Thanks to an unexpected gift, I was able to leave my cold and snowy New England confines and feast my visual senses in a few magnifique gardens in France … all without leaving the couch or my cozy warm fire. One of my favorites, Les Confines in Provence, as shown in the photo below, is the garden of landscape designer Dominique Lafourcade and her husband Bruno. What’s not to love about a lambs ear and lavender lined rill running through an orchard of potted olive trees before it spills under an ivy covered circle into the natural pond just out of the eye’s view?
But the book Gardens in France is filled with similarly beautiful, expansive, and striking gardens, such as the kitchen garden at The Villandry which consists of nine squares of equal dimensions; each lined with an oak trellis, centered with a fountain, and filled with perfectly spaced seasonal vegetables. In the fall and winter , red and white cabbages, purple chards, and leeks dominate the beds.
Editor Angelika Taschen, photographer Deidi von Schaewen, and writer Marie-Francoise Valery have filled nearly 340 pages with descriptions of more than 40 gardens – both private and public, including Versailles, Claude Monet’s Giverny, and Le Jardin exotique d”Eze. The photos and descriptions allow readers to get lost in breathtaking beauty, but also get a bird’s eye view that clearly depicts the structure and design aspects that make each garden remarkable, whether growing vegetables or flowers, or simply acting as an outdoor extension of an equally remarkable home.
The photos are truly enchanting and I look forward, with the turn of a page, to studying the design concepts that make these gardens so delightful. What a great mental activity for a landscape design student who has many hours ahead when Connecticut snows will fly and temperatures will plummet.