Category Archives: Gardens

English Country Homes: ’16th Century Chocolate Box’ In Bedfordshire

This lovely house — Grade II-listed — was built four centuries ago, when (no doubt) all around was rolling fields and endless Bedfordshire skies. Today, it’s a couple of hundred yards up a country lane, that comes straight off the main A505 heading from Hitchin to Luton, with a large cemetery just along the road.

So not quite a countryside idyll, then, but at least you know the neighbours will be dead quiet.

Balancing the house and the location is always part of the fun with any property, of course. And if you’re after a place truly in the country, then a thatched cottage such as this one at the other end of the county — a delightful two-bedroom beauty at £435,000 — is really in the middle of nowhere.

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English Country Homes: ‘Adshead Park’ – 136 Acres In The West Berkshires

…Adshead Park, a striking Arts-and-Crafts-style country house set in 136 acres of formal gardens, woods and farmland in the hills above the west Berkshire village of Lower Basildon, three miles from Pangbourne and eight miles from Reading.

Adshead was the realisation of a dream for its owner, the charismatic businessman Sir John Madejski, whose ability to see ‘the bigger picture’ led to the foundation of a diverse business empire. It started with the motor classifieds magazine Auto Trader —launched with £2,000 in the 1970s and sold for £260 million in 1998 — but went on to span publishing, hotels, restaurants, radio, a top flight football team (Reading FC) and property.

Dealing with business is one thing; dealing with planning applications is another matter entirely, and it took all of Sir John’s legendary skills to negotiate the labyrinthine process required to build a new country house on virgin farmland in one of the most heavily protected areas of the Home Counties.

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Artwork: Claude Monet’s ‘Japanese Footbridge And Water Lily Pool, Giverny’

Often called the Father of Impressionism, Claude Monet inspired the term that defined this movement. Born in Paris, Monet would later live in Giverny, where he purchased a property, planted sprawling gardens, and painted his famous water lilies. https://www.philamuseum.org/collectio…

Architecture Books: ‘The Conservatory – Gardens Under Glass’ (Princeton)

Through evocative archival and contemporary photographs, drawings of landmark structures, and graceful, accessible text, The Conservatory  celebrates the patrons and designers who advanced the technology and architectural majesty of these light-filled structures. The importance of conservatories continues to grow with efforts to conserve phenomenal plants and their environments.

Elegant and magnificent, conservatories reveal fascinating social, cultural, botanical, and engineering advances as they have evolved across history. First appearing in the eighteenth century as simple structures designed to protect fruit trees and other delicate plants from harsh European winters, conservatories became grand glass houses that spread across the European continent, to the Americas, and ultimately around the world.

Alan Stein is President and Director of Architecture at Tanglewood Conservatories, Ltd., founded in 1993 with his wife and business partner, Nancy Virts. The company’s mission is to conceive and build the finest classical and modern glass conservatories. Tanglewood’s work has been published in Architectural Digest, Garden Design Magazine, The New York Times, Town & County and other periodicals around the world. Alan studied design at the California College of Art and graduated from the University of Maryland with a professional degree in architecture. He lives in Maryland.

Nancy Virts is cofounder of Tanglewood Conservatories, Ltd., with her husband and business partner, Alan Stein. The company conceives and builds the finest classical and modern glass conservatories. Tanglewood’s work has been published in Architectural Digest, Garden Design magazine, the New York Times, Town & Country, and other periodicals around the world.

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New Photography Books: ‘A Voice Above The Linn’ By Robbie Lawrence (2020)

In ‘A Voice Above The Linn’ Lawrence collaborated with the renowned poet John Burnside, who contributed four beautiful new poems to segment its chapters. 

In 2016 Robbie Lawrence first travelled to a remote stretch of coastline in the west coast of Scotland, to Linn Gardens, which lies at the head of Cove Bay on the west side of Rosneath peninsula. The gardens had been run for fifty years by Jim Taggart, an avid botanist and gardener. 

Jim discovered that the region’s subtropical climate allowed him to grow plants and flowers from all over the world. His endeavours led to the estate being covered in an intricately plotted web of ferns, bamboos, Magnolias and Rhododendrons. As Jim got older, his son Jamie took over the more physical elements of maintaining the garden, including travelling abroad to research and gather new plants. On one such journey, to the northern mountainous region of Vietnam, Jamie disappeared. His body was found years later, he had evidently fallen in one of the mountain’s higher passes.  

