Sunday, November 24, 2019
Even people who can’t make toast without burning it know who Martha Stewart is. There is a range on which one might rate personal familiarity with her work, from “I’m no Martha Stewart” at worst, to fearlessly proclaiming to have followed her every recipe and how-to guide on making a house a home.
Here at the Garden, we’re well-versed in Martha-isms. Often, when we think about writing to you, our dear hardworking and knowledgeable audience who do a little bit of everything, we try to channel our inner Martha.
So how did we handle a request to host Martha Stewart, the person who wrote the book on living through entertaining others, on a walk through the Garden? As per usual with Martha, we watched and learned.
To any celebrity skeptics, Martha is all that she appears to be. She is kind, patient, and genuinely knowledgeable about gardening as an art. Some of our plant collections here in Naples overlap with those in her personal greenhouses, and treasured memories of her trips to Africa, Europe, and, more locally, Key West.
In particular, she loved to test her knowledge of tropical plant identification against the expertise of Chad Washburn, our Vice President of Conservation. With her iPhone in hand for most of the visit, photo app locked and loaded, she seized every opportunity to capture what in the Garden caught her eye, contemplating what she might like to grow herself.
Martha Stewart loves gardenias— glowing white against the mid-day sun, pleasantly fragrant, and instantly awakening to anyone willing to have their senses completely transported. In one of the photos above, she’s posed with tropical gardenia in the Kapnick Caribbean Garden. Clearly, Martha saw this photo materialize before I pressed the shutter.
I’m not positive, but I think that may be her super power— believing and seeing. When you have an artful eye like Martha Stewart, it’s important to be a dreamer and a doer.
In our brief time with Martha, I learned to open up to the fullness of what a stroll in the Garden can be. Always take the moment to be fully present, and to appreciate the tenderness of a delicately nurtured plant collection. With a little work and a lot of nature, you can make something pretty magical.
About the Author
Mary Dominguez is the Digital Asset Coordinator at Naples Botanical Garden. She is a photographer, who specializes in capturing the connection between people and plants.