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Showing posts from December, 2010

Happy New Year ... and welcome to Jardins sans Frontiers!

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Happy New Year and let's welcome in 2011 - I'm already planning my garden visits!  But imagine what the gardens would look like if we drained them of their colour .... It would make garden visiting very grey! But never mind you can visit my new blog! And here's a sneak preview ...
Jardins sans Frontiers has gone live today!

Thoughtful Thursday .... just before 2011

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The sun came out briefly today and I was lucky enough to be at the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens in Hampshire, where the winter garden is looking glorious (see above). Hope you all have a wonderful New Year and more in 2011 - thanks for visiting. I'll be launching a new blog in the next few days ... so watch this space ....

Just picture these "P" Gardens!

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I skipped the "N"s because there weren't enough of them to whet your appetite and have moved on to perfect, picturesque and panoramic gardens only to realise that I've never reviewed most of them properly, so need to revisit many of these in the new year. Painshill Park in Surrey is one of those gardens that's hard to forget - a wonderful landscape rather than manicured garden - with dramatic touches like the ruined abbey (above) overlooking one of the lakes that are integral to the landscape. It comes complete with Grotto, Gothic Tower and and Turkish tent, but more of this when I review it properly next year!  You'll find an equally dramatic landscape at Painswick Rococo in Gloucestershire (above) - another exquisitely restored 18th-century landscape garden that I have yet to review, but have marked in the diary for the snowdrops in early 2011. This glorious 10-acre garden in the Cotswolds has a magical and mystical quality to it. It was only rediscovered in…

Magical "M" gardens from Marrakech to Manor Houses

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Majorelle (above) is one of my favourite gardens in the world - this small plot in the middle of Marrakech - former home of the french painter, Jacques Majorelle, who died in a car crash in 1962 - and allowed to fall into a sad state of disrepair before it was lovingly restored by top fashion designer, Yves Saint Laurent, who bought the property in 1980 and re-opened it to the public. Filled with cactus, yucca, bamboo and exotic plants from all over the world, this is a magical oasis that you can't miss! You'll remember the blue paint for the rest of your days - stunning! Marle Place in Kent is a hidden jewel - run by an artist, who has her own gallery there, and with many interesting sculptures in the gardens. Glorious in the spring with all its bulbs; displays of alliums that will take you breath away in June and colour throughout the summer months, this is a plantsman's paradise. A series of garden rooms spread over 10 acres, this garden has been nurtured by the current …

Mellow Yellow ...

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Wordless Wednesday - Holiday Red!

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Love those "L" gardens - lush, luxuriant and luring!

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A long way from London lie a number of wonderful "L" gardens that are really worth making the effort to go and see. Start with Lamorran(above), a glorious hillside garden on the Roseland Peninsula in Cornwall. This garden is quite different to others you will find in the area, because it's Italianate in style, has wonderful views over the water and is filled with interesting sculpture and statuary features. But sadly, not for the feint-hearted or anyone with a walking disability because it is on quite a steep hill and some of the paths are very narrow. Move onto Lytes Cary, which I visited for the first time because I had seen a picture of the entrance to the house (above) and couldn't resist the temptation to go and see it for myself. This is a glorious six-acre Arts and Crafts garden with immaculate topiary and near enough to many other gardens to make it worth while making a special trip to the area so you can enjoy them all (these "other" gardens include…

Fowl Freeze!

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These pictures tell the story of the fowl freeze here in Britain!
If you want to see more pictures of Brighton in the snow, click here ... it looks just the same in this big freeze too ... snow on the beach ... snow everywhere!

Silent Saturday - snow break!

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And this is nothing ... we live in Brighton, on the South Coast. But the rest of the country is in shutdown mode with people stranded at airports and on roads. It's snowing again, so more later ...

"K" Gardens that no Keen Gardener should miss!

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After my trip to Key West last week (which seems like an age ago, thanks to the cold British weather), I'm returning to my alphabet series in the run-up to Christmas, reviewing the best of the gardens beginning with "K" that I've seen in my travels. I'm starting with The Kampong in Coconut Grove, Florida, which definitely ranks as one of my favourites visited this year. This is a beautiful garden and was once the home of Dr David Fairchild (of Fairchild Gardens fame), who planted some magnificent trees during his time here. Few people make it to The Kampong because it does little to publicise itself and has fairly restricted opening hours (check their website here for details), but if you are in the area don't miss it because this is a wonderful garden.
Kew Gardens (also known as the Royal Botanical Gardens) rank as one of the finest botanical gardens in the world, not just because of its sheer size and scale (300 acres), but also because of the diversity of i…

Wordless Wednesday - Look beyond and you will see ...

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Click on the captions to learn more about these gardens. Happy Wednesday!

Secrets and surprises in Key West!

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Key West is certainly full of surprises and while we were there we found a couple of really unexpected places including Nancy Forrester's Secret Garden, the wonderful Butterfly Nature Conservatory and a hotel with a garden to die for! Of course, you might argue that Nancy's Garden is not so secret any more because everyone knows about it, but it's an acre of jungle in one of the highest value real estate belts in the United States, and you'd be forgiven for thinking that you're somewhere other than Key West once you get inside. Nancy Forrester (above) has lived here for many years and this little oasis in the heart of the town is well worth going to see. But be warned, it's not easy to find and there are no signs. So head for Simonton Street and when you get to Free School Lane (between Southard and Fleming) walk down the cul de sac and you'll see painted parrots on a picket fence. Once inside you're treated to a real tropical forest experience  with Nan…

Best of Key West - Hemingway, Audubon and a few cats!

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No visit to Key West would be complete without a visit to Ernest Hemingway's home - to see where the legendary author lived with his famous six-toed cats. Just ninety miles from his other tropical home in Cuba (which I was lucky enough to visit in September) this wonderful villa is surrounded by a lush, tropical garden and is home to some 60 cats, some of which are direct descendants of those owned by Hemingway. The house is now a museum and its only full-time residents are the cats, who are provided for under the terms of Hemingway's will.  I don't suggest you count this as a must see garden - it's certainly green and overflowing with tropical foliage (so is every other garden in Key West, which is part of its great charm) - but it's the house rather than the garden which draws the visitors and I too stood in line to satisfy my curiosity about Ernest Hemingway and the polydactyl cats. Hemingway lived and worked here from 1931-1961 and built the swimming pool - the …