Friday Fun: Japanese Gardens

As autumn draws near, can there be anything more beautiful than Japanese maples bringing colour and balance to the calm contemplative harmony of a Japanese garden?

The Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden in LA, from gardenswelikela.com
Gate to beautiful mysteries, from Pinterest.
The glory of autumnal colours, from Peter Toshiro on Flickr.
Simple, easy-gardening style from You Tube. The cat approves of the lack of lawn-mowers.
Garden in Kyoto from William Corey Gallery.
There is even a Japanese Garden Design School, and this is from their website.
There is nothing more beautiful than the sight and smell of rice paddies after the wet season; this one reminds me of them, from Shiro Nakane City Limits.
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Autumn in all its glory: Savill Garden, Windsor

In case you think it’s all doom, gloom and complaints in my life at the moment, there are the occasional perfect autumn days to rejoice every little cockle and mussel of my heart. There are few things more beautiful than an English garden, but perhaps one with artworks to discover and a son with a map determined to see every single one of them (and exclaim at the prices) is the best garden of all!

Savill Garden is an enclosed, well-tended part of Windsor Great Park, but not that easy to find even with a GPS. It’s considered one of the finest ornamental gardens in England, is part of the Crown Estate, and until 31st October it hosts an exhibition of 61 sculptures.

Autumn colours
Autumn colours
Landscape with deer
Landscape with deer
A sea of hortensias
A sea of hortensias
Lilac tree, the most expensive sculpture in the garden.
Lilac tree, the most expensive sculpture in the garden.
Borders with real flowers and sculpted ones.
Borders with real flowers and sculpted ones.
A more affordable metal flower which captured our hearts.
A more affordable metal flower which captured our hearts.
The prize for artificial flower of the day goes to this one, though.
The prize for artificial flower of the day goes to this one, though.
Mr. Fluffles, owner of the garden, who showed us around his manor.
Mr. Fluffles, owner of the garden, who showed us around his manor.

 

Friday Fun: Villas to Enjoy with Friends

Holidays are all about catching up with friends over dinner and drinks, whilst also having plenty of space to read on your own. So here are some villas that I would like to share with my nearest and dearest…

Armani's holiday villa, from Architectural Digest.
Armani’s holiday villa, from Architectural Digest.
Evening parties in this garden designed by Coit Brent, from Domainehome.com
Evening parties in this garden designed by Coit Brent, from Domainehome.com
Indoor/outdoor space for warmer climates, from DesiretoInspire.com
Indoor/outdoor space for warmer climates, from DesiretoInspire.com
Inner courtyard with pool, a modern take on the Roman villa. From Espaces atypiques.
Inner courtyard with pool, a modern take on the Roman villa. From Espaces atypiques.
Summer kitchen, a world away from my grandma's wooden hut. From Decoist.
Summer kitchen, a world away from my grandma’s wooden hut. From Decoist.
Garden with access to a lake - even better! By Thom Filicias, from Domaine Home.
Garden with access to a lake – even better! By Thom Filicias, from Domaine Home.
Sometimes, only a private island will do. Song Saa on Koh Rong, from Luxerist.com
Sometimes, only a private island will do. Song Saa on Koh Rong, from Luxerist.com

Friday Fun: Head Back to the Patio for Work

In my dream world, I would be able to work on a shady patio, drinking in the fresh air, rejoicing in the cheerful chirp of birds and friendly breezes playing with my hair. In the real world, I get attacked by insects, cannot bear the heat, have my hair buffeted around by angry winds and fail to read anything with the glare on my screen. But this is all about dreaming, isn’t it?

So, with so much work coming up over the next few weeks that I’ll be mostly missing in action again, here are some places I will be working from (in my mind).

Singapore villa, from property.angloinfo.com
Singapore villa, from property.angloinfo.com
Italian villa, property.angloinfo.com
Italian villa, property.angloinfo.com
Garden shed of joy, from gardenista.com
Garden shed of joy, from gardenista.com
Cloud House, Australia, from mymodernmet.com
Cloud House, Australia, from mymodernmet.com
Another example of effortless Italian style, from Domaine Home.
Another example of effortless Italian style, from Domaine Home.
Terrace in a jungle, or so it seems, from Domaine Home.
Terrace in a jungle, or so it seems, from Domaine Home.

Where do you like to work – in your dreams? And in real life?

Friday Fun: Out on the Patio

Who wants to spend time inside, when there are such pools, patios and views beckoning? In this hot weather, however, don’t forget your sunscreen, floppy hats and books to cover your faces (tablets are just not the same thing…).

Zinc House, from Decoist.com
Zinc House, from Decoist.com
Spanish villa, from Architectural Digest.
Spanish villa, from Architectural Digest.
Greek villa, photographer credit Prue Roscoe.
Greek villa, photographer credit Prue Roscoe.
Oriental theme, from jetsetter.com
Oriental theme, from jetsetter.com
Roof garden, from Domaine Home.
Roof garden, from Domaine Home.
Armani's house, Architectural Digest.
Armani’s house, Architectural Digest.

Friday Fun: Let’s Pretend It’s Summer

The snow isn’t here yet, it’s just miserable and grey. So let’s escape into summer with these inspiring pictures of gardens, terraces and patios.

housebeauty.net
housebeauty.net
piximus.net
piximus.net
Roof garden in Maine, Robert Passaldo in Domaine.com
Roof garden in Maine, Robert Passaldo in Architectural Digest.
Laura Silverman's home, from Anafternoonwith.com
Laura Silverman’s home, from Anafternoonwith.com
Garden Room Studio, Model London.
Garden Room Studio, Model London.
Asian pool, from Houzz.com
Asian pool, from Houzz.com

Or maybe we should contemplate moving to the Southern Hemisphere. I once knew a university professor who was teaching in Brazil September to February, London March to June and spending the summers in Italy…

Travel Poetry: The Secret Gardens of Vaulx

20140830_154618An assault on the senses: so much to catch the eye.

We wander in a daze, through minarets of clay,

alabaster arches of thousand one more dreams.

We get lost in mazes, guided only by

children’s laughter and gasps of enchantment.

Round-mopped flowerheads beckon us to stroke them.

Birdsong fills the cool shade under the chestnut tree.

Water in every form bustles, trickles, dribbles, laps –

Each fountain a family member,

each square of cement path a pebble-enscribed love-letter.

20140830_154332It shouldn’t work: it’s madness,

disparate elements reclaimed from Morocco, Java, Spain,

brought together with nothing but bare hands and humour.

It started out as child’s play and became a family’s history,

hands in soil for decades, shared sighs, always a surprise,

glimmer of a pool around the corner, where

copper filigree meets bulbous earthen pumpkins.

Day after day they built one more terrace,

seeded another flowerbed,

unhurried, unforced,

mosaics of azure tinged with moss, gold shredded with scarlet.

 

20140830_154442We walked in smarting with petty quarrels.

Thirst quenched, a little silenced,

we leave here hand in hand.

 

These magnificent gardens that I discovered earlier this year  just outside Annecy in France – a source of inspiration and delight. For Gabriella’s brilliant initial hosting prompt about travel writing over at dVerse Poets Pub.