Anyone familiar with Ina Garten's cookbooks knows that the Barefoot Contessa often entertains guests in her lush East Hampton garden. What guests don't know—because she famously makes everything look so easy—is that it took the best-selling author 10 years to convince the previous owners to sell her the land. "I'd call them every year," Ina confesses, "but they always said no."
She and her husband, the economist Jeffrey Garten, were living up the street when they spotted a field for sale in a prime location. Overrun with tall grasses, the former pasture was part of a larger farm owned by the Mulfords, one of East Hampton's oldest families. The Gartens bought the property, even though it was a bit small for everything they hoped to accomplish: a new house and expansive garden, an office and a test kitchen for Ina, and a study for Jeffrey. But they knew that the Mulfords also owned the adjacent parcel and hoped that, with a little convincing, the family might eventually let go of that one, too. In the meantime, Ina eagerly focused on realizing her dream of having a proper garden. "We designed the garden before we even designed the house!" she says with a laugh. "I knew I wanted a kitchen garden, an orchard, and hydrangeas everywhere."
In the original section of the garden, which was designed by von Gal, parterres framed in boxwood are planted with white roses, Russian sage, and salvia; terra-cotta pots hold hydrangea standards.
Her friend Martha Stewart introduced her to the landscape designer Edwina von Gal, who was finishing up an installation nearby. For the Gartens' new property, von Gal drew a simple square and divided it into four quarters—one for the house, one for the orchard, one for the kitchen and cutting garden, and one for an open lawn. Although the garden has been renovated and added to over the years, von Gal's basic layout remains, along with many of the original plantings. These include beds of white dahlias mixed with verbena, and boxwood-framed parterres filled with Russian sage, white beach roses, and potted white hydrangea trees. There is also a charming garden shed covered in climbing hydrangea and clematis. The pièce de résistance of von Gal's plan is the orchard, where 25 crab apple trees bloom magnificently each May, creating a fragrant white canopy. Ina still marvels at their size. "When I bought them, they were tiny," she says.
The rear of the house, with tardiva hydrangea trees inside parterres.
The Gartens' new farmhouse on the property, with its classic Hamptons wood-shingle exterior, is almost an exact replica of their former home. When it was completed, with nearly half of their grand plan realized, they approached the Mulfords about purchasing the field next door. To their disappointment, the answer was unequivocally negative. But Ina was not ready to give up. The next year, she contacted the owners again, beseeching them to sell. Once more, the response was no. This pattern was repeated annually for a decade until at last, in 2005, the Mulfords relented and the couple were able to connect the two properties. Ina set about building the barn that today houses her office and the telegenic test kitchen where she works on her cookbooks and shoots her Food Network show.
Original article and pictures take http://www.elledecor.com/design-decorate/house-interiors/a8810/ina-garten-famous-garden/ site