Since beginning our blog I have been told by my social media savvy daughter (several times) that blog posts aren’t supposed to be essays- “Dad, nobody has time to read all that stuff. Blogs should be, like, Top Ten lists.” Well, it seems that every time I sit down to write a short post, a page or two later I think “well, there it is again- another long essay.”

 

Given our recent “Essays” on a few of our favorite gardens, this post will be our first “List”- a list of more of our favorite gardens; certainly not all the best, since there are many more yet to see. We hope one day you may find yourself strolling the grounds of one of these beautiful and peaceful places.

 

Stourhead Wiltshire, England

Developed in the 1740’s by Sir Henry Hoare as a representation of the Grande Tour, this pictorial English Garden was a temple filled arboretum surrounding a picturesque lake. A few of its many trees from around the world were from the American Colonies.

Stourhead

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Stourhead

 

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens Boothbay, Maine

Just a mere 7 years old this 250 acre Botanical garden takes full advantage of Maine’s fertile soil and lush flora & fauna as its many trails spill down and through the woods to the Maine coast.

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Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

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Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Hidcote Manor Garden Gloucestershire, England

This garden takes one back in time to the romantic gardens of the Arts & Crafts Movement. Floral colors explode among trimmed hedges and rare trees.

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Hidcote Manor Garden

Pavilions at Hidecote, watercolor by Mac White

Boboli Gardens Florence, Italy

Behind the monumental 16th century urban palace of Grand Duke Cosimo I de Medici designed by Architect Giorgio Vasari is the vast renaissance Boboli Garden. Designed around an amphitheater reminiscent of ancient Rome, the gardens are filled with grottoes, fountains and sculpture.

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Boboli Gardens

Boboli Gardens

Parc Monceau Paris, France (8th Arrondissement)

Established by the Duke of Chartres in 1769, this urban park was inspired by Stowe Garden in England, and designed by German landscape architect, Etickhausen and architect, Benard Poyet as an “English Garden” with the intention to “surprise and amaze visitors”. It contains the Pavilion de Chartres, designed by Claude Nicolas Ledoux.

Parc Monceau

Paris

Parc Monceau, watercolor by Michael Imber

Vizcaya Coral Gables, Florida

Designed for International Harvester business magnet, John Deering, this striking classical garden and villa rises from the Florida jungle as a composite of Italian renaissance villas from Deering’s travels.

Vizcaya

Vizcaya

Palazzo Spada Rome, Italy

Not so much a garden as an outdoor room, Borromini designed this outdoor courtyard around Alberti’s Window, a stunning renaissance exercise in perspective.

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Palazzo Spada

Palazzo Spada

The Palacio de Generalife Granada, Spain

This is the Summer Palace of the Emirs that occupied Southern Spain up to 800 AD is the best preserved Persian garden in Europe. Translated “Garden of the architect”, it’s cypress groves, flowers, colonnades, pavilions and extensive waterworks leads one to the ultimate discovery of the Sultan’s Court.

The Palacio de Generalife

The Palacio de Generalife

Casa del Herrera Santa Barbara, California

The George Fox Steedman estate designed by George Washington Smith was a culmination of Smith’s vision of Andalusia in Southern California.

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Casa del Herrera

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens South Africa

Founded in 1853 in the Cape Colony back-dropped by soaring cliffs and washed by the cool winds of the Atlantic, this garden is in the heart of what is known as one the most bio diverse regions of the world.

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Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden

Gramercy Park New York, New York

I had to add this urban oasis, a one block square fenced garden that can only be accessed by a key.

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Gramercy Park

Dumbarton Oaks Washington, D.C.

Designed by Beatrix Farrand in the 1920’s, the original 54 acre wood (now much reduced) and urban garden culminates in its cultivated terraces and beautiful rose gardens.

Dumbarton Oaks

Dumbarton Oaks

Villa Lante Bagnaia, Italy

This early 16th century mannerist villa & garden, attributed to Vignola and built by Cardinal Gianfrancesco Gambara is most famed for it’s twin pavilions (casini) flanking the Fountain dei Lumini (Fountain of the lamps). Gambara would throw lavish parties among the elaborate waterworks, using the fountains to keep his wine at perfect temperature.

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Villa Lante

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Villa Lante

 

The Peterhof St. Petersburg, Russia

The Grand Palace at Peterhof was conceived as the centerpiece of Peter the Great’s “ Russian Versaille”, whose formal gardens, orchards, elaborate fountains and ornament frame the greenscape  along the Great Cascade, connecting this “Capitol of Fountains” to the Gulf of Finland.

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The Peterhof

 

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The Peterhof

Chateau de Courances France

Located along the western edge of the Forest of Founainebleau, the private estate and elaborate water works offer a still garden of mirrors and infinite reflections in its water courses that originally dates from the 1620’s and that have been reinvigorated through the ages since.

Chateau de Courances

Chateau de Courances

fountain at Chateau de Courances

Chateau de Courances

Monticello Charlottesville, Virginia

An early American botanical masterpiece, Jefferson’s Monticello and it’s grounds are both a home, source of food, and laboratory of ornamental plants from around the world.

aerial view of Monticello

Monticello

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Monticello

 

“..No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden.”  – Thomas Jefferson

 

May this be the beginning of many journeys to enchanting places.