Grunge-Inspired Grasslands and a Delphinium Wedding: The Plant Lover’s Guide to Vogue’s September Issue

It’s that time of year again! You know, that end-of-summer stretch marked by groaning mailbags, raised eyebrows at the newsstand, and 900+ plus pages of fashion euphoria?

That’s right, Vogue magazine’s September issue is out.

The famously fat edition is a design-world event not just because of its weight (just under 4 pounds) but because of its power to inspire, to strongly suggest an aesthetic direction for the rest of the year. (To wit, we often referred to the 2007 edition while planning our Summer 2008 wedding.) And this September 2013 issue is rife with plantspiration: from radiant Irish moss and desert chaparral to a delphinium wedding archway and a designer’s L.A. yard of neon poppies and succulents.

The editors at Vogue (where half of The Horticult worked for two years as an assistant, when she was fresh out of college and greener than a Douglas sapling) are known for filling their pages with flora year-round. After all, flowers are the original fashion, right? Still, the wild mix of species in this issue makes us very happy.

So happy that we sat down and flipped through every page — that’s right, every one of its 902 glossy leaves — to bring you this index of plants therein.

Our ground rules: We focused exclusively on editorial (as much as we enjoyed the elephant ears and ferns of the new Vera Wang ad starting on page 363…) beginning after the masthead. After a bit of internal debate, we’re including plant prints (e.g. floral patterns) alongside our coverage of any living, photosynthesizing flora that’s prominently featured in the photos.

Ready to dig in?

Page 452 (!): What better place to start than New York’s High Line? The opening page of the “Lives” section features “philanthropic powerhouse” (and daughter of the mayor) Emma Bloomberg walking past the coneflowers, hyssop-leaved thoroughwort, spiked gayfeather and various grasses that mob the elevated urban woodland.


Emma Bloomberg photographed by Ralph Mecke on NYC’s elevated woodland, the High Line.

Page 464: Another beautiful shot of Emma here, this one from her wedding. She’s wearing a lavender Zac Posen gown, holding lavender roses, and is surrounded by (take one guess) hedges of Lavendula in North Salem, New York.

Page 466-468: Yes! A feature on the upcoming City Parks: Public Places, Private Thoughts by Catie Marron, photographed at her bucolic Southampton digs all abranch with purple-leafed plum, oak, rosemary (?) hedges and, in the distance (we think), hot-pink rhododendron. On shelves in October, the book features green spaces around the world, from San Francisco to Calcutta, and includes a wonderful quote from Zadie Smith: “No one thinks you odd or provincial if you consult your guidebook in front of a statue or a lake. In public parks it is a little easier to feel you belong.” The second page of the story includes a leafy shot from Trieste’s Giardino Pubblico and a blast of beautiful, clipped-hedge symmetry from Florence’s Boboli Gardens.

Page 472: J.D. Salinger and sister Doris, poolside with a smattering of palm trees. This midcentury photo was an Instagram before Instagram was Instagram.

Page 550: Things take a turn for the formal when Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis drops by for dinner at the gardens of Chateau de Wideville, Valentino’s 280-acre estate outside Paris. Stone dogs overlook marble-smooth lawns dotted with segmented, drop-shaped topiary.

Vogue September issue TNT

Château de Wideville, Valentino’s estate outside Paris is a tour de force of emerald lawns, stone sculpture and drop-shaped topiary. (Our ‘Midnight Sun’ moneywort is into it.) Photos by Kevin Tachman.

Page 558: Victoria Beckham, do you think you can sneak by while clutching a white phalaenopsis orchid without us noticing? Not on our watch.

Page 574: Another single cut flower! Here you will find a wonderful saffron-colored double garden rose that we can practically smell through the paper; it adds punch to a table setting featuring the exuberant hand-embroidered linens of Bernard Maisner by Julia B.

Pages 588, 592: It’s time for another party, this one celebrating editor Hamish Bowles’s Vogue tenure now being of drinking age. The setting: editor-in-chief Anna Wintour’s summer home in Mastic, Long Island. The theme: lilac — as seen in the centerpieces, the desserts and the song of the night, “God Save the Lilac Queen,” sung by Christopher Mason.

Further along in the Hamish Files, the writer attends the Miami wedding of Amar’e and Alexis Stoudemire, where Colin Cowie calling cards included indoor conifers, mounds of red roses, and the bride’s Black Magic calla lilies.

Page 594: Wondering how to wear florals in the fall? Valentino demonstrates in this heavy lace dress abounding with delft-blue urns, leaves and flowers.

Page 608: Note to self, we will be exploring the indoor garden at Big Daddy’s Antiques in L.A., as recommended by Amber Valletta.

Page 610: This might be one of our favorite stories in the issue. It features Elder Statesman designer Greg Chait, his partner, the actor Laura Ramsey, and their three-year-old daughter Dorothy at home in their new Rustic Canyon abode. Yard shots include bamboo, roses and fiery poppies. A horde of succulents planted on top of a low green wall includes crassula and sedum that trails down to meet a Tin Man-silver watering can. Oh! And there are loquats, blueberries and lemon on the kitchen table, handmade by Laura’s grandfather.

