Tasha Tuesday: An Interview with Tovah Martin

Good Morning, and Happy Tasha Tuesday!~
    I'm so glad you could join us, as I'm thrilled to have a very special guest on the blog today--- Tovah Martin! Tovah in a renowned horticulturist, author, speaker and contributor to print and television media. She was also a longtime friend of Tasha Tudor and counted her as a mentor.
   You may even be familiar with two of her books written about Tasha--- Tasha Tudor's Garden and Tasha Tudor's Heirloom Crafts. You can learn more about Tovah and her books on her website, and I also suggest following her great page Plantwise with Tovah Martin on facebook.
   I'm so pleased to have Tovah here on the blog today chatting a bit about Tasha, and can't wait to share it with you. And thanks so much to Tovah, for taking time out of her very busy schedule, to "Talk Tasha" with us. 
   And so, I will get out of the way, and welcome Tovah to the blog!~

- What was it about Tasha Tudor that first drew you to her? 

    Long before I met Tasha in person, I was drawn to her art. Coincidentally, an aunt worked for the publishing house that produced Tasha’s stationery and she gave me a set of Tasha’s cards when I was very young. I never parted with a sheet of that stationery. 
   Instead, I brought those cards with me wherever I went—to college and to my first job. Her art captured the essence of free-spirited country life and there was nothing else like it at the time. 
Photo by Richard Brown
    Every brushstroke spoke of levity and a love of nature. So when Tasha walked through the door of Logee’s Greenhouses, where I was working, I recognized her immediately. But how could you fail to recognize Tasha? It wasn’t just that she dressed uniquely—she had an independence and a spark that set her apart from the rest of the world. 



- How did Tasha's garden inspire and influence your own gardening style? 

     Tasha also gardened like nobody else. Her love of vintage plants was contagious. Tasha 
was really the first cottage gardener that I knew—she forged a passion for a style of gardening that was dense and infinitely romantic. 
    It was defined by tight paths, groping vines, hidden terraces, heady fragrances, and plants with stories attached. I will never be as brilliant a gardener as Tasha, but I try. Tasha’s foxgloves, sweetpeas, peonies, Exbury azaleas, and dianthus were the stuff of dreams. I can see and smell them now. They’re still some of my favorite flowers.



- What advice do you have for anyone who would like to create a cottage garden? 

     I think the essence of a cottage garden is the density. You should become lost in it. Tasha 
loved to make lunch when I visited and she always did it from scratch. So as soon as I arrived she would say, “Go show yourself around the garden while I make the lunch.” And that was my signal to get lost. 
    It was so hard to pull myself away from the magic of the plantings to sit down to eat when lunch was ready. Fortunately, she always served lunch outside during the growing season. Even if it was pouring, we sat on the back porch. A cottage garden needs to surround you 
Illustration by Tasha Tudor
and touch you.



- What was your favorite spot in the Corgi Cottage garden? 

     That’s a tough question. Tasha always had a project going—inside and outside. So she 
was invariably planning a new section of the garden throughout our friendship. Whatever she was working on became our focus and her enthusiasm was boundless. When she made her “secret garden” with the larger-than-life foxgloves—I was enthralled. I loved the greenhouse with its gnarly old camellias. But I also loved her potting area with the stacks of old terra cotta pots. And I remember the first time I saw the fairy ring of dianthus…the whole place was a fantasy.



-Did you learn any heirloom crafts from Tasha that you still enjoy today? 
Photo by Richard Brown

    I’ve always loved to sew, but Tasha shared her love for hand sewing rather than stitching 
on a sewing machine. I still find it infinitely restful to pick up a piece of mending and work on it by hand. And Tasha also taught me how to make flower garlands. I’ve brought that to my local elementary school—teaching the kids how to weave garlands. 



-How has Tasha inspired you to 'take joy' in your work and life? 

   Beneath it all, I think Tasha’s primary message was to follow your own drummer and 
honor your inner creativity. Tasha forged trends, she never followed them. She found beauty and she created beauty. Tasha could take a piece of paper and make something absolutely splendid from it. She could look at a flower and see the world in its petals. And she discovered that beauty daily with fresh eyes. Certainly, she taught me to look and really see the zest all around us. And she inspired me to seek the words to express my reverence for nature.


