Happy Memorial Day Weekend!
They say it’s the unofficial beginning of summer.
And that means more time outdoors– sunshine…
And for some– gardens, pools and exquisite gardens.
That is— if one has the land to accommodate all of that.
Alas, I am in an apartment.
And before that, I lived in a Townhouse. We had a postage-stamp-sized piece of land with one tree in the front “yard.” The back “yard” had a not-very-big deck and then a big heavily wooded hill. Everything I stuck in the ground with the hopes of it bearing beautiful blooms–died. Most years, I had some flowers in pots, but that was it.
I have to admit that even if I had a large property, I’m not sure that I would really enjoy gardening that much. I know that some of you do and I admire that.
Maybe it stems from being given the arduous chore of weeding, as a child. I’m not sure.
But what I am sure of is that I adore looking at a beautifully landscaped home and garden. Well, who doesn’t?
A little story.
Years ago in our charming northern Westchester County town, lived a very large, very ugly, new-construction-post-modern home. The home looked sorely out-of-place with the rest of the homes in the area.
It was on our preferred route to another charming town, in the next state (Connecticut) that we would frequently visit. There was a very nice playground that we would take the kids to when they were of that age.
Every time we drove past the ugly home, I would let out a predictably loud UGH!
HIDEOUS HOUSE. JUST HORRID! HOW COULD THEY???
Then, when the boys were passed that age, we stopped going that route.
A few years later, I had a client on that route.
However, I had forgotten about “the house.”
Then, one day, I remembered.
I hadn’t recalled seeing it recently.
Did they level it and start over?
The next time I drove past, I made a point to look at the house and while not my taste, I didn’t totally hate it.
You already know why I’m going to say.
The home was now beautifully landscaped and that had created a far more harmonious composition.
I guess landscaping is to a house what hair and makeup is to a woman!
Today, there will be some landscaping but the focus is on exquisite gardens.
They will range from very simple to elegantly grand and luscious.
I love all different types of gardens, but my favorites have an architectural look and symmetry.
But that doesn’t mean that I don’t also love a more wild English garden.
And while I do love color–sometimes, there is nothing more thrilling IMO than many shades of green, white and chartreuse. And a little blue is always refreshing.
The most important thing is that the garden should enhance the home, both inside and out. (I guess that’s pretty obvious.)
Some of these gardens will have homes attached and some are in a more park-like setting.
Some are European and some are in the US.
Wherever they are… I hope that after viewing this post, that you will feel transported and rejuvenated.
I certainly do.
And with that, please enjoy 20 of the most magical, exquisite gardens and landscaping.
[Please note that many of these images are not credited, because I could not find the original sourced despite my efforts to do so. If you happen to know it, please let me know and I’ll add it in.]
Let’s begin gently with a quiet, tranquil space which once belonged to the incredible interior designer, John Saladino.
Exquisite gardens and architecturally beautiful greenhouse via Mark D Sikes Tumblr
The two images above aren’t quite as clear as I’d like and believe me I looked, but came up dry.
However, I had to include this one because I LURV it; the house too!
White Lilacs! Imagine how wonderful this smells!
Girl About Garden – Laburnum Walk Barnsley House
Arne Maynard – landscape architect
Imagine how delicious that lavender scent is!
It’s raining Wisteria – Magical!
The Sundial Garden at Wollerton Old Hall Garden, Shropshire, photographed early in the morning, in July by Joe Wainright. If you love beautiful gardens, please check out his website. His photography is gorgeous!
Gresgarth Hall and Gardens
Gresgarth Hall Herbaceous border designed by renowned landscape designer Arabella Lennox Boyd
Loi Thai of Tone on Tone’s exquisite white garden –
photographed by Helen Norman for Southern Living Magazine
Okay, I was seduced by that incredible moulding! Wonderful home!
Wonderful landscape designer Elizabeth Everdell
Love me some hydrangeas!
The Divine Property of Furlow Gatewood
Is this for real?
Wowza! Is this also for real? (interesting info in the link about Marella Agnelli if you don’t already know who she is)
Dower House Garden at Morville
And this is my pic of a gorgeous tree just a hundred feet or so from where I live. It’s a black locust at peak bloom. I know, because the next day, there were thousands of petals on the ground. But the sweet smell was intoxicating and then some!
An old English stone home and climbing roses. It really doesn’t get any better than that.
I hope you enjoyed these gardens! Which ones were your favorites?
A couple of important notes before I sign off.