Page 614: Electro-rock musician Ionna Gika is wearing a blue-and-white floral Altuzarra dress in one picture, and a wishlist-worthy palm tree-print kimono (by A Fausto Puglisi) in another.

Page 616: Fern trees add to the excitement at the entrance to of-the-moment Hollywood boutique Just One Eye.

Page 630: This feature promises — and delivers — one “Swede Dream” at the Stockholm house of Jonny Johansson, cofounder of Acne Studios. Jonny, wife Teresa and kids are adorable in a tree swing that provides a rustic contrast to the huge grown-up vases of amethyst hydrangeas and painterly poppies indoors.


Green surroundings in Stockholm (surrounded by our tillandsia). Photos by Pascal Chevallier.

Page 652: In Key West, royal palms stand where pirate John Gomez once rested his head. Also, direct your eyes to the lower left, where a Gertrude Hamilton botanical/bird print is lovely.

Page 674: After a five-year hiatus, Jo Malone, famed for her simple note-blocked scents, has returned with a new line that includes Green Orange & Pink Coriander and A Shot of Thai Lime Over Mango. Dig the pomelo and mango illustrations, and the factoid that Jo Malone got her start at 16 as a florist’s assistant.

Page 694: Floral head wreaths aren’t just for no-pants parties. Online beauty tutorial sensation Michelle Phan kicks back with blooms that match her autumn palette.

Pages 750-752: Plywood panels hand-engraved with gingko. Floral mosaics for a new generation. Trompe l’oeil wallpaper with a surrealist still life. Run, don’t walk, to this roundup of designers and their works: Zoé Ouvrier, Sara Baldwin and Deborah Bowness, respectively. We are obsessed to the max.

Page 756: In the market for an orange rose/purple anemone arrangement and a new novel by a Pulitzer Prize-winning author? Find the review of Jhumpa Lahiri’s upcoming novel, The Lowland, and a floral portrait, here.

Pages 762-777:  Don’t let the title fool you. “Wild Irish Rose” is less about flowers and more about the radiant green grassland, heather-filled bogs and moss-covered crags of Ireland, where latter-day supermodel Daria Werbowy now lives. She’s photographed here without makeup and with Girls’ Adam Driver, who is featured in the ram-carrying shot seen round the world.


Adam Driver and Daria Werbowy sitting in a tree…being photographed by A-N-N-I-E (Leibovitz).

Pages 778-789: Steven Klein’s futurescape is as arid as it is minimalist — but at least there’s Google Glass, right? The models here wear the informational specs while exploring a terrain of chaparral, desert grasses and opuntia cactus. Maybe they’re using them to identify species; that’s what we’d be doing…

 Page 790: We’re loving Jennifer Lawrence surrounded by vases and vases of bruised-colored peonies and citrusy roses. She’s even holding shears!

Page 800-811: Fall and winter will be filled with florals in haute couture salons, to the tune of gowns by Armani Privé, Chanel and Giambattista Valli. Hand-painted flowers made from Mikado silk adorn a Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda cloak on page 804: this showstopper is the reason we decided to include plant-adorned fashion in this list.

Page 822: Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, below, stops to smell the roses, and look contrastingly futuristic in Michael Kors and Saint Laurent.


Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer photographed by Mikael Jansson.

Page 829: A flurry of conifers in China add power to the mirrored architecture of Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeren.

Pages 838-843: Caroline Sieber’s marriage to Fritz von Westenholz in Vienna was a wedding exploding with flowers, from the vases of peonies (4,000 in total), sweet peas, daisies and stocks on the dining tables to the silver-birch trees by the dancefloor. The outbursting arch of delphinium on page 839 could very well break Pinterest.

Our Lysimachia nummularia (creeping jenny) boogies down with the images from Caroline Sieber's peony- and sweetpea-filled wedding.

Our Lysimachia nummularia (creeping jenny) boogies down with the images from Caroline Sieber’s peony- and sweetpea-filled wedding.

Pages 858-869: In the English countryside, models wear daisy halos and magpie florals informed by ’90s grunge as horses munch their way through meadows of foxtail grass.

Page 872: Count on Amsterdam photographer and tastemaker Annemarieke van Drimmelen to furnish us with shots of dahlias and (of course) tulips.

Page 878: Flores Pasión, next time we’re in Buenos Aires, we’re coming for you.

Page 882: Get a bird’s eye into a private garden in Paris’s Eight Arrondissement.

Page 884: Steely thistles help yellow ranunculus pop in this beautifully modern arrangement by Brooklyn’s Fox Fodder Farm.

Page 902: A floral finale! The Last Look section gives us, well, as first look at Marc Jacobs’s Mae bag, a red, blue and white tweed purse that is photographed hanging in the middle of a camellia abloom with red flowers.

Color us excited about what fall has in store.