long-term plan. “We wanted to take these existing elements
and transform them into what we understood an Italianate
garden to be,” says Leszczynski, “but on a much smaller
To retain some maturity in the garden, Stella kept
a few existing hedges, two apple trees, and those lovely
wild roses. An oval “secret” garden where there was once
a slate patio and fountain is now what the couple sees
from their kitchen and living room windows. “With the
help of Gary Koller, our garden consultant, we staged this
area to not have profuse color at any one point, but as it comes
along,” Leszczynski says. There’s always something in bloom,
even in February, when the yellow threadlike flowers of witch
hazel add color to the winter landscape.
A pergola separates the secret garden from the quadrangle of boxwood-edged gardens where DiCarlo and Leszczynski plant herbs and vegetables each spring. Potted lemon, fig,
and olive trees — common to Italianate gardens — are the
centerpieces of each formal bed.
Potted plants add color to the hardscape as well, particularly on the patio off the house. Again inspired by Lakes
Region villas, DiCarlo and Leszczynski fill urns with bright
red geraniums and display them along the patio’s pedestals.
Other containers filled with brugmansia and marguerite daisy
topiaries spill down the stairs that lead to the secret garden. In
the winter, all the potted plants are nurtured inside the newly
Because the house is small, the couple made sure there
was plenty of room for outdoor entertaining. Stella transformed
a concrete patio between the greenhouse and the smokehouse
into a grotto that is an ideal setting for intimate dinners with
friends. She made the space whimsical with a
for more lion’s head fountain emerging from a wall and
see a large medallion of a grotesque head, a tradi-
resources tional Italian garden ornament symbolizing the
entrance to hell. The former smokehouse has found new life
as a guesthouse, which has its own pergola and small patio.
The couple have had larger social gatherings under the garden’s main pergola and on the tennis court.
The couple aren’t finished with these beautiful grounds,
though. They are installing a fountain and more planting
beds this spring. And the front yard, Leszczynski says, still
needs lots of work. The whispers are still coming.
see for yourself This is one of six private gardens in
South Natick, Dover, Medfield, and Needham, Massachusetts,
participating in The Garden Conservancy’s Open Days
Program on June 21. Admission to each garden is $5.
Advance tickets to all six are $25 and can be purchased at
opendaysprogram.org, or by calling 888-842-2442.