Monday, May 19, 2014

The Evolving Gardens at Turkey Hill

It's been seven years since Chuck & Casey Berg bought Turkey Hill from lifestyle maven, Martha Stewart, and since then they have not been shy about making changes to this idyllic estate.  The Westport, Connecticut Federal home, which many consider a landmark, is a magical site that continues to evolve under their ownership.  Changes to the main house and the carriage barn located behind it have already been documented, but it isn't until now that we've seen how the gardens have developed since Martha left.

All photographs by Rob Cardillo


My friend Colin, recently sent me the May issue of Cottages & Gardens which has a wonderful story on the gardens of Turkey Hill the way they are today. The article gives us insight as to how the Bergs felt about acquiring Martha's estate and how they wanted to fine tune it to make it their own.  This beloved and bucolic home that graced the pages of Stewart's namesake magazine, and was featured on her television shows for many years, is now a home that echoes what it once used to be.  It is indeed a living landmark of an estate on four pristine acres that is simply beautiful to this day.


When the Bergs took over the property they opted to keep the parcel intact; others wanted to subdivide it if you can imagine!  That they have kept many aspects of Martha's plantings, trees and flowers, is a testament to Stewart's thoughtful consideration to the landscape.  Having said that, however, it was only natural for Chuck & Casey to make the gardens of Turkey Hill more suitable for their tastes and needs.  With a trusted landscape architect on their side, the couple quickly began to give the property their own stamp of structured serenity.

Head gardener, Levy Froes, is perhaps the most important element to the success of the gardens.  Having been employed by Martha for many years prior to selling the estate, it was only natural for the couple to keep him on as steward of the acres.

Walk through the evolving gardens of Turkey Hill.

This is looking out towards 'Martha's Garden'.  Although the Bergs have kept many of Martha's plantings, they have added a lot more.  The apple orchard is just beyond the small shed.

Those peonies that I simply adore continue to thrive many years after Martha had them planted.

With new garden ornaments, the Bergs provide visual interest to the outdoor spaces.

These majestic trees that guard the entrance to the old tobacco barn, which Martha used countless times for entertaining, continue to thrive along the bottom of the hill.

The dwarf apple trees in the orchard stand proudly next to one another.  

Who doesn't remember the old shed where Martha first began filming garden segments?  The weathered shingles and moss-covered roof give this building a sense of permanence in the landscape.

Where once rectilinear spaces set the standard for Martha, it seems that the Bergs have introduced  some curved areas for their cutting gardens.

This tranquil spot adjacent to the porch is so inviting and restful to the eye, don't you think? 



As much as the former version of Martha's Turkey Hill will forever be ingrained in our psyche, the living landmark under the Berg's care continues to evolve, change & thrive.  We are told that Martha returns to visit Turkey Hill every now and then.  It seems she is pleased that someone else is taking such good care of the place she once called home for so many years.  A progression of Good Things to be sure. 

Read more about the gardens of Turkey Hill here and if you wish, request a copy of this Cottages & Gardens issue.

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