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Gordon and Mary Hayward's Vermont Farmhouse | The Gardener's House

Gordon and Mary Hayward’s Vermont Farmhouse | The Gardener’s House
12 votes, 4.00 avg. rating (79% score)

Much of this early heavy lifting the Haywards did themselves. They stripped plaster walls of tattered wallpaper, refinished them, and painted them white; they seeded newly cleared grounds with grass. Color choices and experimental plantings could wait. “It was a matter of getting it to a point where we could manage it,” Mary says, “so we could keep it under control.”

“At one point, I got up on the metal roof, which was just covered with rust, and I wire-brushed the whole exterior of the house—roof and sides,” Gordon says. “We were driven.” With a laugh, Mary adds, “We were into work.”

The pool garden on the north side of the barn.

Photo/Art by Keller + Keller
The pool garden on the north side of the barn.

During those early years, the property became an experimental site for Gordon, who quit teaching in 1985 and launched himself as one of the country’s leading garden designers, with landscape projects that have taken him all over the United States. He’s the author of 11 books, including Your House, Your Garden, which was lauded by the American Horticultural Society as a top title in 2004, and he’s been a regular contributor to Horticulture and Fine Gardening magazines.

“When we bought this place, we had an opportunity to express what interested us,” Gordon says. “It became our laboratory, where we learned about plants, where we learned about design.”

The home’s front door leads the eye straight into the garden. “Our goal as designers,” Gordon says, “was to live in a house intimately related to the garden.”

Photo/Art by Keller + Keller
The home’s front door leads the eye straight into the garden. “Our goal as designers,” Gordon says, “was to live in a house intimately related to the garden.”

Today, the Haywards’ home is a full expression of their identity as gardeners and Vermonters. Theirs is a house not overrun by indoor plants but instead is oriented toward the work they’ve done outside it. Exterior doors open up to paths that lead to the garden, while windows frame the view of the grounds: trees and shrubs, arbors and statues.

A sculpture of Jason (of the ancient Argonauts myth) reminds the Haywards of the Greek island of Naxos, where the couple lived for two months shortly after marrying.

Photo/Art by Keller + Keller
A sculpture of Jason (of the ancient Argonauts myth) reminds the Haywards of the Greek island of Naxos, where the couple lived for two months shortly after marrying.

“One of the big things I stress when I lecture is this goal that we should live in a house in a garden, and that the two should relate to each other,” says Gordon, whose property now includes a 1.5-acre garden bordered on two sides by 18 acres of reclaimed pastures. “What you see out the windows is just as important in the winter as it is in the summer. You live in a house 12 months a year, and the gardens should answer that.” That means that even in the depths of winter, the Gordons’ views reveal spots of color. A small orchard of crabapple trees bear red fruit deep into the season, while hedges and other evergreens show something other than white throughout the year.

The dining room, like the rest of the house, features artwork reflecting the Haywards’ connection to England and Vermont.

Photo/Art by Keller + Keller
The dining room, like the rest of the house, features artwork reflecting the Haywards’ connection to England and Vermont.

Ian Aldrich

Author:

Ian Aldrich

Biography:

Senior editor of Yankee Magazine: Ian, a native New Englander who has worked and freelanced for Yankee for the past decade, writes feature stories, home pieces, and helps manage the magazine's up-front section, First Light. His stories have ranged from exploring the community impact from a church poisoning in a small town in northern Maine to dissecting the difficulties facing Nantucket around its problems with erosion. In addition to his connection to Yankee, Ian worked as a senior editor of Cincinnati Magazine for several years.

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3 Responses to Gordon and Mary Hayward’s Vermont Farmhouse | The Gardener’s House

  1. Peggy Farabaugh April 2, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

    Thank you Ian for an inspiring article about Gordon and Mary’s beautiful home. Last year we were lucky enough to persuade Gordon to design the landscaping for a 200+ year old farmhouse we converted to a showcase for Vermont made furniture and home decor. He did an incredible job and we can hardly wait for everything to come into bloom for the first time. One thing readers might want to note is that traditional stonework is often a signature part of Gordon’s garden designs. He recommended Torben Larsen of Windham Growers in Putney, VT to do our stonework and it’s remarkable.

  2. Amy Skrzek November 16, 2014 at 9:47 pm #

    Great job with the house and land/garden. However, not all homes in New England are “Capes” The one in the pictures provided (Where Gordon and his wife live) was built in the late 18th cen and from the looks of it is built in the Georgian Style. Their previous home was built in the 1850’s, I would venture a guess that it was Greek(?). The term “Cape” for a house was created post WWII for the smaller homes being built that resembled those found in New England especially the Cape which were built (mainly) in the Georgian Style and were shingle cladded (obviously not all of them…) SO, it was annoying that all three or four homes were referred to as Capes; it does little for the imagination when all I can think of is a post-WWII “Cape” in suburbia…

  3. Deborah Pyle November 17, 2014 at 5:23 am #

    So awesome! Perfect place to live!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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