Architectural Digest – Family Roots

AD interviews Candace Bergen and her daughter about their beloved family property.

“Every now and then a Bunny can be spotted hopping across my family’s East Hampton garden. Usually it’s morning, when the creature is hungry, lured by the prospect of breakfast. She is also, I should clarify, human­Bunny being the nickname my mother, Candice Bergen, has used for me (and I for her) for over 15 years.

“For nearly as long, she and I have shared the lawn that separates the cottage, where I stay with my husband, Graham, from the main house, which was built by my stepfather, Marshall Rose, and his late wife, Jill. Ten years ago, Candy and Marsh set about updating the gardens with landscape architect Edmund Hollander. “The man works on vast farms, incorporating Henry Moore bronzes into rolling hills,” the elder Bunny admits. “We stepped up and said, ‘We’d like you to refresh two acres!’ And he did.”

“Hollander divided the lawn with a white picket fence and a border of hydrangea and Japanese anemo­nes, beyond which he created a secret garden of shade plants, wide-leaf hostas, and ostrich ferns beneath the 150-year-old maples. “Every property tells a story, and this story was the trees;’ recalls Hollander, who trucked in a 35-foot sycamore from New Jersey, causing a temporary closure of the George Washington Bridge. The apple trees that line the property’s perim­eter were an anniversary gift to my mother from Marshall. Meanwhile, the border garden (conceived by Jill and landscape designer Jane Lappin, who still tends to it) is the yard’s colorful crown, with loose tiers of hollyhocks, dahlias, and snapdragons.

“This isn’t a garden you’re a slave to; this is a garden you enjoy, where dogs can run around,” says Hollander, just as our surly cavachon, Phyllis, relieves herself on the geranium rozanne. “It’s pretty, not perfect.”