PETER WOOSTER was educated at the Pratt Institute. He was involved with commercial and residential design projects in Manhattan, and in designing the well-known restaurant Orso, and its sister restaurants in Los Angeles and London.
In 1984 he left his beloved Brooklyn for Roxbury, Connecticut, where his meticulous eye for detail and ability to create spaces that welcomed the visitor, landed him a variety of assignments designing and renovating homes and estates.
Simultaneously, he began making his mark as a landscape and garden designer, including designing the seasonal walk for the New York Botanical Garden.
In the autumn of 2006, Peter suffered a stroke, which paralyzed his right arm – his drawing arm – and leg. The effects of this stroke also diminished his ability to speak and read. Seeking a method by which to communicate, but also an outlet for his artistic expression, Peter began creating collages. He utilized graphics, photography, and painting, which he found readily available in a variety of newspapers and magazines. He discovered that the medium of collage was able to perfectly express his unique and artful view of his new world.
Peter has had shows in Connecticut at the Roxbury Library, the Washington Art Association, and also at New York City’s Fountain Gallery.
The garden of Peter Wooster is a revered jewel-of-a-garden in Roxbury, Connecticut that has been long-admired for its intimate design and incredible collection of plants. Rob Girard, gardener extraordinaire (and a contributor to BBG’s Contained Exuberance show this summer) will take us on a tour through this four-square garden.
Begun more than 25 years ago as a collector’s garden by architect and landscape designer Peter Wooster, the original guiding principle was “We’ll take one of everything”. Over time it became recognized for its great plantsmanship and unusual perennials, shrubs, annuals, and exotics, as well as for its simple but elegant architectural form.
Covering only a half acre, there are six large, rectangular beds framed by grass paths with a border that ties it all together. The paths serve to contain the mixed English border-style plantings that have been referred to as ‘a botanical zoo’.
Over the years, the maturing trees and shrubs have turned what was once a mostly sunny perennial garden into a mostly woody garden with a change in scale and light. The plantings have evolved to support the changing conditions, fostering the garden’s diversity while continuing to be of great interest to visitors and still maintaining its primacy as an organizing point for this artful collector’s garden.
After a stroke in 2006 left him partially paralyzed, with limited vocabulary, Peter Wooster of Roxbury, Connecticut, the renown gardener and architect of homes for such high-profile clients as James Taylor and Stephen Sondheim, continues to pursue creative self-expression through vivid visual imagery. True, Wooster can no longer draw or write up or describe out loud what he has in mind. But images—photographs, in particular—speak to Wooster as they always have, and through them he continues to express himself as emphatically as ever in the role of collage artist.
With pictures as the words he cuts and pastes into boldly punctuated metaphorical paragraphs, and several well-received gallery shows already to his credit, a new limited-edition book, Collage, is set to debut Sunday at a reception at Pergola Home in New Preston.
“Peter was always known for his pithy plantings in the garden,” says Tovah Martin, the acclaimed garden author and fellow longtime Litchfield County resident. “Basically, he led the trendsetting movement toward marrying highbrow architectural kitsch with zany horticulture. Now, he takes that sharp wit into another art form, teaching us to see anew.”