Nearly two decades ago, Kathryn Herman—a high-flying American landscape designer with round-the-world clients—spent a transformative week in England’s Somerset County, taking in the genius of husband-and-wife horticulturalists Sandra and Nori Pope, creators of the acclaimed gardens at Hadspen House.
“They are colorists, and I was hugely impressed by the subtle gradations they had established,” Herman recalls. “And I said, that’s what I’m going to do for myself when I get the opportunity.”
The Popes had transformed 18th-century Hadspen House’s huge, dilapidated potager into dynamic color-themed gardens that bedazzled novelist and gardener Jamaica Kincaid, who once wrote, “Nothing matched in a way that I understood.” But after the Popes decamped to their native Canada in 2005, their landlord bulldozed the couple’s Arcadia to make way for a new garden—which, ironically, was never planted.
Hadspen’s glories may be gone, but an echo can be found at Herman’s Connecticut residence, the remodeled groom’s cottage of a 1920s estate. There the designer has installed “a garden that is as true to an English-style garden as I can make it.” That