July 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.