Monday, March 19, 2012

An Enchanted Garden


For many years, I have been captivated by enchanted gardens--gardens that are lush, alluring, romantic, and fascinating. These are gardens that, when entered, bring about a sense of awe and wonder. Colors, fragrance, and textures abound. Plants and trees have grown to a size that is manageable, and yet, breathtaking. At every turn, there is a beautiful surprise and more for the eyes to feast upon.



My Front Garden

Although I aspire to create such a garden, it will take years to achieve the enchantment that a more mature garden can exude with its trailing vines and shade canopies of older trees. In time, I hope to create the romance and the charm of an enchanted garden.

How to Create an Enchanted Garden

1. Create garden rooms with groupings of plants or varied designs in each room.

Montpelier Herb Garden

2. Create wandering paths from garden room to garden room where each garden room is not visible to another.

Montpelier

3. Select plants that will offer interest over time, such as vines that will grow and trail beautifully over a fence or arbor or ground covers that will spread through a garden room floor.

Cypress Vine at the Entrance to My Vegetable Garden with Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Montpelier

4. Plant for seasonal interest throughout the four seasons.

Redbud and Cherry Tree in Spring

Autumn

5. Use plants in the garden to attract wildlife.

Painted Lady Butterfly

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

One of my favorite enchanted gardens is Ninfa near Rome, Italy. It is often considered the most romantic garden in the world.



Its beauty is so seductive that I hope to actually visit someday. To wander the paths along the stone ruins or smell the wisteria as it drapes down to the garden floor or step on the old bridges overlooking the river would be a joy indeed. My fascination for this garden continues as I just recently bought and read a book on this garden. I have chosen this book for this month's Garden Book Review hosted by Holley at Roses and Other Gardening Joys.

Title: Ninfa, The Most Romantic Garden in the World
Author: Charles Quest-Ritson
Publisher: Frances Lincoln Limited, 2009


It is a book that describes the history of Ninfa and how it came to be as beautiful as it is today. It has been through war, neglect, and restoration. Ninfa reminds me of an old and beautiful woman who has seen and been through it all and has come through with unequaled wisdom and grace.

This book is filled with photos of the allure of this garden.


Many old building ruins remain and seem to accent the garden with character and elegance.


In the chapter, Ninfa Today, secrets are revealed, such as where the best place would be to enter the garden.


Other chapters discuss the garden through the seasons and what the future holds for Ninfa. But however interesting I find the written word in this book, the photographs of the various elements of this garden are what bring me back to it over and over again.

© copyright 2012 Michelle A. Potter

64 comments:

  1. Now that is perfection! I love his line "history is mulched into the garden". You have definitely sold me on this book. It is a shame that in all my visits to Italy I never visited this garden. It will have to be on my bucket list now.

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  2. Isn't it? I am entranced by that garden...and look forward to a visit. I have also been to Italy, but at the time I did not know of this garden....a shame. Oh well...I will just have to visit again.

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  3. Enchanted gardens usually play to all the senses, especially fragrance. They usually have mystery and a sense of the unexpected within, a feeling of being from another time in a distant past and a quirky sense of playfulness. Romance you hit on and that is a component often found too. Nice post looking at enchanted gardens.

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  4. Donna, you said it so well...and that is what I aspire to do. Enchanted gardens are my ideal, and they inspire me and comfort me.

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    1. Thanks, Diana. I wish all of them could be from my own enchanted garden, but my garden has a ways to go...

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  6. The most romantic garden in the world. And I've never heard of it! Thanks so much for reviewing this book! The video was amazing. I have a slow internet service, so it took me a while to get through it, but I loved each and every second of it. I would love to be able to have a garden that was so beautiful, one wanted to be quiet in it. I was wondering about maintenance, and I love the idea of 'balance'. Thanks, too, for your tips on creating an enchanted garden, and for the lovely pictures.

