I’ve been extremely blessed to see some beautiful places throughout the world. I like to say that I don’t like to travel, I just like beautiful places–traveling is my vehicle for getting there. I love beautiful places so much that I’ve prioritized it over other things like an amazing wardrobe, furniture, and other fun delights and securities. I took my first trip to Europe when was 12 on tour with the Orange County Junior Orchestra after joining because I heard they were going to France and England (oh yeah, and I guess I liked the music too). I had always been fascinated by the books I read as a girl that were set in beautiful places like the brooding moors in Sherlock Holmes and the floral nooks of The Secret Garden. After a few more trips to Europe, living on the East Coast, and then finally marrying a Dane and living in Denmark, I feel like I am only a bit more conversant in beautiful sites to see. I know there is so much more out there.
Beautiful places, particularly gardens and old estates, make my heart burst. I didn’t realize how much a part of me they were until I noticed that other people couldn’t go on a run without stopping at every corner to look at the flowers. (That, and I hate running so I’ll stop whenever I can). I also started to notice that I love flowers. Like, I REALLY love flowers. I love floral fabrics, silk flowers, paper flowers, flower rugs, flower pillows, real flowers. Flowers everywhere. Perhaps I have an abnormal condition?
With that flowery talk out of the way, I’d love to get a list going of the top places to go for flower lovers. I’ve asked a couple of people who I know have a similar affinity to flowers to share some of their favorites too, florist Sarah Winward and garden expert and BYU Museum of Art director, Mark Magleby. Additionally, I’d love to hear what YOU have to say. I haven’t found a comprehensive list anywhere, so I’m thinking this could be a help to all of us and help us create a bucket list.
- Monet’s Gardens at Giverny in France. As cliche as it is, Monet is my man.
- Tage Andersen’s residence and gardens at Gunillaberg in Sweden. You know I’ve now written about it like 5 times.
- Carl Larsson‘s Sundborn home and garden in Sweden. He’s also one of my favorites.
- Karen Blixen‘s home and museum in Denmark (I went last summer and just realized I haven’t written about it yet)
- The lavender fields of Provence (I just missed it last year and I was devastated)
- Stourhead in England. I nearly died of beauty there. It’s mostly just gardens. This is also where the new Pride and Prejudice was filmed.
- Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, DC. I think this might be the loveliest place in the world. I lived a few streets from it and had a season pass. That, and the cemetery next door, are pinch-yourself-I’m-dreaming worthy in spring and fall. Here’s a little post. I also love that it was started by two women who just loved flowers and gardens. Read more about it here.
- Hillwood Estate in Washington DC. The gardens are delightful and the interiors are crazy ornate.
- Around the end of June, purple lupin are blooming all over Iceland, they practically cover every hillside. They are up to four feet tall and the dark purple color looks amazing against the green mossy landscape.
- Israel has red anemone that cover lots of hillsides in the spring. I think this is so memorable for me because a red anemone isn’t the type of flower that I am used to seeing grow in the wild.
- Jasmine vine in New Zealand completely covers jungle areas. The smell is intoxicating and I wanted to clip entire walls of it to bring home.
- Locally in Utah, I loe the Mt. Aire trail up Millcreek canyon. In the late summer there are wildflowers and butterflies all over the trailside.
- The greatest of all the English flower gardens may be Sissinghurst Castle garden with is color coordinated garden rooms.
- Another would be the kitchen gardens at Rousham, which are riotous with flowers in the spring and summer. The most famous parts of the garden are designed by William Kent.
- I also think that the herbaceous boarders are excellent at both Hampton Court and Kew Palace.
top image from here