Eric Groft Reflects on a Client and Friend

The world recently lost a truce force of nature.

Barbara Goldsmith was a client and patron, but more importantly a friend, mentor, and an inspiration who pushed me beyond creative limits. She taught me to exist in a world of unlimited heights. Barbara once exclaimed after a talk I gave at Guild Hall that OvS gardens were “illuminating and transcending.” I was moved.

Barbara was recommended to OvS by Jason Epstein of Random House, another OvS client and friend and also the editor of many of our books.

Her garden, located in East Hampton’s fabled estate district on the double dune, was approximately two acres. The property featured a sweeping circular driveway festooned with an array of ever-blooming classic hydrangeas, towering Cryptomeria and cascading Jasmine. The sprawling but casual vintage shingle house was an expression of Barbara’s exquisite taste in interiors and art. The back verandah overlooked the garden below and provided a grand place for entertaining. Steps plunged down the slope of the south-facing double dune, into the garden itself. The shaded circular pool, surrounded by a forest of Birch trees, ferns, and Hosta, gave the pool a pond-like quality. A gleaming stainless steel Shapiro sculpture welcomed guests into the sunny meadow side of the garden that offered sweeps of Barbara’s beloved roses and Queen Anne’s Lace and an overlay of grasses and forbs. This is where Barbara spent countless hours writing and researching.

I recently walked the garden with Barbara and I had a profound feeling of peace and an overwhelming sense that this garden was truly an expression of a person – a personality and a force of nature that was Barbara Goldsmith.

I miss her.


Barbara Goldsmith

Poolside at Barbara Goldsmith’s garden in East Hampton.

Barbara Goldsmith

Sweeps of perennials sit adjacent to the pool

Barbara Goldsmith

The garden was a place to entertain and provide respite.