blog2019-12-24T08:13:25-05:00

Hiking on the Amalfi Coast

So let's continue our tour of the Amalfi Coast! This time hiking on the Amalfi Coast. For those so inclined there are plenty of hiking adventures to be had.   We chose the Sentiero degli Dei (Path of the Gods), which winds its way from Agerola for 5 miles to

Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park

Aoraki is the traditional Maori name for Mount Cook the highest mountain located in the Southern Alps of the South Island in NZ. After leaving Lake Tekapo and the Church of the Good Shepard we headed towards Lake Pukaki and Twizel. As you head along the Lake, the bluest water

Standing strong in Lake Tekapo

The most famous church in New Zealand is undoubtedly Church of the Good Shepard.  It is always crowed with visitors looking for the selfie and photographers and for good reason. The landscape surrounding this beautiful church both day and night is a sight to remember. It is the only church

Mouth-watering Figs!

Figs love the Mediterranean climate in Italy. You can find these yummy fruits in family gardens all over Italy ripening from September - October. Depending on the variety they are available from summer thru fall. They date back all the way to ancient times. They are even mentioned in the

Fiesole

Just a short bus ride from Florence up into the hills brings you to the town of Fiesole. The quick side trip lays fabulous views of Florence at your feet. The city is laid out before you as a marvel of the Renaissance in Tuscany that it is. The first

Lago di Como, a series, part 4

On the shores of Lake Como in the town of Cernobbia is the 16th century Tivoli Palace named, Villa D'Este.  This former palace from the Renaissance era was converted to a high end hotel in 1873 and consists of the Villa and a 25 acre park.  Be prepared for stunning

Lago di Como, a series, part 3

Travel to any town in Italy and you will find beautiful churches. The Como Cathedral as it is known, is the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and dates back to 1396. Architecturally fascinating, it mixes Gothic, Romanesque, Renaissance and Baroque features. This is a very important Gothic church in Northern

Lago di Como, a series

If you have been to Como, Italy you couldn't have missed the steel sculpture, a gift to the city of Como designed by Daniel Libeskind.  The contemporary sculpture called "The Life Electric" dedicated to Alessandro Volta is located at the very end of the Diga Foranea pier.  Day or night

The Cinque Terre

The Cinque Terre can be found between Genoa and Pisa and is an easy train ride from Milan or Florence. The 5 towns of the Cinque Terre are a UNESCO World Heritage Site stretching for 6 miles on the Italian Riviera but are very different from their glitzy neighbors.  We

Bologna- a Food Lover’s Paradise

When you think of Italy most people think art, history, gorgeous landscapes and FOOD! The city of Bologna is a foodie paradise! The old centro storico is lined with ancient shops with the most amazing fresh cheeses, meats, breads, oils, vinegars and wines. OKAY to be totally honest we tried

Portofino, Italy

Well Portofino is probably the most photographed fishing village on the Italian Riviera! Whatever you have in mind, relaxing is in store since there is not much to actually DO here! Be prepared to just stroll around the boutiques, the harbor and walk up to Castello Brown maybe and of

2018 Italian Grand Prix

This is one of the longest running events on the Formula One circuit and has been held continuously since the World Championship was introduced back in 1950. With the exception of one year it has been held in Monza, IT just outside Milan since 1922 when the Grand Prix was

MILAN, ITALY

Recently I had an opportunity to travel to Milan and the Italian Grand Prix in Monza. I only spent a few days in Milan near the Piazza del Duomo while starting my exploration of the Lombardy region. Milan is the capital of the Lombardy region in Northern Italy and is

Time to Order those Bulbs!

