Insights • Inspirations • Destinations • Design

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Gardens in Green and White

We've had a reflective week here with the passing of someone close to us, so to counteract that we've spent a lot of time in our garden, where the sight of fresh green shoots and new spring growth (Australia's transitioning from winter to spring) has eased the heartache. (Fertiliser is often just as good for the soul as it is for the soil.) 

Fortunately, our new gardener started work this week, so there was a 'pro' in the house.

Formerly one of Dame Elizabeth Murdoch's gardeners, Geoff is one of the quietest, kindest, most knowledgable plantsmen I've ever met. One of our family may have gone up to Heaven but Heaven has been kind enough to send a replacement. I think Geoff and my mother-in-law would have liked each other.

Here are a few favourite garden places and pieces to offer some some horticultural inspiration for the gardening months ahead. 

{Top 3 images are my own, from my kitchen garden book.}

A beautiful new book for both Paris and garden lovers is Private Gardens of Paris, by Alexandra dArnoux and Bruno Laubadère. It's set to be published in 2015, but Flammarion are considering pushing the pub date forward, so keep an eye out.
Published by Flammarion. {link}

One of Hawaii's most beautiful gardens, Doris Duke's Shangri La.
Have you see the book? It's just as beautiful as the garden.
We're considering spending this Christmas in Hawaii to have a rest from a busy year, and this magnificent place is definitely on the To See List. 
(A lovely reader recommended it, and I'm so grateful to her.)

This is one of Paris's most beautiful florists.  It was called Saint-Pères Fleurs, but now seems to be called La Boutique des Saint-Pères. It looks like the luxurious salon of a grand old home, only one filled with vases and blooms. I believe it's been renovated, so if the images you find on Google aren't inspiring, don't worry – it's remarkable in real life.
14 rue des Saints-Pères, Paris.

Ralph Lauren's restaurant, Ralph, in Paris, is one of the prettiest restaurants in Paris for garden lovers. 
It's been so successful that Ralph is opening a New York offshoot (sorry for the pun) on the Upper East Side later this year.
173 boulevard Saint-Germain, Paris, 75006.

Another lovely Parisian hideaway for horticulture followers, the Hotel de l'Abbaye is tucked behind glamorous iron gates and a charming front courtyard. Its rear garden and terrace are wonderful for breakfasts and a relaxing wine at the end of the day.
10 rue Cassette, Paris, 75006.

If you can't afford a plush Parisian hotel, try a garden apartment. This one, available through the wonderful apartment rental site, One Fine Stay, has its own lush, private oasis in the middle of Paris, reached by walking through the apartment's charming conservatory. It's called Rue Lhomond, and it's in the Latin Quarter, a neighbourhood that's currently going through a revival.

I adore this quirky garden architecture store. It's part of the famous flea market in the village of L'isle sur la Sorgue in Provence, and is near the main parking area in the centre of town. (I'm not sure of the address and it doesn't matter because, like many French places, the store may move around anyway.) Just look for all the rusty-but-still-glamorous greenhouses lined up in a dignified row. You can't miss them.

Don't you love this new silk square by Hermès? 
It's based on the illustration for  Hermès' perfume Un Jardin Sur Le Toit ('A Garden on the Roof').
So simple. So beautiful.

Spotted this image on Instagram recently via Ben Pentreath's Insta posts (another garden lover). It was posted by Soane Britain and is an image of the absolutely gorgeous orangery at the Horniman Museum in London. (There are more amazing pix on Google.)
100 London Road, London.

Vita Sackville West's famous 'White Garden' at Sissinghurst launched a thousand white imitators. Even after all these years, Vita's is still one of the most magnificent.
{This was photographed in June this year, when it was truly glorious.}
Biddenden Rd, Cranbrook, Kent.

If you haven't seen Villandry, then try to see it next time you visit France. It's one of the most majestic gardens in the world. This is the topiary garden, but the estate has several gardens, including a delightful parterre and the spectacular ornamental potager – made entirely of vegetables (pictured at the top of the post). My parents and I once flew to France to do our own private garden tour and my father confessed that this garden was worth flying across the world for.
3 rue Principale, Villandry.

And finally, this was one of the most exquisite gardens I saw at Chelsea Flower Show while living in London in the 1990s. It's the Chanel Garden by Karl Lagerfeld and Tom Stuart Smith. It was, at the time, the most expensive garden ever produced for the Chelsea Flower Show, at a cost of 1 million pounds. There's a great article about it here – Link.

{All images my own, excluding One Fine Stay, Shangri La and Hornman Museum, which are from their websites and are properly credited. 
If you use or repost my images, please credit me out of courtesy.}


  1. I'm sorry to hear about your loss, Janelle. It sounds like you're finding some peace and healing in the beautiful world of gardens--I hope so. As usual, lots of lovely images here, making me want to visit all those places.

    1. That's so kind of you to say Kathy. I'll pass those lovely wishes on. Yes, we love gardens in our house – perhaps too much, considering how expensive they are to maintain! Hugs to you for sending such lovely thoughts.

  2. Le Jardin magnifique ' - Shell A Darlings Nest

  3. Janelle
    Sorry to hear about your loss. i do hope the gardening helps you through this time.
    I love the first photo, where the ivy looks like it's shaped like a heart around that beautiful window.
    thanks for the images... gorgeous as always.

    1. Yes, that garden is just glorious Catherine. It's almost a spiritual garden, that one (Prieure d'Orsan, in France). Thank you for your kind comments. Hugs to you and all the readers.

  4. Im so glad you've found solace in your garden, nature is very soothing. All those Romantic poets can't be wrong

    I'll email you later today

    1. Received your lovely email Stephanie – thank you so much. Will pass your kind thoughts on, and send an email in return. So nice to hear from you, as always.

  5. So sorry to hear about your loss Janelle, gardens are indeed soothing for the soul. Hope you find some peace in yours.

    1. It was more to keep my partner busy so he didn't dwell on things Heidi! Poor man. I sent him to work making and painting timber obelisks, and carting mulch. (I was also behind a wheelbarrow – so great for fitness going up and down our hills.) We had to keep up with Geoff though – he's possibly the fastest gardener I've ever met!

  6. So sorry for your loss. I hope you and your partner can take solace in happy memories. Thanks for fantastic posts even in your time of sadness.

    1. That's really nice of you to say. Thanks for writing such a lovely comment.

  7. Sorry to read of your loss Janelle.
    I will keep an eye out for the Flammarion book. Have you ever visited the Garden of Ninfa in the Lazio region of Italy? (not that far from Rome, maybe 50 miles?) You would love it. xxSP

  8. Ninfa is on our 'Gardens To See List', Slim, alongside La Foce. Would also love to see some of those incredible gardens you saw in Marrakech and Sri Lanka. SO many gardens to see, so little time (and money!). xJ


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