99.999% of you do not have to read this part because it’s not in you to be unkind.
However, I am sad to say that I have had to turn on comment moderation. While I love hearing from you, occasionally, there are one or two who feel that it’s okay to say things in the comments which are designed to malign, embarrass or make me look like I’m a clueless idiot.
I definitely am a clueless idiot at times, but I’m also very sensitive as most of us are. It is absolutely fine if you don’t like me, my writing, my anything. If so, please move on and go about your business. The blog is elective reading.
Thank you for your understanding.
***A final reminder***
There’s a deadline. Monday, the 30th of May at 11:59:59PM, the chance to order the paint collection + get the laurel’s rolodex at a discount will expire. This is only for people who wish to purchase both at the same time. There is no code for this option, you will be asked if you would like to purchase a rolodex at a discount when you go to purchase the paint collection.
Those who already own a rolodex are privy to a special discount code which is also expiring on Monday at 11:59:59PM. If you would like to purchase a paint collection, and no longer have the code, please contact me and I’ll give it to you.
I’m very grateful to all of you. This blog has enriched my life as I hope that it has enriched yours.
Please have a happy, safe holiday weekend!
PS: I’m not done with gardens yet. Please stay tuned for some far more petite and/or city gardens and more container gardens.
I’ve seen a lot of websites through Pinterest (and I have seen a lot over the years) during my home renovation journey (which is, unfortunately, still ongoing) and until today, I never felt compelled to post on someone’s blog about their site. But your blog is different…I am really enjoying your choice of topics, your fun and witty writing style, the beautiful pictures you find and share with your readers, and the extensive knowledge you impart to others.
Your site is truly heads and shoulders above the rest.
Please add me to your subscription list.
I very much appreciate your kind note, Aimee. I’m a little behind the 8-ball getting tonight’s post ready for publication. It would help me a lot if you could fill out either the form at the top of every post, or the form in the side bar, if you’re on a desktop or tablet. Thanks so much!
While browsing on Pinterest tonight I came across your site, so I decided to check it out. I am always trying to think of different ways to plant my garden (which isn’t really that big, but I do enjoy gardening), and I got some great ideas from you. I’m hoping that I will come across your future postings. Beautiful photos.
Thanks so much Marge for stopping by and commenting!
Hi, csn noonger open your articles on my phone…. I gave tapped everything and I see the title, the picture and then the comments below but the actual article won’t open. Which is too bad as my guilty pleasure is reading your blog in bed while DH makes the coffee (a domestic battle worth with being every time).
My phone is working fine. (Iphone 5s) Maybe try rebooting your phone? Not saying the problem is on your end, but haven’t gotten any other reports of missing content on any devices other than yours. Thanks for letting me know.
Sadly my iphone, too – I was able to read your latest post, but not any of the older ones.
YIKES! Times a hundred! And I only slept two hours last night. But I put in an emergency support ticket to the powers that be in that department.
It’s only on cellular. Everything else is fine and nothing has changed recently. How freaky! Thanks for letting me know Cathlin.
🙁 I noticed this yesterday evening, not sure if it was occurring before that- I don’t remember when in the last few days I read an older post.
It works fine on my iPad and macbook, so it’s just my iPhone, and I don’t have any adblocker running or stuff like that.
No, it’s not just you. Actually I sent you an email but I keep forgetting the deal. I get emails of all comments from WORDPRESS, but there’s no such person. LOL so when I hit send it bounces back. Silly system. And it wasn’t always like that but that issue is def low man on the totem pole.
It’s not your phone or anything you’re doing. Nosireeee, it’s me. All me. Apparently, I was a remorseless felon in my previous life because it’s just one piece of bad news after another with this site.
It’s gotten to the point where I just have to laugh because it’s gotten way past the point of absurd.
Although, anyone who has a website will understand. Stuff breaks and we’re at the mercy of the techies to fix it. ‘Cept, it’s Sunday and tomorrow’s a “holiday.”
Oh well… it’s not as bad as last week, when people tried to subscribe and got notification that if they tried to do so, Isis was going to jump down their internet line and rip out their ____ You know… one of those scary messages that the site is NOT SECURE. Which is so not true, it’s just not funny. It’s locked up tighter than the pentagon!
Then, my mail chimp wasn’t working. This is on the heels of all of the other drama I’ve had to endure the last 3+ weeks.
The MOBULAR lol version of my site because of GOOGS and his need for it to be what he deems to be “friendly” is controlled by a separate plugin.