Okay I know you are thinking: WHAT!!! It's still summer, but in many parts of the country bulbs go in the garden in the fall from late September until frost so start perusing those catalogs now and get your orders in.  If you have favorites, you'll want to order them

The Magic of Georgia O’Keeffe @ NYBG

The New York Botanical Garden was founded in 1891 and is a National Historic Landmark world renown for its plant research and conservation programs. Georgia O'Keeffe was an American artist known mostly for her paintings of oversized flowers from New Mexico and Hawaii.  She achieved worldwide acclaim for her innovative

Chanticleer Garden

Just a short drive from Philadelphia, Chanticleer is one of the great gardens in this area. Once the Rosengarten estate, today Chanticleer is a contemporary garden situated in a  historic setting.   Garden Design magazine has dubbed this "America's most inspiring garden." Coneflowers in the Pond Garden area

Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens

Morikami celebrates the connection between Japan and South Florida.  Little did I know that in the early 1900s, Japanese farmers arrived in southern Florida and formed an agricultural colony called Yamato, an ancient name for Japan. Most of those farmers returned to Japan but one of the remaining settlers George

Attracting Pollinators to your Garden

Black Eyed Susans - Rudbeckia Pollinators are crucial to the production of most fruits, nuts and berries including apples, oranges, tomatoes and blueberries.  There are many plants that will attract hummingbirds, butterflies and bees to your property.  In order to attract these pollinators plant a succession of blooming

Take time to smell the ROSES!

Roses are perhaps my favorite flower!  There are so many varieties, some with glorious fragrances, others with prickly thorns that always seem to get me through my garden gloves.  Roses are quite versatile in the garden as they can be used in mixed borders, as a hedge, in a Rose

Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas can add drama to the garden whether pink, white, green or red.  They make great cut flowers!  Early spring is a perfect time to plant Hydrangeas because the ground is still cool so they are less likely to get stressed. Hydrangeas are basically low maintenance shrubs and highlight the

Wynwood Walls ….

More from Wynwood Walls in Miami, FL  Did you miss last week's blog on the history of Wynwood and Urban Graffiti Art in Miami, Florida?  Wynwood Walls is an outdoor museum with large painted pop art by famous street artists.  The theme of the new Goldman Global Arts Gallery exhibit

Vicenza

Do you love architecture? Then you will love Vicenza a UNESCO World Heritage Site! This city is a successful blend of old and new and the city of Palladio! Andrea Palladio Vicenza is a very old city dating back to pre-Roman times before it was absorbed into the

Verona’s Bridges

First thing upon arriving, after we were challenged by the hordes of traffic for The International Motorcycle Show and Motor Bike Expo, we made our way to the river and the Museo di Castelvecchio. This 14th century fortified castle houses artifacts from the Middle Ages.  There are seven towers and

Churches of Verona

Duomo Di Verona is the city's cathedral and can easily be reached from the Ponte Pietra. It was constructed on the remains of two earlier churches that were destroyed in the earthquake of 1117. An absolutely beautiful church in the historic medieval center. The Basilica has striped brick and stone

Venice – an elegant old city

Venice lies in a shallow lagoon in the Adriatic Sea surrounded by a string of islands and is an old, elegant city. It is the capital of the Veneto Region of Northeastern Italy. Venice was an important and wealthy city in the Roman Empire.  As the Empire began to collapse

The Magic of Venice

This city is abundant with art and architecture.  Millions of people arrive daily to take in it's atmosphere and wander its narrow streets. Hopefully, there will soon be a ban on those mega cruise ships that are destroying the lagoon! The Grand Canal from The Rialto Bridge Surprisingly,

Carnevale di Venezia

Carnevale Di Venezia is probably one of the most famous carnivals in the world! Beautiful costumes and Venetian masks create a magical atmosphere. The Venice Carnival is an annual festival like Mardi Gras held each year in Venice, Italy and is famous for the elaborate masks and costumes. The Carnival

Asiago

Asiago is a small town in the northeastern Province of Vicenza located high in the mountains in the foothills of the Alps.  Best known for its Asiago cheese of course which is a Protected Designation of Origin cheese. This town was the site of a major battle in 1916 in

VicenzaOro

Vicenza is the Italian and world capital of gold jewelry making and I was honored last week to accompany my sister to the VicenzaOro show to watch her work! VicenzaOro is one of the world's largest gold jewelry expos.  There are several other jewelry shows throughout the year but this

Val d’Orcia – Montalcino

Montalcino sits on top of a steep hill with acres of olive groves and vineyards surrounding it. It was heavily fortified behind defensive walls and an imposing 14th century fortress topped with tall lookout towers built in 1361 to a pentagonal plan.  It is famous for the production of Brunello