When I first met Jim, who by this point was well into his 80s, he told me that he decided to keep the garden going as a memorial to his son. Over the past few years, I went back to visit Jim and document the garden as it passed through the seasons. Despite his age, Jim would bound around the garden, occasionally stopping to provide a lengthy anecdote about a particular fern or tree. Last summer, Jim passed away at the age of 84.” – Robbie Lawrence 

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Italian Gardens: ‘Giardino Giusti in Verona’ and ‘Villa Fracanzan Piovene’ near Vicenza – “Shakespearean”

Giardino Giusti in Verona and Villa Fracanzan Piovene: The centuries-old Italian gardens that evoke the romance of Romeo and Juliet.

November 7, 2020

The name Giusti has been synonymous with one of Italy’s most celebrated Renaissance gardens since the late 16th century. Originally wool-dyers from Prato in Tuscany, the Giusti family had moved its business north in the previous century, settling in an unglamorous industrial suburb of Verona. Within a few generations, its members were rich and had also acquired the requisite antiquarian and artistic tastes of true Renaissance gentlefolk.

The garden created by Agostino Giusti between 1565 and 1580 was intended to fulfil various functions. It had to showcase his collection of Roman inscriptions and to serve as a setting for the lavish theatrical and musical productions—the predecessors of opera—then in vogue. To this day, the garden retains the surprise element of a stage set, presenting a magnificent and entertaining spectacle that totally confounds one’s expectations of a city garden.

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Travel Tours: ‘Bodnant Garden, England’ (Video)

Bodnant Garden’s secluded corners, leafy glades and famous Laburnum Arch made it a magical setting for the new movie adaptation of The Secret Garden, a Sky Original, in cinemas and on Sky Cinema 23 October. While the site in Conwy, Wales, is currently only open to local residents because of lockdown restrictions, you can join us on a video tour to visit the filming locations, an arboretum bursting with autumn colour, unmissable views, and much more.

Home Tours: ‘The Garden House’ In Southwell, Nottinghamshire, UK

Set within the grounds of a Georgian walled-garden, this superb seven-bedroom house has been joyfully designed around the exceptional architectural landscaping. The internal living space spans over 4,580 sq ft across multiple levels, arranged in a playful layout of floating mezzanines, balconies, and a double-height winter garden.

Designed with high energy efficiency in mind The Garden House has outstanding solar collection, heat recovery and rainwater harvesting and is partially earth-sheltered to conserve its heat and energy.

The Garden House is approached via a quiet country lane, leading to a secluded entrance, revealing little of the house from the walled courtyard. A private driveway leads to a sheltered car port available for several vehicles to park adjacently to the house. There is also a log store, outside store room and a smaller front courtyard garden.

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New Books: ‘Reflections of Paradise: The Gardens of Fernando Caruncho’

The much-anticipated comprehensive survey of one of the world’s most acclaimed landscape garden designers, famous for his extraordinarily sophisticated use of light and geometry in nature.

Spanish landscape designer Fernando Caruncho has spent over four decades impressing the world with his breathtaking garden designs, which create a perfect union of architectural design within nature. His sources of inspiration are as diverse as Islamic design, Zen Buddhism, and European Classicism, and the control of light, geometrical scale, and use of local materials are key principles of his design approach.

In this book, Caruncho personally curates a selection of twenty-six of his international garden projects ranging from private residences to large agricultural estates and public spaces, including a vineyard in Italy, a private garden in Biarritz, France, and an expansive estate in New Jersey. Caruncho gives readers a glimpse at his creative thought process through inspirational images, ephemera, and selections from his sketches.

About The Author

Fernando Caruncho has been designing gardens for over four decades, but his background is in philosophy. His fascination with pre-Socratic Greek philosophy awakened a deep curiosity about the relationship between man and the natural world, which translated itself into a preoccupation with garden design. In 1979 Caruncho established his own landscape design studio. His first work, accomplished at the age of 21, was a house in Madrid featured in Vogue Decoration. Since then, Caruncho Studio has designed countless high-profile gardens across the globe, ranging from private homes and expansive agricultural estates to public spaces. His work is frequently featured in high-profile publications such as Architectural DigestVogue, the New York TimesElle Decor, and W magazine. Gordon Taylor is a renowned landscape architect and writer. He has written numerous articles and books on herbs, gardens, and garden history.

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Cities & Nature Video: The “Alotment Gardens” Of Copenhagen, Denmark

The concept of kolonihave, a blissful combination of an allotment and a summer house, has shaped Danish cities since the late 17th century. Today, avid growers convene in these colonies to find a peaceful place to commune with nature as well as a community of diverse characters.