One of my favourite photographs of Martha is this one by Annie Leibowitz, taken in 1999 for Vanity Fair. I have always loved it. Martha is pictured on a property she owned in Westport, Connecticut, which was not far from her home on Turkey Hill Road. It coincides nicely with a favourite "Remembering" column that Martha wrote about this property in the March, 2000, issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine. The title was "A Garden of Dreams" and Martha regales her readers with her plans for this place:
"Years ago I bought at auction a large parcel of land in a lovely neighbourhood not far from Turkey Hill. I had always admired the property from the road I travel on to visit my brother George. There are lovely vistas, smallish ponds, a stream, a wetland, a woodland, and rolling fields. There are some great shade trees, but not many, and great white pines, though they are mature and on the decline, and I am afraid I will have to remove most of them."
"I envision great swaths of color - weird colors, like the purple of paulownia trees in spring, and the blacks of certain pussy willows, and the yellows of witch hazels, and the blazing oranges of certain azaleas... I want a circle of pink peonies just like Elizabeth von Arnim had, three hundred feet across! And a hillside covered with fragrant lilacs where I can wander and think and invite friends for lunch! And a meandering walk through tall bluish grass, the walk edged in French strawberries! And..."
I am not sure what became of this property: whether Martha still owns it or whether she let it go when she moved from Westport to Bedford, perhaps transplanting her beautiful vision of this 'Garden of Dreams' to her new property. (The peony parcel sounds familiar!) In any case, I love her pensive expression in this photograph with that slight hint of melancholy in the eyes, her flatbed full of collected fallen branches. It's a wonderful portrait. And a wonderful dream.