachia (it was just six inches long when planted!); in fact, this plant, commonly known as creeping jenny, can be invasive as a ground cover but works well in containers.
Small bicolored agaves are lined up in a granite trough that Martha found recently but that looks as if it’s been there forever.
Begonia parviflora stands tall in a cast-iron planter, flanked by a pair of urns.
On the back porch, where Martha shells peas and shucks corn, hanging baskets of Boston ferns are suspended over faux-bois planters of staghorn ferns.
In a square lead planter, the whimsically named ponytail palm swings above frothy, gray-green lotus vine—which has an appealing and unusual growing habit, in that it is both bushy and cascading. The terrace has a “cracked ice” pattern, with random, sharp-edged pieces that fit neatly together. Martha encourages moss to grow between the cracks.
The prehistoric-looking trough outside the dining-room window is filled with crassula and trailing dichondra, which grows quickly and almost reaches the ground by summer’s end.
This Soderholtz pot is one of a pair (the other is shown at the beginning of this gallery). At about five feet across, it provides lots of room for a giant agave, a profusion of helichrysum, and some red-flowering echeveria. In general, the plants Martha has chosen for the terrace are easy to care for. Agaves and other succulents don’t need a lot of water, and most of the plants offer interest without flowers, which means no deadheading—and more time to savor Maine’s short, sweet summer.