Wedding in an English Garden Part I: The Chocolate Goddess has a Divine Intervention

My husband and I had been looking for a country house in Connecticut for several years. We thought it would be wonderful to have a countryside home where we could relax on the weekends and see out son, a Connecticut resident more often as well.

About 5 years ago we saw our dream house quite by accident. We had actually gone to look at another home that wasn’t right for us. As we drove around, we came upon our castle in the air. The home was on top of a mountain and it have a valley and mountain view - there was nothing but greenery as far as the eye could see. It included a swimming pool from which you could look out at the deep blue-green mountains as you swam.

It was obvious that the house had just been built - piles of dirt, clay, and rock indicated someone else had just finished building the house of their dreams. It looked as if they may have just been settling in, for grass seeding has begun - the home was obviously not for sale.

Last year as I browsed through real estate listing online, I thought I spotted the very same house, now on the market. A drive up to Connecticut from Long Island, New York proved it was our fantasy home and within six months, we purchased it and started staying there for long weekends. The goddesses had intervened and the universe had answered my hopes and dreams - The Chocolate Goddess has her own Mount Olympus here on Earth!

My son was now engaged, he and his fiancé asked if they could be married in our backyard at the end of the summer. At the time, the property did not have much to offer in the way of landscaping and flowers, so plans for a beautiful wedding needed to be developed quickly.

Sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee on frosty winter day, I stared out the window. There was of course, a majestic view of the mountains but the backyard only offered an unsightly large rectangle where the previous owners had a vegetable garden. I had been browsing through a book on flowers from our aunt, Cora Rizzuto and it was then that inspiration struck me. This barren vegetable patch would be the perfect place to create an English garden overlooking the valley and mountains - the ideal setting for the bride and groom to be married!

Providence struck once again, the very next week, when a neighbor of mine left a letter asking if I needed any help with the gardening! The letter was from Lisa Newell who owned Cultivated Gardens in the Framington Valley. She is a true professional gardener and horticulturist who had worked at Botanical Gardens in Chicago. Lisa’s passion is flowers, gardens, and potted plants and she transferred this fervor into her business. She met me with great enthusiasm and true sensitivity of the nature of the project ahead. It was a tremendous amount to accomplish before the summer’s end - to turn a bare space into a fully landscaped yard with an English garden to boot.

Together we planned a feast for the eye. First we drew up plans for the English garden to include white picket fences with a gentle concave framing the four corners, and arbor for the entranceway and a brick path down the middle forming four quadrants. I established a color palette determined by the purples, lavenders, and yellow that the bride and groom chose for floral bouquets. We would have the gardens awash with all the tints, hues and shades of these colors and then highlight with splashes of pink and white.

- Barbara Esatto, The Chocolate Goddess