The homemaking goddess told CNN she then decided to change into a bathing suit and go for a swim in her chlorine-free pool. When she was about to get out, she was struck by the view of her lush yard, so she opened the camera on her phone to take a few pictures, she said.
Instead, the internet got a treat.
“Well, I had just had a very dear friend over for lunch and then I took a long swim and I was getting out of the pool. I was trying to take pictures of my gardens out there. And then the camera automatically went to, you know, selfie mode. I don’t know why,” Stewart said in an interview Thursday. “And I looked at it and I looked so nice because of the sun streaming down. So I snapped the picture and I sent it to the internet.”
The photo is currently trending on Twitter and has almost 10,000 likes on Instagram.
She said she had no idea it would solicit so much reaction.
“No, I don’t post to cause a stir,” Stewart said. “I post to treat my audience.”
She’d been in quarantine with McAllister, her driver, Carlos, and her housekeeper, Elvira, for over four months when Stewart said she came up an idea for an HGTV show about gardening and farming amid the pandemic. She’s since filmed six episodes in the past month.
With the help of two cameramen, drones she already had on the property for overheard shots and McAllister as her sidekick and helper, “Martha Knows Best” will debut later this month.
“I said, you know, HGTV would be an interesting place because I’m very hands-on and very do-it-yourself at this farm that I live on,” Stewart said. “They came back with a proposal for an organizing and a sort of DIY show … [We teamed] with Big Fish, which is a very good producer, to do ‘Martha Knows Best.’ I talked to them at length and we came up with the first batch of gardening shows because I’ve been trying to do a gardening show for years.”
In one segment previewed by CNN, unsuspecting amateur gardeners get advice from Stewart over Facetime. Throughout the series, some of Stewart’s celebrity friends, including Snoop Dogg, Jay Leno, Lupita Nyong’o and Hailey Baldwin make virtual visits.
Stewart said she spends most of her time — from 7 A.M. to sunset — working on her farm, but the show is tailored toward home gardeners.
“What I’m trying to do is show the practical, doing things that everybody can do, no matter how big or small your property is and establishing good gardening practices,” she said. “It’s a very practical show and people will really understand how to make things.”
Stewart said she cooks for the people who are staying in her home at the end of each day, using mostly food from her garden.
“I do all the cooking. I try to make something very delicious every night,” she said.
She also loves to wind down with a homemade cocktail, also using whatever she’s inspired by in her gardens.
“I love to make mixed drinks and I like really tasty, fresh drinks, like the strawberry margarita, my ‘Martharitas’ are delicious, but I just made a whole batch of strawberry jam and I had fresh strawberry syrup. So it was perfect,” she said. “I grow my own citrus, we haven’t even gotten to growing your own citrus. You know, you go outside and you just pick your own lemons, limes and you make something good.”
Stewart makes it all sound glorious and simple and so what I should be doing in quarantine. The point, she said, is to help people be creative without dumbing it down.
“I cannot bear to dumb stuff down,” she said.
“Martha Knows Best” premieres on July 31 on HGTV.