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    1. Thanks, Holley. I had never heard of it either until a while ago. It must be a well-kept secret. I am glad you were able to watch the video...it is worth it. I aspire to a garden such as that one....someday...

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  7. Practical ways to achieve an ethereal vision. You have broken this down into understandable pointers beautifully. If only we were closer to enjoy one another's gardens!

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    1. Thanks, Karen. I, too, wish we were closer...

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  8. Your garden is enchanting! Especially the cypress vine. It's going on my wish list!

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    1. Thanks, Cat. You will love the cypress vine, and it attracts lots of hummingbirds.

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  9. I love this garden I remember seeing a tv programme about it many years ago it is everything a garden should be I think. Sadly I could never achieve anything like it in my garden it is far too small - but I can always dream!

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    1. Although I aspire to a garden such as this, I do not think I will ever have a garden as beautiful as this. I think it takes a lot of time and a lot of room. I will dream right along with you...

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  10. And that's what keep us all going isn't it? The allure of those scenes created by others and the hope that we will create such perfection ourselves. Gorgeous garden, thanks for the introduction!

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    1. I agree...it is what keeps me going. To have some measure of that garden in my own yard would be heaven.

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  11. I entirely share your enthusiasm towards special gardens. My favorite one involves lots of red roses and white columns :) and a pond with some stone statues.

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    Replies
    1. Your vision of a beautiful garden sounds wonderful! I love roses as well.

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  12. I think the enchanted garden is what I strive for too.

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  13. How magnificent! We all work to having our own secret gardens. The lay of my land does not cooperate with my plans some times but we try.It takes many years to get a garden like that established. Good tips for all of us.

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    1. The lay of my land does not cooperate either...a slope, but I will keep trying.

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  14. I know exactly that feeling you talk about, big trees with vines and lichen, the light is different, so many details to see. How I adore gardens like that, they wear their maturity well.

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    1. Established and older plantings just seem to offer such a beautiful place to walk and wander.

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  15. This looks like such a beautiful book. Italy has always seemed like a such romantic place to me and I would love to visit it someday. Ninfa was really lovely to see. (Thanks for including the video.) I enjoyed watching it and appreciated the way the host zeroed in on what was special about the garden. He described working "in partnership" with nature. For someone who has always felt somewhat at odds with nature over the control of my garden, this was a wonderfully new perspective.

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    1. Thanks, Jennifer. This garden is so inspiring, and I hope I can see it someday. You picked out one of the things I remember as well.

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  16. I love your redbud trees. They're one of my favorite spring trees, along with Magnolias.

    Wisteria is a GREAT idea for such an enchanted garden. I was hoping to plant some at our new house when we moved in a few years ago, until I learned how intrusive they can be, and that they can actually take over/choke out forests. I imagine it might be in places where it's not native though. It was not a finding I was pleased to learn of. :( I think there are some varieties that are not so bad though.

    I've never heard of this Ninfa garden. This weekend, I'll have to watch the video you've posted. It will be a "carrot" for me. :)

    Thanks for the very helpful tips. I, too, would love to have an enchanting garden. I can use all the help I can get.

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    1. Redbuds are one of my favorite spring trees as well, Holly. I have not planted Wisteria for the same reason. I figure I would need a very strong trellis and be willing to prune it back.

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  17. WOW! I had no idea these gardens existed!! Now I want the book! LOVE the video! :o) Your pentas are so big and trailing. Mine are always so stocky. What kind are they?

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    1. That garden is hard to resist. The photo of the cypress vine was taken last fall, and soon I will be planting more seeds for this year. I think they come in several other colors..other than red...

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  18. I love the cypress vine! I seldom see them now at my place!
    Your garden is just so beautiful!
    I must work hard in my garden now.....It's more like jungle with many plants! ;)

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    1. Thanks, Malar. I would imagine that you could have cypress vine all year long. That would be so nice.

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  19. "Enchanting" - your photos and the post cover it all so well.