It was working beautifully and sooooo much better than my theme’s mobile version for a lot of reasons.
Well… thanks for listening! We’ll get it back up ASAP!
Ugh 😂 No hint of a lie I felt bad telling you about the problem, I know there’s been some sort of evil internet curse working its way through your site.
We’re displaced while the house is finished but I brought ALL THE APPLE so I can still read the blog 😇 And the email thing – that might actually be my end if I registered it with my old work email? Not sure if that’s possible (like it would let me login still but not actually function for emailing?) anyway. In case that’s my hex and not yours cathlinsentz at gmail dot com
No, the email was some snafu with mail chimp if people tried to subscribe with the box where they get the free paint guide. But we worked that one out.
Oh ha. I’m keeping up. Really. #mombrain #movingbrain #whatbrain
I can relate to all of that as well.
Found you on Pinterest – most intrigued.
These are gorgeous – and perfectly timed as I’m working with a landscape architect to begin our plan! Now I can just say “look at this” 😀 I loooooove hydrangea – the whole white and green look really rocks my garden socks off. they really capture my dream – an unmessy fairytale garden?
I’m still collecting gorgeous gardens. It’s a little addicting! So much beauty!
I just tried to purchase your paint color collection (thought the deadline was 5/31). It gave me the option to buy it for $74, but then the PayPal link didn’t work. I will try again later – hope I can still get it!
Love your blog and sense of humor!
No problem Patti. I wrote you privately. Indeed, I screwed up. So if anyone else thought the deadline was tonight, (and it was tonight about two weeks ago, but then somehow it got changed in my head.) please contact me, either at the contact link in the menu or just write a comment on any post and I’ll get back to you ASAP with the code.
Dearest Laurel, Thank you so much for taking your time to share with us such beautiful pics of amazing gardens! It gave me inspiration to care more about mine!!! Kind Regards,
Thank you so much! There’s more coming. In fact, there’s so much out there that’s beyond amazing that I could write ten posts!
You are certainly NOT a clueless idiot! Your blog is amazing. Ignore the haters, lord knows there are enough of them out there. I am among your legions of fans who look forward to you posts Lauren! The wonderful thing about gardening is you can take a tiny, small patch of space and fill it with flowers and herbs to make a personal reading nook. Or a place to drink a cup of coffee. Or wine. It’s decorating for the exterior! And a little bit does make a difference. Like your blog!
Well, we all have our clueless moments, I guess no matter the intention. Thank you so much Diane. I’m still looking at the gardens and longing for one— as long as it comes with a gardener! :]
I’m new to your website. I enjoy it very much so far.
Your “Couple of Important Notes” brought tears to my eyes.
I’m so sorry if people are cruel to you, so sorry.
God bless you and keep you strong and grow you even more in love.
It’s kind, loving people like you that make this all worthwhile! I think that people often don’t take the time to realize that there’s a living, breathing, feeling human being at the other end of their comment. And they say things they would never say if they were standing in my living room next to me.
Dear sweet Laurel,
I want you to know how much I appreciate your website. I read everything you post. I know just about nothing when it comes to interior design. But I don’t want to live in an ugly house. Thank you so much for educating people like me, who want to surround themselves with beauty and need good, sound advice. You are an answer to prayer. Truly. You have a lovely, kind spirit, and I feel like I’m communicating with a friend when I read your blog. I just wanted you to know what a help you are.
Blessings on you,
That is just the best ever! Thank you so much! And believe me, I could use a friend– quite often.
These gardens are indeed seductive! Very, very lovely. Thanks for sharing. I think I have to pin all of them!
Hi Claudia. Please do. BTW, I have a new pin it button that’s supposed to be working on mobile. Well, not only is it not working on mobile except for the first image, it’s not working at all on desktop! I think I need to have something else in the meantime. A lot of people who use pinterest have their own buttons, but not everyone does.
While all the gardens are beautiful, the Dower House Garden drew me in as I imagined myself living in that home with that view everyday.
Hi Tricia. Indeed! I was dreaming about all of the gardens and incredible homes that went with many of them for hours!
Don’t let small minded people distract you from sharing your beauty! You are an inspiration to us all! xoxo
Thank you so much Karen!
Laurel, Love this post on gardens and your Blog! Just purchased the paint collection and can’t wait to dig in and savor each page. So appreciate your wisdom and frank conversations regarding the world of design.
Enjoy the weekend.
Thank you for your purchase and kind words!
