How do Westchester’s horticultural hard-hitters tackle their own yards? Eavesdrop over their garden fences.
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A Renoir (with fairies)
Ann Gaillard Pelham
Q: Describe your background.
A: I majored in English at Sarah Lawrence and then went to Columbia University. I became a teacher, skippered a charter boat, went into advertising, sold lace for Rue de France, designed a line of teddy bears, and then started the landscaping business.
Q: How long have you been in the landscaping business?
A: Twenty-seven years and I never looked back.
Q: What was your primary influence?
A: Renoir. It should look like it has always been there—light and airy.
Q: What’s your signature style?
A: I try to create a scene so natural and soft that you look for the fairies.
Q: What’s your dream scene?
A: “I always wanted to create a savannah. I would add sculpture, and that would be the cat’s meow.
Q: If you could make a change to your garden, what would it be?
A: “I’d throw in four hundred to five hundred more lilies.
Q: What’s your favorite tool?
A: A clipper.
Q: Can you share some money-saving advice?
A: Every year I divide something and give plants to a church or a public space. You have to be organic—it results in less water usage, fewer pests, and good health.
Q: What was your biggest bungle?
A: I’ve redone the backyard four times. I didn’t leave enough room for the dogs to play hide and seek.
Photography by Thomas Moore