At this time of the year – the first official day of summer – my focus naturally turns to gardens. Even though I’ve freely admitted in the past that I Hate Gardening and I’m tragically allergic to mosquito bites, I’m an ardent admirer of beautiful outdoor spaces. For a long time now, I’ve been collecting photos of all green gardens. Essentially, these use various shades of green. Rather than using floral or color to provide visual variation, this type of garden is very sculptural. Being monochromatic – the color of grass, trees and shrubs – they depend largely on levels, shapes, height and placements.
In a city garden created for actress Julianne Moore [top], landscape architect Brian Sawyer went for “Green, green, green. “It’s about ivy — Boston ivy and English ivy — and staghorn ferns and moss. And boxwood,” Sawyer told Architectural Digest where the photos first appeared. Beginning with bluestone pavers, raised boxwood beds were constructed. It’s lovely, stunningly simple and best of all, low maintenance, which always appeals to me.
French garden authority Louis Benech restored an ancient part of the historic Jardin des Tuileries, the public garden in Paris situated between the Louvre and the Place de La Concorde. In Touraine (a region famous for its wine) he went to work on a large landscape plan with spectacular results. I especially love a parterre arrangement of geometrically arranged walkways bordered by clipped hedges. But the thrill is seeing how trees interrupt the formality and loosen it all up.
Can’t you almost feel the cool shade provided by the linden tree arch that shelters this outdoor dining table? It helps define a brick walkway as a long outdoor “room.” Designed by the iconic Belgian landscape firm of Wirtz International, the gardens on the owner’s 50-acre property are dramatically sculptural and expand in scale with distance from the house.
When I look at this photograph I think of rock formations translated into shrubbery. The combination and variety of the greenery with the different heights and arrangements almost have a whimsical feeling, particularly the ones that lean. Given the classical building in the background I expect this garden is somewhere in England.
(Source: Architectural Digest, Louis Benech, unknown)
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