Thank you, Laurel! Even though gardening is not your thing, it is helpful to those of us who do garden to see how a designer looks at gardens and landscaping. Thank you for letting us see these through your eyes. There is something to learn from each photo. I am so glad I found your site!
Thanks for stopping by. I really appreciate that!
SPECTACULAR, I could use every superlative in the dictionary. It’s really a labor of love. Your posts are so inspiring and informative. I truly learn a lesson from each blog, not just see pretty pictures.
Thank you for that. I learn too!
I’ve always had beautiful gardens in my home but I must admit that I’m not a fan of gardening either. It’s definitely not my forte but I do love the visual aspect of it, so I just bite the bullet and do what I have to do at the beginning of the season and hope for the best. Thank you for those beautiful photos, photos are what gives me inspiration.
Keep up the good work with your wonderful blog…there are some nasty people out there and their intent is only to hurt, so good on you for turning on your comment moderation. You can now “weed” them out. *(Sorry I couldn’t help myself)
haha! Yes, Susan, weed is the word!
Do not give any of those revolting monumental lillie livered pansys any of your
There are thousands of us out here – heck maybe millions that love you and your
blog! Keep up your brilliant and talented posts!
Haha Phyllis. You made me laugh! Thank you!
Please, please save your heart. Focus on us who love your elegant and exquisite site. I’d bet there are more of us then the hateful ones. Your are an artist. So, There.
There are more of you than the nasties by a ridiculous number.
But, it’s the same thing all over the internet. The way I love to relax is to watch ballet on youtube. Sometimes, I read the comments and some of these girls, I want to cyber-slap them across the room they are so horribly mean. On top of it, they don’t even know what they’re talking about. They make up stuff that’s not there! I guess it makes them feel important? Does it not occur to them that the dancers might read their disgusting comments? Occasionally if it’s really bad, I’ll come to the dancer’s defense.
I learned more in one day reading your blog about paint and curtains than I have in an abundance of previous explorations, and I AM A SMART COOKIE…HA HA
This is the most informative and beautifully done website I visit…and I visit a lot of them, particularly concerning design… There are angry, cynical folks out there and one of the FOUR AGREEMENTS I have made with myself is to “not take anything personally”, but easier said than done….Delete and move on!
Yes, easier said than done. I do realize intellectually that it’s about them, not me. And a lot of the time, I don’t think they they realize that they are being either inappropriate or nasty. It’s their MO, I guess. Thanks for such a lovely comment!
First off, I learned early in my tiny career as a blogger that we have to moderate comments. It stops the trolls, and there are always trolls. And spammers. Don’t read more than one extra word… just hit the delete button and move on.
I always ask myself what I can learn from the houses and gardens I love, and I can always count on seeing more, and reaching new heights, on your blog.
The rule here seems to be “Nothing succeeds like excess.”
Or in other words:
“There are too many nice plants in your garden!” said no one, ever.
Another rule seems to be: think about colors carefully. These gardens are limited in their colors and the effect is sophisticated. Since my skills are also limited, this seems like a safe but beautiful bet for getting things right. Can’t go wrong with shades of green. White and purple and blue speak to me, maybe with touches of pink, red OR fuchsia, but just one, not two or three.
I have been hoping to have more than a few window boxes or set of city steps as a garden spot for 35 years, and I haven’t even had those in recent years. I have not given up hope. When we finally move to a place with some real outdoor space, I will pack in the pots and plantings densely.
I’ve always thought that one can’t be a fine cook without a generous heart and the same must be true for gardeners. So just as I don’t skimp on ingredients (butter! cheese!) when I cook, I’ll be sure to buy too many hydrangeas for that garden! Someday.
Thank you so much for summation. It’s really funny, but as I was putting it together, I think I decided to talk a little less than usual and let the photos speak for themselves, but it’s really great to know that their message was apparent to others.
I very much agree about limiting the colors–unless nature did it or it looks like nature did it. The latter is probably more difficult to achieve.
Several years ago and this is probably what did me in, I went to the nursery… I found two gorgeous hydrangea plants. I bought them and then cajoled my wasband into planting them.
They never flowered and then they died despite my efforts to make them thrive. I was so upset! But I had a client with a magnificent hydrangea border– just like the photo. It was so beautiful and one day she cut me off several to take home. They didn’t last long but I enjoyed them so much!
