Together with famous designers and architects, we go on a journey through the gardens and parks of the world. These places should definitely be seen with your own eyes!
CENTRAL PARK, NEW YORK, USA
New York’s Central Park is one of the largest in the United States. It is located in Manhattan between 59th and 110th streets and covers an area of 3.41 sq. km. The design of rectangular park was designed by architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux in 1857: although it looks very natural, all lawns, ponds, and wilderness corners are created here artificially.
“All over the world, botanical, private, and public gardens are a place to escape in the city, and enjoy the beauty, flowers, and uniqueness of each of them. Nature makes it possible for modern man to take a breather, to exhale,” says designer Brigette Romanek from Romanek Design Studio. – I love Central Park in New York, nothing compares to it for me. It’s a big, beautiful city garden with a lake, a zoo, and paths.”
“I love this place for many reasons. I remember the first time I came here – it was a big surprise for me that such a beautiful, green, blooming space could exist in the very center of the city. I saw what joy it brings to people who come here to walk, run, or just sit on the grass. All of them, including me, need it. This has affected me a lot, so I always try to bring live greenery into my clients’ homes and my own home. Even my office is filled with plants.”
KINGSLAND WILDFLOWERS GARDEN, NEW YORK, USA
The Kingsland Wildflowers Garden is located on the roof of a warehouse building at 520 Kingsland Avenue in Brooklyn and has an area of 929 square meters. The space was opened in 2016 and since then has been one of the most unusual and popular tourist urban gardens in New York. This garden is a favorite place for walks by designer Damian Zunino from DB studio. “It’s a very special place, completely different from other gardens,” he says. “When it blooms, the spectacle is simply stunning, especially in contrast to the industrial architecture of the area. I am always amazed by the combination of delicate wildflowers swaying in the wind and the surrounding industrial buildings. It’s worth seeing it at least once in your life.”
HASLEY COURT, OXFORDSHIRE, UNITED KINGDOM
One of the greatest creators of taste of the XX century, Nancy Lancaster (1897-1994), who popularized the style of the English country house, left a legacy that still resonates in our hearts. Her reimagining of the gardens of Haseley Court in Oxfordshire reflects a combination of prim English gardens with the laid-back lightness of the Southern style, influenced by her native Virginia.
“The garden that inspired me the most was Hasley Court in Oxfordshire, owned by my great-aunt Nancy Lancaster,” says designer Jane Churchill. “She conceived and worked on it until she was 90. I am inspired not only by the garden, it is by a whole complex of feelings in which memories of her amazing personality, a very comfortable home, and delicious food that she cooked are combined.
STOURHEAD, WILTSHIRE, UNITED KINGDOM
The gardens of the Stourhead estate in Wiltshire were designed in 1741-1780 in the classical style of the XVIII century. They were located around a large artificial reservoir, created as a result of the overlap of a small stream. They were inspired by the paintings of Claude Lorrain, Poussin, and Gaspard Duguet, who painted Italian landscapes in a utopian style. According to the then owner of the estate, Henry Hoare, “the greenery should be arranged in large “strokes”, as in the paintings: to oppose the dark masses to the light ones and dilute each dark mass with small inclusions of lighter greenery in places.”
Today, Stourhead remains an impressive 1000-hectare historic estate that boasts a Palladian-style mansion, classical gazebos, temples, Gothic buildings, a lake, winding shady paths, and gardens with rare and exotic plants.
“I love Stourhead in Wiltshire, especially its architecture. The gazebos and other small architectural forms are simply wonderful, they are built around the lake and surrounded by beautiful trees. Visit the garden in autumn, when the foliage changes its color – this is the perfect color palette for the interior. It’s magical!” says designer Jane Churchill.
SISSINGHURST, KENT, UNITED KINGDOM
Writer Vita Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicholson’s love of botany is still alive in the gardens they created at Sissinghurst Castle in Kent. A married couple bought the estate in the 30s of the last century and very quickly turned it into a vivid example of landscape art. They called gardens “rooms”. Harold was engaged in the architectural side, planning the space based on his wife’s poems.
“There are many beautiful gardens in England, but Sissinghurst in Kent is a must-see, especially because it is designed as a living space.”JANE CHURCHILL Designer
HAUSER & WIRTH SOMERSET, BRUTON, UNITED KINGDOM
“I live in an oceanfront apartment in Hong Kong, but I’ve always been drawn to gardens,” says Chinese architect and designer André Fu, “Since I have been deprived of the opportunity to travel for the past few years, I am now looking forward to visiting some of my favorite places. I like the Hauser & Wirth Somerset garden, designed by Piet Oudolf. It is a wild world with meadows of perennials, but at the same time, it echoes the tradition of classical gardens with their combination of sculpted plants and herbs and hilly flower beds.
KENSINGTON GARDENS, LONDON, UK
The royal gardens around Kensington Palace in London date back to the end of the XVII century. King William II bought part of the royal deer hunting reserve (now Hyde Park) in order to equip a landscaped Dutch-style park near Nottingham House. Subsequently, the territory was enlarged and the gardens were converted to the traditional English style, building a greenhouse there. Initially, the garden was closed to the public, it was first opened to the public in 1728 – and then only on Sundays. Today, Kensington Gardens is a real open-air museum. There are many statues and sculptures, for example, there is a monument to Peter Pan.
“I grew up in London and always loved walking in Kensington Gardens,” says designer Jake Arnold. “I come here every summer, every time I come home. Walks in the gardens take me back to my childhood, it gives me a sense of stability, inviolability, and reliability, which we all need so much now.
