Posted on Leave a comment

Provence Part 1

Day 1

We left rainy London early in the morning, taking a bus to get to Heathrow, forgetting it was a bank holiday and the trains weren’t running that early. Arriving in Marseille it was sunny and warm. We drove around the St Victoire mountain stopping in Puyloubier for a bite to eat and to take in the gorgeous views. We ended the day at Le St Esteve for a delicious Michelin starred meal. 

Day 2

After the requisite french pastries for breakfast at our hotel, we drove to Aix to check out the market. Aix is known for Cezanne living in the town and his works of the nearby St Victoire. We visited the Granet museum which has lots of Cezanne, Picasso, and Giacometti, and an exhibition on David Hockney. After stopping for lunch we ended the day visiting Cezanne’s atelier just up the hill from the town center.

Day 3

Today was a travel day. We stopped at Plage de Jean Blanc to see our first taste of the Mediterranean. The water is turquoise blue, the sun bright in the sky. We drove on to Chateau de la Napoule. The hardscaping in this garden was amazing. We then finished the day by driving to our airbnb outside of Nice.

Day 4

After picking Madeline up at the airport bright and early, we went to Menton and visited the Serre de la Madonne garden. As we were there early there was practically no one there and it was a verdant paradise. The hardscaping and fountains were amazing. We ate lunch by the beach and spent some time afterwards searching for seaglass along the beach. After an afternoon nap we had dinner in Nice at Le Negresco, an old sea side hotel.

Day 5

We got up early to visit Castle Hill before we left for the mountains. We drove up as far as we could and managed to get a parking spot. The views are fabulous! After a lunch along the Promenade des Anglais we drove north to the Verdon Gorge. The drive through the mountains was amazing, taking us over woods, fields, and through scenic vistas.

Posted on 1 Comment

Cindy’s Spring Trip to the UK, Part 1

We started our trip in London, visiting Hampton Court Palace, the Sky Garden, Westminster Abbey, Eltham Palace, and the Chelsea Flower Show. From there we rented a car at Heathrow and travelled southeast to visit the first of our week of garden touring.

Savill Garden

Savill garden was created in the 1930’s by former owner Eric Savill. It is now run as a part of the the Crown Estates. The rose garden is a relatively recent addition, planted in 2010. This garden is divided into different area including a Bog garden with enormous Gunnera, an Azalea walk, the summer gardens which include the rose garden a herbaceous borders, and more.


Painshill is an 18th century landscape garden created by Charles Hamilton. This is a large garden in a man-made landscape, there are meandering paths around a lake, that was dug out and engineered to be fed by an adjoining river. Hamilton had an image of creating living painting in his landscape. He designed a number of follies to visit along the route including a grotto tiled with crystals.

Munstead Wood

Munstead Wood is the home and business garden of Gertrude Jekyll. This garden is held in private hands and as such is available to tour by appointment with the head gardener. This is a garden that is lucky to be in existence at all. It was sold in three parcels after her death, the gardens were grassed in the 1950’s by a subsequent owner. The most recent owners have recovered the original gardens along with their neighbors. From the tour we discovered the garden functioned very much as a show garden for Jekyll’s clients, she had a trial garden area, and she sold plants and seeds from the potting shed. Almost ironically the garden looks similar to how it would have been in her lifetime because of the effects of man.