Friday, September 4, 2009

Seven favorite gardens

Here are seven gardens I love:

Photo by Andrew Dunn

The garden of the Generalife at the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. First, last and always, it is my ultimate garden. In a college art history class the slide of this garden enchanted me. Two decades later I finally made the trip and on a day in May I stood at this spot, alone and transfixed. As soon as you finish reading this post, buy a ticket to Spain!

Photo by Uris

The eight tiny Pavilion Gardens at the University of Virginia are enclosed by brick serpentine walls and flank the main quadrangle. Yes, Thomas Jefferson designed them, along with the rest of the place. In 1976 the American Institute of Architects, in a bicentennial mood, named the University of Virginia "the proudest achievement in American architecture in the past 200 years". Nice going, TJ. I have happy memories of hosting a birthday/croquet party in this Pavilion Garden.

Photo by Luu

I fell for Keukenhof Park in the Netherlands one spring when I was a teenager. So don't make fun of me!

Photo by Daderot

The Arboretum at Stanford University in California. Take a deep breath--can you smell the eucalyptus? The Stanfords planted exotic trees along with the native live oaks here, and it's a wild area that's a buffer between the campus and the town of Palo Alto.

Photo by Daderot

The University of California at Davis is near Sacramento, in the Central Valley. The Arboretum has walking paths on either side of a long creek, punctuated by foot bridges in a variety of styles. This particular bridge is a bit humdrum, but the stroll is delightful in all seasons, for humans and dogs.

Photo by Epibase

Moving on to gardens I have visited only in my imagination, we find ourselves in an herbaceous border at Mottisfont Abbey, Hampshire, England. The rose section is said to be superb. Someday I'll find out.

Photo by Epibase

Sissinghurst Castle, Kent, England. Vita Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicolson created these gardens, and Vita wrote her garden columns in that big tower. If you've read Orlando by Virginia Woolf you've met Vita as the inspiration for the title character.

How did you get dragged by the hair on this garden tour? Blame Susan at Blue Planet Gardening, who tagged me. Her blog and site are Action Central for low-water gardening info; no additional charge for her quick wit.

I raise my muddy dandelion fork and tap seven more bloggers, bidding them to:

• Link back to the person who gave you the award.
• Reveal seven things about yourself.
• Choose seven other blogs to nominate, and post a link to them.
• Let each of your choices know that they have been tagged by posting a comment on their blog.
• Notify your tagger that the post is up.

Take your own international garden tour and meet these seven outstanding bloggers:

  • Shirl at Shirl's Gardenwatch in Scotland. Notes on her own and other Scottish gardens, and backyard hedgehog videos too.

  • Emily at Emily's Garden in southern England for photos and reports on her extensive, beautiful garden.

  • Fern at Life on the Balcony in southern California. She knows all about container gardening, and designs for both commercial and residential spaces. Big on Twitter, if you want to see how that's done.

  • Gen at North Coast Gardening in California near the Oregon border. She's a gardening pro, with an especially well-designed blog. Makes her own how-to videos and is a rising national star.

  • Maranta at Callus and Chlorophyll in Seattle is another gardening pro, who ruminates all day as he digs and prunes, and types out the goods on his clients at night. I call him the Thomas Pynchon of garden bloggers. No post of mine is complete without his clever comment.

  • David in Missoula, at Montana Wildlife Gardener, is a biologist who has created an exceptional garden in town, while making few demands on the environment. He's a gold mine of information and is always a pleasure to read.

  • Back on the East Coast, head for the Pittsburgh suburbs to read Burbs and the Bees by Beegirl. A fun, new blog about being as country as possible on the edge of the city.

As with all lists, it's hard to have to choose. See my blogroll for other excellent blogs, sorted by geography.

To leave a comment, click on the word COMMENTS below


Bay Area Tendrils Garden Travel said...

Glad to see you've joined in the Mememememe festivities!

What's more interesting than the 'me' in meme?

The me and the me and the me and the me.... well you get the picture! Our covey of bloggers (like charming quails) sharing bits and pieces of our behind-the-scenes lives with each other.
You know, DP, you're surely one of my favs!

Daffodil Planter said...

Alice, I thought of you and our shared penchant for Spanish gardens as I was writing this post. Love the quail image!

susan morrison (garden chick) said...

Wow, you have been to some amazing gardens! The Generalife is on my must-see list, but unlike you, I haven't made it there yet.

I love borrowing design philosophies from classic, timeless gardens - plus, mentioning them is a great way to browbeat clients. All I have to do is bark something like "If it was good enough for Versailles, then it should be good enough for you!" and they fall right in line.

Sunita said...

I think I'm in love with the Keukenhofgardens too, and I'm definitely not a teenager! All those masses of non-tropical flowers make my heart skip a beat.
And, oh yes, I would make a trip to Spain just to see that garden. It's stunning!

Daffodil Planter said...

Susan, So if someone complains about my home garden I should just say, "But I copied that from Giverny"?

Welcome Sunita! I have added you to the blogroll. Nice to know we like the same things!

Helen Yoest @ Gardening With Confidence said...

What a great tour. I have not been to any of them, but want to go to them all. When I first looked at the photo of Mottisfont, I thought it was the perennial border at the JC Raulston Arboretum. H.

Daffodil Planter said...

Helen, So glad you enjoyed the gardens! I have a lot of kin in Raleigh, NC and on our next trip will be sure to go to the Raulston Arboretum. I hate to be missing the GWA meeting there this month :-(

Anonymous said...

I wish I could say I've visited that many public gardens in my lifetime. All beautiful examples!

Daffodil Planter said...

Perennial Gardener, Thank you for your kind words. I wish I could go to England for a month to garden tour....

Genevieve said...

Why Daff, you are too sweet!!! With a tagging like that, how can I refuse?

My favorite of your garden tour is the arboretum at UC Davis - and thank goodness, too, as I have a hope of visiting someday. I just love the look of the shining water, ducks, with bridge and trees in the backdrop! I wonder if one can rent a paddle boat there...

Daffodil Planter said...

Gen, The map of the Davis arboretum shows a creekside building with the seductive moniker "boathouse". I'm afraid that is for hearty undergraduates who row, but we can keep our fingers crossed.

Heather said...

All look like lovely places to see! I am so going on a garden tour (or many) when I am able to take some trips again. The one in SPain may be first on my list! Thanks for sharing~

Sarah said...

oh my, I went to the Alhambra on a college trip to Spain, before I was that interested in gardening. I was absolutely blown away by that place, it really is truely amazing. What is even more amazing to me is that people got to live there!!! I would love to go back as an gardening adult....

Daffodil Planter said...

Heather, I think the tricky part about garden tours is that so many tourable gardens are at their best in spring--and who wants to leave her own garden then? Alice at Bay Area Tendrils writes very well about gardens all over Spain. Maybe she can lead us someday.

Sarah, I was there in pre-gardening days too, and was knocked out. I think they should require the tourists to wear plain robes though, so they don't interfere with the aesthetic! I was so fortunate to have some time alone in the Generalife.

VW said...

I haven't visited any of those gardens, but I enjoyed the photos. They are such different styles, but all beautiful.

Daffodil Planter said...

VW, Yes, very different, and not all to everyone's taste. Some snort at Keukenhof Park, but it's an eyeful for lovers of spring bulbs.

Genevieve said...

Allrighty, Seven Things is live!!!

Daffodil Planter said...

Gen, Some of these Seven Articles are brand new to me, looking forward to reading them. Thanks so much for including me!