Saturday, August 18, 2007

Book: 1001 Gardens You Must See Before You Die

At first glance, travel book titles with the "before you die" pitch make me slightly neurotic and frazzled.
But some are excellent fodder for day-trip ideas and armchair adventures in their own merit. And to thumb through 1001 Gardens You Must See Before You Die for even a few minutes sent me back to equilibrium. Remembering what matters. And what needs to be seen and explored.

I quickly looked to see what they said about favorite gardens of mine. Indeed. Spot on. Old Westbury Gardens on Long Island. The Frick Collection Courtyard Gardens in New York City. They even included Central Park.

Then, on to North American (mostly East Coast) gardens that have been on my radar in which to make a pilgrimage. Winterthur Garden in Delaware. Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania. Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C.

Unabashedly, I finally pawed my way right to Mecca. The section on England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Good Lord, why on Earth haven't I been there yet?!? Oh, the things I could do with that weather and a garden staff of, let's say, 10?

I hazily returned to my surroundings - the lone Virginia gardener sipping mint iced tea and relishing in the coolness of our new AC. I remember that I have yet to really explore (record scratches in the distance) Monticello. A mere 25 minutes away. And, not on the list - but nearby in Richmond - Maymont.

This book is broken down by continent - with stunning photos and a synopsis of what to expect. Including quick facts on designers, garden style and acreage. I took my copy out of the local library, but this is definitely going on the wish list for my garden reference library. A-hem. Anyone listening? Anyone?

7 comments:

That Girl . . . said...

A wonderful book recommendation! I can't wait to check it out as well. Like you I scratch my head in wonderment that I haven't visited UK gardens....someday soon!

Pam/Digging said...

I'll look for that book too. Offhand, do you remember whether any recommended gardens are located in the Texas/southwest area? Perhaps not, if the author's taste is strictly lush England/New England style . . .

Tracey said...

I'm so glad you ladies like the recommendation! I have been completely, happily sucked in . . .

Pam - They recommend two gardens in Texas - Peckerwood in Hempstead and Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Pam/Digging said...

Thanks for the Texas garden info. I'm glad the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center made the cut. It's an inspiration I return to again and again.

Peckerwood's praises have been sung by Tom Spencer at Soul of the Garden, and it's on my list of gardens to visit. Unfortunately, it's only open to the public a couple of times a year, and children younger than 12 (I think that's the cutoff) are not allowed---for the plants' protection, they say. Hmmm. Well, that's made it very difficult for this mom to make the day trip to see it. Maybe in a few years when the kids are "old enough" to look at the plants, I'll go.

Lonnie said...

Yeah, I've lived here my whole life and haven't been further than the parking lot of Monticello since elementary school. I do go to the historic plant center all the time though, since they've got great stuff you just can't find elsewhere.

This year they even had the native (and fragrant) Carolina rose! It's not an easy plant to find, even at most native nurseries.

Steph said...

Okay, just another shameless ploy to get you to visit me - I am only a short drive (okay, an hour and a half) from Longwood Gardens.

peter hoh said...

One garden from the book, The Wallace Gardens, in Minnesota, were just featured on a local TV show.

Here's the link to the video.
http://kstp.com/article/stories/S213035.shtml?cat=1&v=1