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Turkey Hill Retrospective

Martha Stewart Living Television

Creating a home is a joyous process that can provide a lifetime of satisfaction. Martha took a look back at 30 years at her Turkey Hill property.

It was a Sunday in 1971 when Martha found the Turkey Hill property in Westport. Built in 1805, the old farmhouse needed a lot of work, which she began right away by learning how to do everything herself.

When Martha wanted a brick terrace, she learned how to lay brick. When she added a pergola, she planted Clematis montana rubens to grow over it. The back terrace eventually became one of the most peaceful spots from which to view the rest of the property, and it was put to good use year-round.

When she wanted a pool, she built it, and soon began to develop the surrounding area. It was then that Martha started thinking about the architecture of the landscape and began her gardens at Turkey Hill. The pool garden became a wonderful outdoor room where something would bloom all season long.

An orchard of fruit trees was one of the first things planted. Making sure to include a wide variety of apples, peaches, pears, and cherries, Martha was able to reap a deliciously diverse harvest every season.

The perennial garden got its start from a neighbor, Fred Specht, whose gifts of cuttings and divisions came with wise words of experience and encouragement. His generosity, combined with Martha's planning and hard work, was rewarded with incredible beauty every growing season. Over the years, Martha grew to love certain plants, like irises, poppies, and peonies.

Martha learned the French manner of intensive vegetable gardening through the use of raised beds, which proved especially useful during her catering years. Each square of lettuce was just enough for 100 salads, and she would replant the squares sometimes five times in one growing season.

Martha has said that she would be lost without fresh herbs for cooking. It took her three months to install the herb garden, with the help of friends, and she added to it continuously.

The shade garden was a challenge. With rich soil at the bottom of a hill and a dense canopy of trees overhead, Martha decided to expand her palette of garden plants to include those that thrive in woodland conditions.

In 30 years, Martha grew everything from asparagus to zucchini, and her vegetable garden was a source of pride at harvest time. The best part was sharing her bounty with others.

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