Nemours Mansion and Gardens is Alfred duPont’s tribute to his family’s French Heritage. In 1909 he built a 102 room mansion in the late-18th-century French style. The mansion is said to be based upon “Marie Antoinette’s Petit Trianon at the Chateau de Versailles.” I toured the mansion and it was lavish and lovely. The garden surrounding the house is said to be the largest formal French garden in North America. It is grand, symmetrical and designed to impress.
The July heat storms in and drives me inside. Putting away my gardening gloves it is time to engage in some fantasy gardening. I imagine a garden where the plants stay in optimum health; the blooms unfold in predictable order of color and quality assured by a perfect feeding schedule and ideal watering. Such a garden is always orderly, where any storm damage is minimized and cleared promptly by industrious garden gnomes. Yes, a fantasy I realize and yet since children may escape the day-to-day world by visiting a magic kingdom why can’t a gardener escape to a magic garden?
WritingsJuly 2009 was the all time hottest month on record in Phoenix! Nearly everything in my garden was wilting. Any gardener venturing out was wilting as well. So I needed a little fantasy gardening. I allow myself to fantasize about a perfect garden, where the plants stay in optimum health, where blooms unfold in predictable order of color, and quality is assured by a perfect feeding schedule and ideal watering. A garden always orderly, where any storm damage is minimized and cleared promptly (generally assisted by a legion of gardeners). Yes, a fantasy I realize and yet since children may escape the day to day world by visiting a magic kingdom, why can’t a gardener escape to a magic garden?
George Washington Vanderbilt’s Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina is the ultimate fantasy garden complete with an enormous castle! Fredrick Law Olmsted, considered the father of American Landscape, designed the gardens and worked throughout the original 400,000 acres in 1895. The magnificent home today open to the public now occupies 8000 acres and the remaining grounds are a gardener’s delight.