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 And now, to celebrate Tasha's garden and in celebration of such a wonderful visit with Tovah Martin, I've got a very special giveaway in store! This week's giveaway is a copy of Tovah Martin's beautiful book "Tasha Tudor's Garden." This book is a staple of any Tasha Tudor book collection--- with lovely and thoughtful writing (plus, lots of expert garden information!) as well as the gorgeous photos of Richard Brown. If you'd like to win a copy of this book--- it's easy! Just leave a comment here on the blog. Good luck! And the winner will be announced on Friday!~

  Hope you have a wonderful Tasha Tuesday!~
Take Joy,
~H


22 comments

  1. Many thanks to Tovah today for sharing her thoughts and experiences about Tasha!! The life of Tasha Tudor offers many pathways to inspire all of us. How rich and interesting her passions were! What always draws me to her work is the spirit of her lifestyle where she makes the daily aspects of living and the seasons an opportunity to find beautiful and meaningful simplicity.

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  3. How lovely to see this post this morning! Thank you, Tovah, for sharing with us. Such a gift to be mentored by Tasha herself in the fine art of cottage gardening....and life itself! This is the stuff of dreams! Thank you for sharing this gift of Tovah with us today, Heather. ♡

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    1. Thank you, Karen. Tasha was a very private person -- she wanted her own space. But she also wanted a dialogue with other kindred spirits. So the books were her way of sharing her lifestyle discretely.

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  4. Thank you ~Tovah~ and ~Heather~ for a very enjoyable read today!!
    I already have this book so no need to enter me, but it is a most
    wonderful book, and a true favorite of mine!!
    Many BLESSINGS, Linnie

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    1. Thank you, Linnie. And thank you for having Tasha Tudor's Garden in your library.

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  5. Oh what a delightful post dear Heather! Thank you so much for posting this. It's always a treat to get first hand information from someone who was lucky enough to spend time with Tasha. I love to watch Tasha gardening in the Take Joy dvd. I am so pleased that the Tudor family is bringing her gardens back to life. When I visited the property in 2007, it was so sad to see her gardens in disrepair. They were better on my 2014 visit and wonderful on my visit this spring. WInslow seems to be taking quite an interest in the gardening now. It makes me happy.

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    1. Thank you Linda, and what a relief to hear that Tasha's garden is being restored. I feared that its fate would not have such a happy ending.

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  6. I forgot to say that I also have the book, so I don't need to be entered. Would love the book to go to someone who doesn't have it. It is a beautiful book.

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  7. What a wonderful interview. I love Tova's work and how fun to hear her perceptive of Tasha. It confirms why I love Tasha. Her independent spirit and her love for beauty and joy of life. Clarice
    PS I have the book, so do not put me down for the give-away.

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  8. Great post, I love learning about her and also her history with Tasha!

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  9. Most enjoyable chat! How wonderful to have been in the company of Tasha firsthand. Would so love to add that book to my collection; thanks for the opportunity, Heather.

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  10. How wonderful! I just found your blog through Instagram. I think it's my new favorite. :) I love Tasha Tudor and the beauty she created.

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  11. Thank you Heather and Tovah for this lovely interview. It's always nice to "meet" people who actually knew Tasha. It makes her more real and not just a wishful figment of my imagination! Tovah's answer to your last question, Heather, expresses exactly how I feel about Tasha. Tovah has indeed succeeded in expressing her reverence for nature through her words.

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  12. Oh Tasha Tudo! She is one of my very best heroines in life! I check out her books from the library every few months to get inspired. There Tasha Tuesdays are so much fun!
    glenn bliss
    yaygod@verizon.net

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  13. Tasha's illustrations were my main inspiration when I illustrated a book for a gal a few years back. That was one of the coolest things I've spent my time on and I loved deepening what saw when studying her art. I was lovingly blessed to bring home a withdrawn copy of Drawn From New England from our library for 10 cents(!) and the representation of her within expanded my admiration for her all the more. Thank you for this wonderful post and generous opportunity <3

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  14. I have recently been introduced to Tasha Tudor. Next spring I will be starting my first, very own, garden with my husband and 6 children, some chickens, bees, and maybe a few fish. I would love a copy of this book.

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  15. What a great post!! Thank you Heather and Tovah! The book looks amazing!

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  16. I am longtime reader of Victoria magazine. It was through Victoria that I was introduced to Tasha Tudor. I believe it was article that Tovah Martin wrote as well. It is a treat to read your interview with Tovah.

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  17. I love your blog and I love Tasha Tudor. Thanks for sharing.

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  18. HEATHER. what an amazing post! can you imagine having lunch in Tasha Tudor's very own GARDEN? How heavenly. And isn't it amazing the effect she continues to have on us all.....thanks for the interview and thanks for the book opportunity!

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  19. Heather,
    This is such a wonderful post!! Love hearing personal accounts of Tasha and how she inspired so many lives!!
    ~b

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Each and every comment is appreciated! Thanks for coming to visit me :) ~Heather

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