Beyond the Garden Gate

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There’s always room at photographer and farmer Amanda Churchill’s table

Photography and styling by NIKKI KRECICKI

Beyond Amanda Churchill’s garden gate, ducks waddle and dogs lounge in the sunlight. Happy garden roses, anemones, ranunculus and scabiosas turn their faces toward the gardener perusing her raised beds — pruning and fertilizing, enriching their existence with her careful touch.

But in the fall, once seeds are sown and daylight lessens, Churchill, a photographer and owner of botanical farm and duck egg venture Le Cirq on Whitemarsh Island, takes her cues from the earth, trading long days of toiling for a season of rest and homegrown hospitality.

Duck walking on dining table
Screened garden house with dining table

“The fall is the time you start to shift and pay attention to the little things, where you can focus on your relationships and strengthen them. It puts everything into perspective,” Churchill offers. “It’s really my favorite time of year.”

Churchill’s preferred place to take stock of “circus life” — her affectionate name for the bitter and sweet sides of family existence — is in the garden house, seated around the sturdy wooden table for eight, saved for her by her father.

Tablescape with artichokes, fresh eggs and flowers
Woman holding a duck

Scattered with flower arrangements, never so high as to impede conversation, and whimsical groupings of shells and feathers gathered by Churchill’s husband, James, and their daughters, Morgan (18) and Olivia (15), the table is the perfect place to settle in for a fantastic meal.

“We spend so much time being so busy, so I really want dinners to be a time where we slow down and focus on one another, to know what’s happening and meet [our guests] there, to love them there,” Churchill says. “This place is so special; I knew I needed to feed people here. I knew I needed to share it.”


Garden house: Red Cloud Home Solutions
Flowers and eggs: Le Cirq
Food and wine: Provisions
Brass candle holders: The Paris Market

Small wooden board: Thomas Colgrove
Large wooden board: Woven Creative Studios
Pottery: shopSCAD
Sink: Herb Creek Landscape Supply

Find more home renovation and remodeling inspiration in the Fall 2023 HOMES issue.