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Second star to the right & straight on ’til Martha’s Vineyard

Tara Gayle’s imaginative gardens provide storybook-like inspiration for gardeners across the Cape and Islands

Unique, colorful varieties of vegetables and flowers add a fun twist to the classic Vineyard style across the island.

Gayle explains that every town on the Vineyard has its own style, but when one thinks of a traditional Vineyard garden, the image that comes to mind is one of blue hydrangeas and boxwood. “My own style is wild but organized. It’s about incorporating native plants and keeping things as natural as possible but with some thoughtfulness to it,” she says. Think of the High Line in New York, created by Piet Oudolf—natural and wild, but still thoughtful and organized. Gayle takes the Vineyard’s classic style and makes it her own, adding a little wildness and a lot of personality. “There are the tried and true plant materials, but you can still play on the different varieties of those more traditional plants,” she explains. “It doesn’t always have to be a blue mophead hydrangea. Instead you can use a snowflake quercifolia hydrangea and then add some non-traditional elements too. You could take the same five plants, and the way that you plant them can make a garden completely different.”

For Gayle, gardening is truly an art form. “I didn’t even realize how much I loved it until I was out in the middle of winter working on landscapes,” she says, laughing. “It’s not just a job for me, and it’s amazing how tied to my art history background it is. All the great masters incorporate symbols of flowers and other botanicals in their work.” The level of education and detailed devotion that Gayle brings to her projects is incredible. She’s inspired by things like Botticelli’s “Primavera,” and she can name countless varieties of ornamental grasses. It would not be a far jump to say that Gayle creates her very own masterpieces within the spaces where she works. “Someone once told me that I paint with flowers,” she says. “It sounds a little cheesy, but there’s definitely a huge artistic component to it. That’s super important to me.”

As Peter Pan tells Wendy, “One girl is worth more use than 20 boys.” Gayle, as an evolving entrepreneur, has boldly set out to learn from the world around her and bring stunning creations to life in the yards of Vineyard homes. Gardening is an art form that is ever-changing, but one that she has proven is achievable with some hard work and maybe a little pixie dust.

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