GARDENS OF LES JARDINS D’ÉTRETAT, ETRETAT, FRANCE
The park in the French city of Etretat on the coast of the English Channel, created by our compatriot, landscape designer Alexander Grivko, opened in the spring of 2017. Since then, he has already managed to become not only the main attraction of these places but also a world celebrity. In 2019, the Gardens of Etretat received the prestigious European Garden Award 2019 in the category “Best Restoration of a Historic Garden”. Every year, hundreds of tourists come here to see unique landscape solutions and, of course, take pictures against the backdrop of giant rubberheads dozing on green pillows.
“The park is addictive. I myself can wander around it for hours and see something new every time. Although there are those who come to us with one goal – to dig up orchids, they even bring special spoons with them, “laughs co-owner and creator of the park Alexander Grivko. The orchids here are really unique: the team managed to restore all the varieties that were grown by the first owner of the estate, the French actress Madame Thibaut (Madame Thibaut).
LAS POZAS PARK, MEXICO
The surreal Las Pozas Park is located in the Mexican jungle and resembles a lost paradise with dilapidated ruins and labyrinths in the spirit of Escher. It was built by the British sculptor Edward James, who moved to Mexico in the 1960s and there, at an altitude of more than 600 m above sea level, realized his most daring and fantastic ideas.
PARK GÜELL, BARCELONA, SPAIN
Park Güell is one of the most ambitious works of the architect Antoni Gaudi, which would never have appeared if he had not met another enthusiast – industrialist and philanthropist Eusebi Güell i Bacigalupi. They met at the 1878 World’s Fair of Industry in Paris and became friends. In 1900, Güell purchased 15 hectares of empty land on a mountain near Barcelona to build a garden city there. The work lasted 14 years and resulted in an unprecedented architectural experiment, in which there were many revolutionary solutions. For example, rainwater harvesting for numerous plants planted on initially bald slopes. You can wander around the park endlessly, looking at the details that suddenly appear on the way – these are intricate stone arcades and galleries, columns with flower beds at the top, and mosaic sculptures and benches – the product of Gaudi’s extraordinary imagination.
JARDIN MAJORELLE, MARRAKECH, MOROCCO
Villa Majorelle is the main attraction of Marrakech, which invariably attracts not only tourists and architecture lovers but also lovers of garden art. Majorelle Gardens is the most famous and most visited project of landscape designer Madison Cox. Ponds and fountains interspersed with thickets of cacti and bamboo, evergreen thujas, weeping willows, water lilies, and jasmine – it’s all just breathtaking! The history of the gardens begins in the 1920s when the French artist Jacques Majorelle acquired this land and built the famous cobalt-blue villa on it. He was fond of botany and brought plants here from all over the world. After the artist’s death, the villa was bought by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé who invited Cox to put the garden in order.
“Mysterious and serene” is how Madison Cox describes the garden
“The Majorelle Garden is one of my favorite gardens,” says André Fu. – Bought by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé in 1980, it resembles a mysterious garden hidden behind the walls, with a labyrinth of paths. I love how the rich blue color of the villa is combined with the green and yellow colors of exotic bamboo and succulents. It’s an amazing island of tranquility amidst the hectic hustle and bustle of Marrakech.”
TOFUKU-JI TEMPLE, KYOTO, JAPAN
The Buddhist temple of Tofuku-ji was built in 1236, it was built at the behest of Kujo Michie, a Japanese politician of the Kamakura era. Nevertheless, most of its famous gardens were created much later – from the XVII to the beginning of the XX century. The most famous of these are the four Zen gardens of Hojo Temple (Northern, Southern, Western, and Eastern). They look especially beautiful in autumn when the leaves on the trees turn erogenous red.
“When I designed The Mitsui Kyoto, I spent a lot of time in Kyoto and was especially inspired by the temple gardens,” says Andre Fu. Tofuku-ji is the oldest and largest temple in the city, and gardens surround it on all sides. Each garden has its own character – lush moss coexists with a minimalist rock garden, which creates a sense of serenity and tranquility.
JARDIN DU LUXEMBOURG, PARIS, FRANCE
The Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris is famous for its fountains, shady alleys, and symmetrical flower beds, but perhaps the most interesting thing is why it was created the way it is. The garden was laid out in 1611 or 1612 by order of Marie de’ Medici, the prototype was the Boboli Gardens at the Palazzo Pitti in Florence – the place where the queen grew up. Hence, the Baroque Italian style and palm trees in tubs appeared in the French park.
GIARDINO DI NINFA, LAZIO, ITALY
The “Garden of the Nymph” (Giardino di Ninfa) is called one of the most romantic places in Central Italy. It is a huge natural park covering 105 hectares, with picturesque ancient ruins with traces of frescoes, which are gradually overgrown with plants and herbs. The park is home to oaks, cypresses, rose hips, hydrangeas, and plants from all over the world. It received its poetic name in honor of the ancient Greek temple of the nymph Naiad, which once stood here and the ruins of which can be found during a walk.
TAURIDE GARDEN, ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA
In fact, we also have unique monuments of landscape art. For example, the Tauride Garden in St. Petersburg. It was laid out in 1783-1800 by the gardener V. Gould during the construction of the Tauride Palace. The artificial ponds of the park, in which Sterlet once swam, are the result of complex hydraulic works. They were made on the site of the Samoroika River and filled with water from the Ligovsky Canal, and slides and hills were poured from the remaining soil. The Tauride Garden was opened to the public in 1866 and still remains one of the favorite places for walks of St. Petersburgers. At the borders of the garden, you can still see old trees: oaks, lindens, larch, planted under Catherine II.
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