I, too, love your writing style and sense of humor as well as your sense of style and beauty. Thanks for sharing these lovely garden scenes. I have always loved beautiful, “old” homes and gardens- with worn stones, and moss-covered bricks, rose vines climbing over the walls, etc., but lately had forgotten that, being personally surrounded by homes built in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. It also seems that the focus is on new and contemporary in the online shelter mags as well as HGTV, etc., these days, so these “antique” (or at least “antique”-looking) gardens are like a “breath of fresh air”, LOL! Thanks again.
Isn’t that funny? What’s old looks “fresh.” There’s definitely something in that. Thanks so much for such a lovely comment!
Laurel, I love your blog entries – they are well-written, contain beautiful photos and give lots of great info. Keep it up!
I loved this entry on gardens and, since I live in a home with a small city garden, I look forward to your next blog entry on “petite and/or city gardens.”
Yes, I definitely plan to do that because first of all, I “clipped” out (as usual) a ridiculous number of gardens and two, not everyone has a palatial property to support such sumptuousness. Some of the small gardens are also small photos. Well, for my blog, that is. I love large clear photos so that if someone is not looking on their phone, they’ll look good.
I purchased your book to give as a gift and she loved it!
Secondly, I began gardening in mid life and have found few things are as satisfying as creating a garden. Visiting large, beautiful nurseries near me not only becomes a meditation as i meander between the rows of plants pursuing for ideas but it also stops the “stream of worry” in my head. Lastly, opening your blog on sunday mornings while having coffee with the laptop on my lap is another pleasant meditation. Thank you.
I love your explanation so much! I love nurseries and gardens too. Very much. I think it’s the work involved. However, since I live in an apartment with zero outdoor space, it’s a moot point. I used to think that people with beautiful gardens couldn’t possibly have a care in the world.
I discovered some years ago, that was not necessarily so.
Laurel, they are all so lovely it’s hard to have a favorite! Gresgarth Hall’s herbaceous border is utterly perfect. I’m in Brussels visiting my daughter and her family; they have the same soft climate and her small city garden is charming too, with old brick walls, climbing roses, peonies and clematis. In a nod to home, she has Confederate jasmine twining up the railings at the door. We’ll see whether they survive at this latitude. Thank you for another beautiful post.
Enjoy your time in Brussels! It sounds wonderful! I agree it’s difficult to pick a favorite.
Ditto to April’s comments about any and all unpleasant comments you’ve received. I subscribe to a LOT of design blogs though your’s remains among my top three faves. Chatty, personable, funny, warm and informative, your words make for an enjoyable morning read. Please know that for any one negative comment that snakes its way to you, there are SO MANY more who don’t write but DO truly enjoy and appreciate your work. Chin up and know you have many dedicated ( and kind) readers!
Thank you so much! I very much appreciate the kind words and support!
I LOVE your writing style and sense of humor. Not to mention all the interior design info you share.
Yours is one of only two blogs that I follow. Whenever I receive an alert that you have a new post I can’t wait to read it.
With that said I would like to say how sorry I am that people have been nasty to you. I’m not sure why people are so free to be hateful and nasty. I do however know that if people wonder why kids at school are such bullies they needn’t look further than themselves to find the reason why.
Please keep writing your wonderful posts, and remember for every jerk who posts something derogatory there are so many more that enjoy what you do here.
I agree, April! I wish Laurel was my neighbor, so funny, talented and down to earth. Look forward to every post.
Hard to believe women past 13 years old still have a mean girl gene. Hugs to you, Laurel.
Awww… that is so sweet! I really appreciate that! My mom taught me that if I have nothing nice to say to someone, say nothing. However, she didn’t tell me what to do if someone craps on me! It’s difficult for me to say nothing because I’m feeling like I need to defend myself.
BTW, the “mean girls in high school?” I discovered when my sweet, 93-yr-old mother was bullied in ASSISTED LIVING by other elderly women that they generally don’t change. Or maybe they revert. Or a little of both.
What a kind, thoughtful message. Thank you so much! I don’t know why it is, but it’s like the “one bad apple” analogy. It seems to taint the rest of the barrel, although the rest are as sweet and delicious as can be otherwise.
Makes me want to go out and plant dozens more hydrangeas!
In my southern garden, all the whites are now blooming—hydrangeas, magnolias, gardenias, Confederate jasmine, and the tall Indian Pipe Nicotiana that is so fragrant. My favorite time.
I note you included entrance to Furlow Gatewood’s home (homes?). What an extraordinary place that was/is.
Hi Gaye. Your garden sounds beyond magnificent! Yes, that entrance to Furlow’s home extraordinary as is the entire compound! I would love to see that one day!
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