In Texas at least, spring is here. Flowers dot paths and fields, bursts of color that signal spring. The days are longer and full of light. The front door of our office, only steps away from our desks, beckons wandering and dreams of gardens near and far. A while back we put together a list of some of our favorite gardens, and in honor of springtime, here it is again for your inspiration.
These are only a few of our favorite gardens; certainly not all the best, since there are many more and many yet to see. We hope one day you may find yourself strolling the grounds 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”, its cypress groves, flowers, colonnades, pavilions and extensive waterworks leads one to the ultimate discovery of the Sultan’s Court.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Villa Lante Bagnaia, Italy
This early 16th century mannerist villa & garden, attributed to Vignola and built by Cardinal Gianfrancesco Gambara is most famed for its 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.
The Peterhof St. Petersburg, Russia
The Grand Palace at Peterhof was conceived as the centerpiece of Peter the Great’s “ Russian Versailles”, 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.
Chateau de Courances France
Located along the western edge of the Forest of Fontainebleau, the private estate and elaborate waterworks offer a still garden of mirrors and infinite reflections in its water courses that originally date from the 1620’s and that have been reinvigorated through the ages since.
Monticello Charlottesville, Virginia
An early American botanical masterpiece, Jefferson’s Monticello and its grounds are both a home, source of food, and laboratory of ornamental plants from around the world.
“..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.