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The dirt on the 'It's Complicated' vegetable garden


Ever since "It's Complicated" was released in theaters last week the online garden community has been buzzing about Jane's (Meryl Streep) vegetable garden, above. Its lushness, colorfulness, perkiness ... well, it's almost pornographic. One doesn't know whether to envy it, or to be concerned about anyone that eats from it.

"The idea was it was meant to look like a real cook's garden," said Jon Hutman, the film's production designer, speaking on the phone from a hotel room in Italy. "We try to make the movies look real, but a very delicious version of real."

Hutman, who does not garden, relied on the talents of greensman Dan Ondrejko, whose previous credits include "Jurassic Park," "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events" and "Land of the Lost." After perusing countless garden books they settled on a French potager garden design, which makes sense for the character -- a baker who got her training in France.

While there are no CGI cabbages or rhubarb special effects in the film, this is still not a garden that is humanly possible, even for Martha Stewart. The vegetables were grown in a greenhouse for two months before the  garden scene was shot, and any plant that looked a little scrubby was not used.

There was also a little enhancement. "I probably shouldn't tell you this," Hutman said, guiltily, "but those tomatoes were wired to the vine."

Honesty appreciated, Jon.

-- Deborah Netburn

 Photo credit: Melinda Sue Gordon / Universal Studios

Comments () | Archives (7)

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It's a movie...do you think half of what you see is real....I bet the bakers on-line community is buzzing on the late night snacks she whipped up for Steve Matin. "That dough takes three hours to prepare"

The vegetable garden looked like a retro ad for a CHEMICAL COMPANY circa 1962. No weeds & even the butterflies, honey bees & lady bugs knew it was a no fly zone.

Its design was lacking in scale & flow. Where were the herbs & annuals & perennials & fruits?

This was a perfect Stepford Wife vegetable garden.

Garden & Be Well, XO Tara Dillard

Any real gardener would spot that plot as a fake -- too bad, because newbies who might be inspired by the movie to plant a garden will be sorely disappointed that their efforts fall so short!

It's the magic of Hollywood, where watermelons can grow on trees and 8 foot tall blue humanoids exist. Duh.

Of course, it was fake ... but come on, didn't you wish, just for a minute, that the garden was real and it was in your back yard. It's a movie but it still was a pretty garden regardless if it's real or not. Goodness, people, relax.

maybe your garden doesn't look that nice ....it s hard work but today i can go out and look at rows of cauliflower , brocolli ,cabbage , carrots ,a variety of lettuces ,and know i will not go hungry tonight . good luck and happy gardening .and our garden sometimes looks just like that . all organic

Personally I loved both the garden and the house in this movie. I have to confess I've even watched it a few times, just to appreciate the details, i.e. baking, cooking, decor, architecture, and the garden.
I'm currently living without a real garden at the moment - we’re in rented accommodation in Australia - and my green fingers are decidedly twitchy. I'm surviving with potted plants on decking.....so I'll get my gardening fix any way I can.....and besides isn't watching movies a form of escapism?


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