Out of the Desert into the Garden

The Alhambra & Generalife Gardens               Granada, Andalusia, Spain

The Alhambra, in Granada, Spain looms large in the history of gardens.  Monty Don, host of the British program, Gardener’s World, says “the Islamic mind changed the way the whole of Europe gardens” and the evidence bears this out the more I learn about the Islamic paradise garden....   Continue Reading

Jardin Exotic, Monte Carlo, Monaco

Some of the best views in the world are from a garden.

If you find yourself in Monte Carlo and you don’t expect to win enough at the famed Beaux Arts Casino to shop for a Rolls Royce while you are there, I have the perfect adventure for you.  Take the #2 city bus up the mountain to the end of the line to the La Jardin Exotic Botanical Garden. Hanging off a promontory point, nearly 500’ above the bustling tourist sites down by the harbor, this garden will give you spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea, and the bay filled with yachts and sailboats.  Gazing afar you can see Italy. Looking below, you see the lavishly landscaped rooftop gardens of the surrounding high-rise buildings....   Continue Reading

Finding Gardeners in The Mediterranean Cities of Venice, Athens, & Barcelona

Living in the wide open southwest I’m used to lots of space, wide streets and a spacious patch of earth to grow flowers, vegetables, and trees. Traveling this summer in Mediterranean cities I found an entirely different spatial atmosphere. ...   Continue Reading

Sundials, Time in a garden

Time in a garden is my favorite way to enjoy the day. Yet how do I know how many hours have flown by as I continue wandering down the garden path? Happily, I discover a sundial, often surrounded by herbs, centered as a focal point in a sunny patch of the garden. I’ve always checked the time on a sundial. Just looking at one makes me think my garden isn’t complete without a sundial....   Continue Reading

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Fellow garden lover Curtis Siller recently traveled to Minneapolis and while there visited Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and he offers this visit.

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum (MLA), in Chaska, recently won top spot in the “Best Botanical Garden in the United States” contest by USA Today. MLA covers more than 1,200 acres of gardens, woods and prairies, showcasing over 5,000 plant species. It displays flowering shrubs, trees and plants, interspersed with sculpture,places for meditation and reflection, and special exhibitions. An adjoining building contains a horticultural library and conservatory....   Continue Reading

Lauritzen Gardens, A Heartland Splendor

I’ve traveled cross-country from Arizona to Indiana and back multiple times over the years and each time the goal is to find a different way to explore. If your travels find you driving through the heart of this country, Powell Gardens or Wichita in Kansas are excellent stops. In Illinois, Allerton Park or the Champaign Prairie Walk are great for stretching your legs. If you take a southern route don’t miss both the Dallas and & Ft. Worth Gardens in Texas, or in Missouri the Botanical Garden in St. Louis. However, I would propose there is no prettier mid-point stop in a drive across the continental US than Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha Nebraska.  Located along the Missouri River where the soil is rich and fertile, gardeners have worked magic in 20 thematic spaces....   Continue Reading

Art Deco Landscape in Gardens of Napier, NZ North Island

Napier, NZ is a remarkable cityscape of Art Deco architecture. As beautiful as it is, its very existence is the result of a great destructive tragedy. In 1931, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake lasting 1:31 minutes demolished the city, rearranged the sea coast and forever changed the topography of the area. During our seven week visit to New Zealand, we experienced a brief 10-second rock and roll aftershock of the devastating Akaroa earthquake in 2016. I found it a sobering glimpse of what an earthquake means to a community.  For Napier in 1931, the added economic weight of the Great Depression would seem to dash any hope the town could rebuild itself. Commercial buildings and homes all needed to be rebuilt. But within two years Napier did rise from its destruction and as a result built a modern, artful city....   Continue Reading