The Garden Path

Kylemore Abbey’s pleasure garden, with the head gardener’s cottage in the background. Photos by Yvonne Michie Horn

The baronial-style castle, known today as Kylemore Abbey, was mirror-imaged in Lough Pollacappul this September 2017 day. Clouds scudding across Connemara’s gray-blue skies wound their way in and around the grand edifice’s shimmering reflection. 

The castle’s setting against a wooded mountainside at the edge of the lake was breathtaking. Who could look at it and not wonder, ‘What’s it like inside?’

Regularly scheduled tours offer...

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Basket swings in the children’s glade of the Imbolc garden. Photos by Yvonne Michie Horn

Brigit’s Garden in County Galway, Ireland

In 1997, Jenny Beale woke one morning with a concept for a garden full blown in her mind. Grabbing pencil and paper, she quickly described in two paragraphs what had popped into her head.

“Those two paragraphs continue to accurately describe the garden as you see it today,” Beale told me in September 2017 over a cup of tea in the café in the visitors’ center of the dream-turned-reality garden.

Creating the...

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The exterior of The Garden Museum, which is housed in a deconsecrated London church, with the “floating” café in the distance. Photo by Andrew Burton, The Garden Museum

A number of years back, in London, I visited the Museum of Garden History, as it was then called, and spent a happy hour immersed in old gardening tools, artifacts, drawings, photographs and paintings. 

During that early visit to the museum, located in the ancient and deconsecrated church of St Mary-at-Lambeth, across the Thames from Big Ben and right next door to Lambeth Palace, I was charmed by the displays but fell in love with the courtyard’s knot garden, which...

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Zura Shev­ardnadze, the owner of Gardenia in Tbilisi, Georgia. Photo by Yvonne Michie Horn

My taxi awaited below the tall column topped with the gilded statue of St. George slaying the dragon in Tbilisi’s Freedom Square. 

Freedom Square is how it is known today. Before St. George towered over the square following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, it was known as Lenin Square, with Lenin holding forth as its centerpiece. Before that, Theatre Square, as it was the site of the city’s first opera house. Before that, and as laid out by czarist...

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Visitors strolling through the glasshouse in Orto Botanico, Sicily, Italy. Photo by Yvonne Michie Horn

This is the third in a series of three articles on gardens in Sicily. I visited the island at the bottom of Italy’s boot in June 2016. (See part one, Nov. ’16, pg 51, and part two, Jan. ’17, pg. 51, as well as the Feature Article, Oct. ’16, pg. 18.)  — YMH 

Palermo’s Orto Botanico

(Part 3 of 3 on Sicily)

It was but a 10-minute straight-shot walk on a street that managed to change its name three times between Hotel Porta...

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With a Victorian folly in the background, this pond is centered with a tropical plant in the garden Hallington Siculo — Taormina, Sicily. Photos by Yvonne Michie Horn

This is the second in a series of three articles on gardens in Sicily. I visited the island at the bottom of Italy’s boot in June 2016. (See part one, Nov. ’16, pg 51, as well as the Feature Article, Oct. ’16, pg. 32.)  — YMH 

Florence Trevelyan’s legacy in Taormina

(Part 2 of 3 on Sicily)

Before traveling, I spend hours searching on the Internet and leafing through guidebooks and gardening books trying to match my itinerary with a...

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A vegetable garden planted with varieties of times past — Kolymbetra, near Agrigento, Sicily. Photos by Yvonne Michie Horn

This is the first in a series of three articles on gardens in Sicily. I visited the island at the bottom of Italy’s boot in June 2016 as a guest on the land portion of Overseas Adventure Travel’s “Sicily’s Ancient Landscapes & Timeless Traditions” itinerary (Oct. ’16, pg. 18). It’s important to note that the three gardens written about, while located in areas visited, were not part of the tour itinerary. I researched the gardens, made my own...

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This is the last in a series of four articles on Loire Valley gardens. The first was on Chédigny, a village designated in its entirety a Jardin Remarquable (Oct. ’15, pg. 55). The second featured Château du Clos Lucé (Dec. ’15, pg. 49) and described a garden with roots to Leonardo da Vinci. The third was about Jardin du Plessis, located near the village of Sasniéres and part of a larger property under family ownership since the 15th century (Feb.’16, pg. 53). — YMH...

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