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    1. Thanks, Shyrlene. I love talking about and sharing this garden.

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  20. I had never heard of Ninfa, but it does indeed look like an enchanted place. Thank you for reviewing the book and posting the video! (And thank you for the tips on creating an enchanted garden.)

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    1. You are most welcome, Dorothy. It is a garden that inspires me very much. I am glad you feel the same.

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  21. Great post, great advise, great photos. Time to design. Creating garden rooms is really the key for me. It's much less daunting to design and develop one room at a time.

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    1. Thanks, Mary. One room at a time is my plan as well.

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  22. Your posts get better and better! Enchanted.

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    1. Thanks b-a-g. I am very glad you liked it.

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  23. OMG, your photos are so amazing and as I read you make it sound so simple (to create an enchanted garden). But, aha, I know that it is not. Thank you so much for sharing these pics....they are so inspiring!

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    1. I am glad you enjoyed it. I know it is not simple, but it is a good place to start.

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  24. Very good photography of the Painted Lady. I've great difficulty in photographing butterflies as most of the time they flit away the moment my lens go near. Your cypress vine is wild, rambling and gorgeous making an impactful entrance.

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    1. Thanks, Stiletto. I, too, have a time photographing them. They do flit around a bit.

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  25. Thank you so much for this wonderful post, we went to Ninfa about 5 yrs ago and it was truly amazing, just as Monty Don described it in your video. It really is such a romantic garden as well as being so beautiful, must dig out my photos. Will certainly buy the book, could only get a small one when we were there. The only downpoint is that you have to go round the garden in a party, they don't allow you to wander off on your own. When we were there, there was a wedding party having their photos taken, what wonderful photos they would be!!

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    1. That sounds wonderful! It is nice to hear from a fellow blogger that it is just as amazing as it seems. It is disappointing that one cannot wander around a bit, but I suppose I would be willing to abide by their rules just to get a glimpse.

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  26. thank you for video! It's very impressive. I liked this Italian garden.

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    1. You are very welcome, Nadezda. I am so glad you liked it.

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  27. These are very wonderful tips in order to have a wonderful enchanted garden. Outdoor spaces like gardens make the house or property more appealing and at the same time increases its market value. Being close to nature can be a good experience.

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    1. Thanks, Sergio. I hope that in time my garden can be somewhat enchanting.

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  28. I know I'll never have my dream of a romantic garden if for no other reason than space limitations - but I love visiting and looking photos of other gardens. And it is possible to have such a garden on a small scale and your tips are great.

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    1. We do not have that much space, either, but I will try my best to make it as enchanting as possible. Thanks, Ginny.

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  29. I adore the vivid photos as I scroll through your recent posts. Thank you for the inspiration.

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  30. Sounds like a very nice book! I have heard about the Gardens of Ninfa before and would love to learn and see more of them. I watched Monty Don's video and really enjoyed it. Thanks for putting in the link! Now I am ready to visit Italy :-)!
    Christina

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    1. It is very enticing, isn't it? I hope we can visit soon.

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  31. Great tips! I'm trying to grow an enchanting garden. I might have to get this book. A great review and great post.

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    1. Thanks, Christine and Barbi. It is easy to fall in love with this garden.

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  32. If I ever make it to Italy, I would love to visit Ninfa. The only enchantment in my own garden at the moment is the spell my weeds are under, that makes them grow faster than I can pull them! ;)

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  33. Hey Michelle,
    Your story is very exciting. Ninfa is beautiful.
    gr. Marijke

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  34. I long to return to Italy, such a wonderful country. I have put Ninfa on my must visit list. The video was inspiring.

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  35. Beautiful write-up and photos!

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'I see trees of green, red roses, too
I see 'em bloom for me and for you
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world'
--What a Wonderful World

Thank you for visiting The Sage Butterfly blog. I enjoy reading your charming reflections very much. Have a great day!

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