If you’ve ever watched an episode of Barefoot Contessa, you’ve caught a glimpse of Ina Garten’s beautiful barn in East Hampton, New York, as it’s where she films every episode. The internet-famous chef also has a stunning farmhouse-style home on the property, where she’s lived since the ‘90s. Well, it turns out that Garten’s outdoor living space is every bit as dreamy as her interiors, and somehow we’re not surprised.
Yesterday, Garten offered her Instagram followers a tour of the property’s lush gardens, and to say we’re smitten is an understatement. Here’s everything we spotted growing and will be adding to our planting list next year.
The tour starts walking along a gravel path in what Garten calls her “shade garden,” which is packed with bright greenery and ample ground-covering plants. I’m definitely taking notes for a few shady areas of my yard.
The first thing Garten points out is the abundance of ferns, whose fronds are stretching out into the path. There are lots of different varieties of ferns that will thrive in the shade, and many of them are quite hardy, making them ideal for a low-maintenance ground cover.
We also spotted several large hostas toward the back of Garten’s beds. These lush plants are happy to grow in the shade, and they come in lots of colors, too, making them a great addition to any garden.
Crepe Myrtle Trees
Garten says the trees in this area of her garden are crepe myrtles, which often get pink, purple, or white blooms in the summertime
Lily of the Valley
It also looks like there’s lily of the valley growing along the side of the path in the shade-filled oasis. These plants thrive in the shade, and their tiny bell-shaped white flowers are one of my favorites in the spring!
From the shade garden, our tour guide turns down onto a path with large stone pavers, which leads to what she calls her “secret garden.” It’s easy to see how it got its name—the space is surrounded by towering concrete walls, and you have to open a massive arched door to get inside. (Not only does it add mystery to the whole experience, but I bet it’s perfect for keeping out deer and other hungry critters.) Here’s what she keeps inside.
The first thing you see inside the inner garden is a big, beautiful tomato plant supported by a tomato teepee—essentially several wooden poles tied together at the top to form a cage for the plant. She has both full-sized tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, which she says will be used in tomato salads, and interestingly, both plants are surrounded by small, calf-height hedges.
As the internet sensation pans the camera across her garden, we see several lavender plants in full bloom, and Garten says she loves the smell of it. As an added bonus, lavender also helps to repel fleas, moths, mosquitoes, and many other insects—in case you needed another reason to plant it around your yard.
Along the walls of the garden, there are two absolutely huge fig trees covered with budding fruit. Common fig trees tend to prefer warmer climates, but there are some cold-hardy varieties that can survive in hardiness zones 6 and 7. Figs are one of my favorite fruits, and I’m jealous of all the delicious dishes she’s sure to be making with them. (Fig and bacon grilled cheese, anyone?)
As you’d expect from a world-renowned chef, Garten’s garden is bursting with fresh herbs that she uses in her cooking. She points out sage, chives, thyme, and tarragon, mentioning that these plants can easily be grown on your windowsill if you don’t have an outdoor space.