The Garden Path

Entrance courtyard of the Valtice château. Photos by Yvonne Michie Horn

Two magnificent châteaux bookend what is known today as the Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape in the South Moravian Region of the Czech Republic.

From 1249 until events surrounding World War II resulted in its confiscation, the Cultural Landscape’s 100-plus square miles belonged to Liechtenstein, the tiny, 62-square-mile principality now sandwiched between Austria and Switzerland.

Between the 17th and 20th centuries, the Dukes of Liechtenstein set about...

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Parterres edged with hedges. Photos by Yvonne Michie Horn

Hands down, Edinburgh’s Royal Mile wins as the city’s most visitor-trod street. And well it should be. To walk its length is to follow in the footsteps — most likely the carriage rumblings — of the kings and queens who for five centuries made the journey between the formidable castle-fortress that dominates the Old Town skyline to Holyrood Palace.

Since the 16th century, Holyrood has served as the Scots’ official royal residence. Today, Queen...

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The “Italianette-style” addition at the entrance to the garden. Photo courtesy of Tresco Abbey Garden

In the early-morning light of May 2018, Grand Circle Cruise Line’s M/V Corinthian dropped anchor off Tresco in the Isles of Scilly archipelago. (See my article “Maritime Jewels — Cruising the British Isles & Ireland” in the October 2018 issue.)

Once the landing platform was launched, the ship’s tender sped off toward Tresco on a mission to fetch Mike Nelhams, curator of the island’s near-subtropical Abbey Garden that we’d come to...

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View of the pond in the Wallenstein Gardens — Prague. Photos by Yvonne Michie Horn

I've long thought that the best city transportation is a pair of comfortable shoes. That was certainly true of Prague, a most walkable city, allowing me to hotfoot it through its historic Old Town Square, pushing my way through pretzel hawkers and throngs following umbrella-toting tour guides and past bike bars pedal-powered by beer guzzlers. I was on my way this May 2018 day to a Prague of serenity, the Gardens below Prague Castle.

Wallenstein Gardens

As I crossed...

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Narrow paths connect “rooms” in the Inner Garden, this one dedicated to foliage in shades of green.

There are two "must dos" when visiting southwestern Wales' St. David's Head: a tour through the magnificent cathedral from which the peninsula gets its name, and walking a stretch of the pathway that echoes Pembrokeshire's dazzlingly gorgeous coastline. To those, I added a third on a late-May 2018 day: a visit to Sue Clark's Crystal Garden.

"What a glorious time of year for the garden!" Sue Clark exclaimed as she led the way to a picnic...

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Children passing by the shrine that remains of the monastery — Borromeo Garden, Brno, Czechia. Photos by Yvonne Michie Horn

Think Czech Republic (Czechia) and Prague springs to mind, everyone's mind, as elbow-to-elbow encounters in the city's picturesque Old Town attest. Mention Brno and the reaction is likely to be a scratching of the head. Brno definitely does not spring to mind.

It should. Brno, the Czech Republic's second-largest city (pop. 400,000), is but a 2-hour high-speed train ride from central Prague. Wander Brno's hilly streets and you'll hear nothing but Czech spoken....

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The Embankment Café is a casual place to take a break in London. Photos by Yvonne Michie Horn

Westminster Abbey, the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, the Old War Office: London’s concentrated wealth of “must visits” can be an exciting yet exhausting, traffic-noisy, people-packed sightseeing experience.

Time out. A series of three gardens — expanses of immaculately kept lawns and flower beds, ponds, shrubs, towering trees and wandering paths with...

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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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