Home Ground

How do Westchester’s horticultural hard-hitters tackle their own yards? Eavesdrop over their garden fences.



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Texture and form
Becca Mudge Hastings

Q: What’s your background?
A: I come from generations of gardeners. I’ve lived in several different countries—Panama, Peru, Bolivia, Guyana; they inform my design sense.
Q: What were your influences?
A: I was raised not to be afraid of getting my hands dirty.
Q: Describe your property.
A: I have a Normandy Tudor, so I play off the stucco in my three-quarter-acre garden. I’m not a big fan of foundation plantings—they’re too heavy for most houses.
Q: Do you have a signature style?
A: Clients would say it’s a mixture of textures and forms and not dependent on flowers. Big leaves just crack me up!
Q: How does your own garden differ from your clients’ gardens?
A: Oh, it’s much more exuberant, wild, and crazy. There’s a lot going on including a desert, bog, daylily collection, and a traditional English border.
Q: What’s your dream scene?
A: I get to make my dream scenes for clients; I don’t need to own it, per se. There isn’t anything haunting me—except maybe a cactus garden, because it’s pure shape.
Q: What’s your biggest challenge?
A: Deer.
Q: Got a favorite tool?
A: My pouch. It holds my pruners, my keys, and my cellphone. It’s my office.
Q: Do you have any money-saving advice?
A: Plant deer-resistant herbs like nepatas, sages, and lavender. And it’s always cheaper to buy bulbs rather than purchasing them as potted plants.