I admit it, I have ten brown thumbs. I am not fond of yard work, and know very little about plants, or gardens. But I know a pleasant garden when I see one. If I can keep my mind off all the backbreaking work involved in maintaining a garden, I find them quite relaxing.
The oldest garden I have visited is also one of the most elaborate. In the summer of 1991, when I went to Cambridge, England on a UCLA summer program, my Medieval English Society class went on numerous field-trips around the area, to see castles and old country houses. One place we visited was Oxburgh Hall, which had a gorgeous formal garden, laid out in the 17th Century.
On our honeymoon in 2003, my husband and I spent a few days in Victoria, British Columbia, and we stayed in a hotel recommended by a friend. It turned out to be a wonderful place, with views on to the Inner Harbour of the city. They had a Japanese-style garden in back, and we had a superb view of it from the balcony of our room. And since we got married in October, the fall colors were on display for our enjoyment.
While in Victoria, it’s a sacrilege to miss a visit to the famous Butchart Gardens. We visited on our honeymoon, and a few times since then. The gardens are huge, with many smaller “rooms”. Here are a few examples of the many different garden areas.
Seattle has a well-known and loved Japanese Garden, which is part of the University of Washington Arboretum. We have visited there a few times, and the plantings are tasteful, there being something interesting around every corner. The attractions are not just plants, either, as there is a big Koi Pond with many brightly-colored fish.
And gardens don’t always have to be green. We visited the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix a few years ago, and there wasn’t much bright green there. There were, however, some very exotic cacti, which come in every imaginable shape. Some of them were pretty bizarre, and have excellent defenses against animals who might want to eat them. You don’t normally think of cactus as a flowering plant, but we saw many beautiful ones there.
Another kind of garden that is very popular these days actually grows indoors. On our cruise ship to Hawaii in 2018, there was a very pretty vertical garden, in one of the restaurants on the ship. I thought it was quite striking, and unexpected.
And finally, here is what my own back yard looks like today. Everything is growing, without much help from me.