Garden in the Sky with Kate Berry
Last time I saw Kate, she had directed an entire Domino cover story shoot that day - she styled it to perfection, cooked an entire farm to table dinner for the crew of 12, and finished the day as the life of the party, lounging on a coffee table (you read that right!) sharing deep thoughts and personal musings! This woman is a force - a combination of a west coast sensibility and sharp and inviting New York wit and humor. Her unmistakable eye, irresistible vision and unfailing work ethic have positioned her as the Chief Content Officer for Domino and Saveur (not to mention, she worked for years with our favorite muse, Martha Stewart!).
Kate has impeccable taste and the most inspiring point of view, and I am overwhelmed by the beauty she’s created in her personal space, on the pages of Domino, and daily in her life - everything she touches turns to gold! It’s my joy to have Kate and her adorable daughter, Quinn, featured in today’s journal - see below for a few bits of inspiration that she shared with us and for a peek inside the garden dreamworld she created amidst the towering skyline of New York (PS - follow #nygardeninthesky for updates as the garden continues to grow!). And of course, if you haven't already, be sure to pick up the most recent issue of Domino magazine for more endless inspiration!
TIPS FOR CITY GARDENING
"I’ve always been into plants and have grown tomatoes every summer for the last 10 years. But I seriously started collecting and growing trees and vegetables about 4 years ago. My friend, Kimberly von Koontz who’s a landscape designer took me to a nursery on Long Island and we stuffed her mini suv with various decorative and fruit bearing trees including a pear espalier, fig trees, and other perennial vining plants and berry bushes. Those are the anchors to my garden. Every spring I plant vegetable and herb seeds but I can’t help myself and always end up buying more annuals at the farmer’s market or really anywhere that sells something I don’t already have.
This past Spring, we moved to a new apartment and it took me and three guys I know from the flower market four trips to move all my pots. Our new terrace has a lot more room than our last space so my husband, Ian and I put together 2 big raised boxes and a couple of obelisk trellises. My former boss and friend, Martha Stewart used to say, “Some people spend money on jewelry, but I spend it all on plants. [sigh]” I’ve been to a nursery or two with her and definitely have caught that bug and can totally relate to that sentiment now. My problem is, I have limited space compared to her farm and things are getting very tight as everything is growing. You could say it’s very lush. So next year, I might do a bit more planning and try to use some restraint."
SETTING A LATE SUMMER TABLE
"We have a lot of our meals on our terrace. I grew up eating family style dinners so that’s how I set my table. Food presentation is very important to me as it’s the centerpiece. Aside from my plant addiction, I have a passion for tabletop as well and always love to play with different colors and motifs for my place settings. Our tables always look different depending on the style of food.
We also eat a lot from the garden, so if we run out of say lettuce for our lettuce wraps, I’ll simply cut off a head and drop it in a bowl like one would put a flower in a vase. I also like to fill cups of fresh stems of mint, Thai basil and various Vietnamese herbs that you’d add to your dishes so they serve as the decor but also functional."
A RECIPE FOR HOSTING
"I’ve been really into making ceviche tostadas. It’s so easy, and refreshing for the warm NYC nights. I fry up Vista Hermosa corn tortillas ahead of time. Then dice a white fish like snapper or halibut into ¼ inch pieces. Soak the fish in lemon and lime juice with a grated clove of garlic and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. While the fish is curing, I slice red onions, finely chop jalapeños, halve or quarter cherry tomatoes and pick cilantro and chives all from the garden and then mix together with salt. Sometimes I add chunks of avocado to the mix or simply slice and layer on top."
A FEW PLACES TO LOOK FOR INSPIRATION
"I’m looking at vintage magazines lately like Flair that was published in 1950. It was truly beyond its time and done so well. Old design books from the brand Esprit serve as major inspiration as well as interiors books giving me a peek inside the lives of Pierre Berge and Yves Saint Laurent. Because of the unsafe landscape of Asian hate and violence, I’ve been less confident about being out for quite some time. Sure, I’m still out there but not as independently and confidently like I used to be. I’m going on a few work trips to LA and Italy in the next few weeks and excited to spark my creative side!"