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The Mother and Son Who Garden Together

“Ollie has always had a funny sense of style.” Photo: Bobby Doherty/New York Magazine

Suzanne Pettypiece and Oliver Pettypiece Mandelbaum, Designer, Second-grader

Where are you guys headed?
Suzanne: I just picked Oliver up from White Bird Summer Camp in Prospect Park. They put on a play every Friday — Moby-Dick, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. But they’re very interpretive. Moby-Dick, which they did recently, didn’t even have a whale, I don’t think. Now we’re headed to our garden plot.

What do you plant?
Oliver: Rhubarb. Green beans that were digged out by squirrels. Cucumbers. Peas. My favorite is the cucumbers. Actually, I think my favorite is the rhubarb. As long as they’re with something. Like scones.

Is that how you usually dress for the garden?
Oliver: No. Usually jeans and not stripey socks.

Suzanne: Ollie has always had a funny sense of style, though. When he was really little, we went into an American Apparel and he was drawn to these leopard-print tights, which I hesitantly bought for him. He wore them with a David Bowie shirt and cowboy boots. He pulled it off and got a lot of attention — which he did not like. After that, he avoided anything he thought looked “fancy.”

What are your favorite clothes now?
Oliver: Caps.

Lightning Round

Oliver’s favorite TV show: Phineas and Ferb.
Suzanne’s favorite TV show: The Wire.
Oliver’s reading: “A comic book about Buddha. Called Buddha.
Suzanne’s reading: War Trash, by Ha Jin.
Oliver’s favorite snack: Chocolate-covered almonds, dried cherries, and peanuts with oranges.
Suzanne’s favorite snack: Homemade energy bites.

*This article appears in the June 11, 2018, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!

The Mother and Son Who Garden Together