By now I’m betting you’ve all seen this view of Oprah Winfrey’s garden, the set of her famous interviews with Harry and Meghan.
But look at another shot of Oprah’s garden for her sit-down with Quinta Brunson. (Love her!) Call me picky or worse, but are those fake plants we see, especially near the camera? Looks like garden design by Hobby Lobby or Michaels.
Anyway, that’s what got me interested in gardens and gardening a la Oprah.
Oprah’s California Mansion and Rose Garden
From one source I learned that “Inside the approximately 23,000 sq. ft Neo-Georgian style mansion, there are six bedrooms, 14 bathrooms, a gourmet kitchen and wine cellar, library, theater, and 10 fireplaces. Interestingly enough, it doesn’t appear that there is a swimming pool in the backyard, which is a very common addition to any California mansion.”
And that “Oprah has referred to her backyard garden as a ‘sanctuary,’ and it is easy to see why when you get a glance of just a small part of it in a photo. Perfectly manicured topiaries sit alongside bunches of flourishing roses, lilies, daffodils, dahlias, irises, perennials, and annuals that bloom almost year-round. Depending on where she stands in the huge garden, she can take in picturesque views of the Pacific Ocean or the Santa Ynez Mountains. See, it really is a sanctuary.”
And this article includes another shot of the interview location, with what looks like real rose blossoms and foliage. Gorgeous.
Another source digs deeper into Oprah’s love of roses:
To create this paradise, Winfrey hired master rosarian Dan Bifano, who also created gardens for singer Barbra Streisand and Tom Ford. Winfrey often does interviews under this magnificent arch of Sambreuil roses that are also scented with jasmine, including her tell-all with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Climbing Sambreuil is one of her favorite roses though there are 600 rosebushes on her 65-acre property. However, Bifano has said that “Oprah likes the Brass Band rose because there’s a hint of orange in it.”
Of course, there are a variety of other magnificent flowers on her property, which overlooks the Pacific Ocean, including Sunset Celebration roses as well as hydrangeas, lilies and dahlias. She even helped develop a new rose breed called, Legends. Certainly an apt name for the journalist and philanthropist.
About the “Reigning Queen” Label
It was Insider Magazine that called Oprah the “reigning queen of gardening” based on 14 photos from her Instagram account. And the photos ARE convincing. Actual vegetables, not set decoration from a craft store. But wait – that doesn’t look anything like her formal garden in Montecito. Wonder why.\
I should have known that Oprah would have another whole garden for veg-growing – in Hawaii. Nice!
Here’s the story, with the 11 photos of actual vegetables growing there in Maui.
Is My Jealousy Showing?
After some google research into the world of “Oprah’s gardens,” I’ll never again doubt her gardening bona fides. And was my doubt just jealousy, anyway?
Like most of you (all of you?), I wouldn’t mind being able to afford Oprah’s homes and gardens, though I’d prefer something more modern and naturalistic than the super-formal garden around her formal mansion.
But I bet I’d love her Maui garden. And if Oprah’s publicists thought she needed a post about it on a popular garden blog I’d happily hop on her jet and go see it for myself for a GardenRant exclusive.
GardenRant has an Oprah Connection
Back in 2009 Rant co-founder Michele Owens wrote a wonderful piece in O Magazine about gardeners in Detroit. This post about it summarizes her interesting points.
Please don’t watch the dreadful Harry and Megan complaining fest. Harry is a little s—t , has treated his family horribly and watching only encourages him.
Why should I not watch this? Is Harry a bad gardener? If I wanted to watch Harry can I do that on rabbit ears? Can I listen to Harry while weeding? Is Harry related to Deborah Harry?
Coming from someone named Charles, this is really funny!
Agree! But I don’t agree with that snarky comment about Harry Sussex.
I think if I had 65 acres here on the EAST coast, I’d probably have a small house on an acre garden smack dab in the middle of it surrounded by woods! And hopefully away from airplanes and traffic. Just some peace and quiet.
That’s my idea of heaven
Wait now. Oprah is the reigning queen of gardening because she actively and solely makes it her life’s work? OR because she has an interest in gardening and food, several homes and acreage, several gardeners, and is arguably the most powerful woman in media? I don’t think Martha’s ready to give away her jewel-studded crown yet.
I’m being snarky Susan, but the question isn’t for you. It’s for all of us to ask ourselves when we find ourselves being influenced or made to feel inadequate by someone who has gently, gradually, and no-doubt beautifully, lost touch with what it is to desperately need even 600 square feet of land to call your own. I guess this explains why Big Dreams, Small Gardens didn’t make it on Oprah’s Book List. 🙂 🙂 – MW
P.S. Those aren’t fake plants, that’s just what a cool evening, dry air, Mediterranean climate looks like with drip irrigation. 🙂 Possibly the gray undersides of Akebia quinata leaves? Hard to tell from the picture. Perhaps someone could ask Meghan if they can’t get hold of Oprah.
I much prefer the gardens of people who do the majority of the work themselves. Personal plant stories shared mean more to me than whatever extensive and expensive planting can. No jealousy here!
Couldn’t have said it better Lynda… I feel like a little kid who plays and plays for hours and hours with sticks and mud and little specially chosen pebbles and moss and is totally filled with joy at what she has created ( for a school project say) .. and then some jack ass comes along with 10 billion dollars and plops down some bullshit fake thing they bought from china….This bit about her being some kinda Queen makes me want to puke.
I lost interest in going on garden tours in my tony CT town when I realized the vast majority of gardens were designed, planted, and cared for by hired help. I am not impressed overly by people who have good taste in garden help. I loved the tours in my former town of Northampton, MA, which was full of quirky people with quirky gardens that reflected the personality of the owners, not the size of his/her pocketbook.
Nail on the head with this one! It’s why most garden books lack any appeal to me. You can tell who has bazillions of dollars to spend on hiring help. Which is great for those people but really terrible about putting forth what regular folks can do.
I’m afraid the big fancy estate landscape does nothing for me. the Hawaii one looks more interesting. However, to call Oprah the Queen of Gardening is a bit of a stretch as I bet she probably does little of the upkeep, planting, harvesting or weeding herself.
With droughts in California becoming more common, I am afraid those water loving hydrangeas and roses will shrivel. People will have to choose between green gardens and drinking water. Her gardeners, who know better, should plant more natives that can stand drought conditions.
This is so far off my radar screen. But now that you caught my attention with it, it just seems like Oprah being…Oprah. At least it’s about gardens, not building McMansions on top of displaced communities or something. No harm, no foul (as long as she pays her gardeners/landscapers well!).