Gardens at Hever Castle, Kent, UK. Ann Boleyns childhood home.Shipmates, last year my wife said to me excitedly, "Look at this European Garden Tour, it's very expensive but I really, really, really want to go on this, and... and... and..." My emphatic answer was:
" No, I have a much better holiday idea that you will love, trust me on this one. If we are going to fly to the other side of the globe it would be great to go sailing on the Norfolk Broads, the Solent, the East Coast area centered around the River Crouch, the Western Isles of Scotland, the Scilly Isles and that's just the UK .... and you will just love visiting as many Maritime Museums stuffed full of historical boats and yachting artifacts as is possible in the time available .... and anyway I really don't like those 'Tour' thingies."
So we went on a European Garden Tour..................... and I really enjoyed it. In fact I was mesmerized by the beauty of the gardens we visited so much that some of this new appreciation spilled over into our own garden when we returned to New Zealand. (Actually calling its former state a garden is a bit of a stretch).
Our new revived garden is built around planter boxes, many small and very large pots, some strategic planting around existing trees and shrubs and the replanting of some small garden areas.
I took the photographs (below) in the UK and throughout Europe. This posting concentrates on large planter pots which have provided some inspiration for our own pot plantings in the new garden.
Hidcote Manor, Gloucestershire, UK.
Great Dixter Gardens, Sussex, UK
Sissinghurst , Kent, UK
Chelsea Flower Show 2015, London.
Villa Chigi Cetinale, Italy.
Castello di Celsa. Italy.
Isola Bella, Lake Maggiore, Northern Italy.
Monets Garden, Giverney, France.
Hidcote Manor, the first garden we viewed in England - glorious, beautiful, memorable.
I am very glad that I went specifically on a Garden Tour, because it has woken a part of myself that was hiding somewhere. An intense concentration on a single idea and action (Looking at the beauty of flowers) focused my mind and made me look carefully at a part of the world that I guess I had always dismissed, or passed in a rush. The vast majority of the gardens we visited were impossibly, unspeakably, entrancingly stunning. They shone brightly like the sun. I just gawped in open mouthed wonder at the beauty of it all.