Val d’Orcia – Montichiello

The entrance to this village is through the Porta Sant’Agata (know as the 'city gate') and offers absolutely stunning views across the valley to Pienza from its perch high on a hill overlooking a magnificent valley. This extraordinarily beautiful region of Tuscany, the Val d’Orcia, was designated a UNESCO World

Greve in Chianti and Montefioralle

Greve in Chianti was our home base while in the Chianti region of Tuscany.  From here we travelled to Siena then to Montepulciano, Pienza, Montalcino, San Gimignano, Arezzo and Montichiello. As I detailed in a previous blog we were delighted to stay at Villa Bordoni for our time after we

Arezzo

Arezzo sits high on a hill on the western side of the Apennines toward the border with Umbria and is Tuscany's third largest city and one of the wealthiest located in southeastern Tuscany and feels like a more modern city than some we have seen elsewhere in Tuscany founded in

Lucca- Walled Historic Center

Lucca is known for its Renaissance walls that encircle the historic center of this city lined with cobblestone streets and mostly closed to car traffic. This is the former home of Giacomo Puccini the famous opera composer. We loved this town and you can totally picture living here.  (Do you

Pienza – Val d’ Orcia

Pienza is a small town located in the Val D'Orcia, (2004 UNESCO World Cultural Landscapes) in the southeastern area of Tuscany. Situated between Montepulciano and Montalcino and South of Siena it is an easy day trip if your home base is anywhere in Tuscany. In 1996, UNESCO made the center

Montepulciano – Val d’Orcia

  Now we are seriously in the heart of wine country!  Montepulciano is reknown for 2 wines in this region: Rosso di Montepulciano and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.  These are some of the very best wines in the world. Sitting high on a hilltop with steep narrow streets it is

Siena

Siena is often described as Italy's best preserved medieval city! The streets are steep and narrow with the fan-shaped sloping Piazza del Campo (known as il Campo) and the Palazzo Pubblico, Siena's subtly curved town hall since the 1300's at the historic center. The Palazzo Pubblico with its Torre del

Villa Vignamaggio – Tuscany

Villa Vignamaggio sits on the Florence to Siena route with views across olive groves and cypress trees in the heart of the Chianti Classico region in Petriolo very close to Greve in Chianti and was a quick drive from our base at Villa Bordoni. The symbol of Villa Vignamaggio

Villa Bordoni – Greve in Chianti

In 2007 David and Catherine Gardner opened Villa Bordoni, Country House Hotel and Restaurant, a small luxury hotel immediately above the town of Greve right in the heart of Chianti Classico region of Tuscany. This 16th century villa has remarkable views of the Tuscan hills and is conveniently located to

Florence – Churches

Santa Maria Novella The Piazza Santa Maria Novella is a lively area with open air restaurants and shops and lots of open space to rest your weary feet! I was blown away by the beauty of the Basilica and it was hard to chose what photos to select for this

Maywood Gardens- Garden Conservancy

A private estate located in Bridgewater CT was the site of a this past weekend's Garden Conservancy Open Garden Days. I started in the amazing 4000 square foot greenhouse where they are transitioning from the bedding plants to winter plants like poinsettias and cyclamens. There were some true treasures in

Florence – a very walkable city

Florence is a very walkable city and you really don't need a vehicle unless you are going to drive down into the Val D'Orcia or Chianti Region.  Of course, the train system there is fabulous and you can easily navigate Italy via train.  If you can explore Florence on foot

Wynwood Miami

Wynwood is a neighborhood in Miami, FL that recently has attracted a lot of attention and for good reason!   It has become a mecca for art, restaurants, bars, breweries and high end shopping. Rust Wynwood This neighborhood dates back to 1917.  Happy 100th birthday this year! This

Anatomy of a new Garden

Back yard complete Some artists express themselves with paint, some with sculpture, yarn, wood etc.  I paint with light, color, flowers and capture that with my photography! I recently moved to a new home and with that move I transplanted tons of plants from my previous houses  and

Trade Secrets 2016

Another amazing Trade Secrets event!  This year's Trade Secrets was held on May 14th and 15th. After 16 years it has grown exponentially to become the garden event of the season! Created by Bunny Williams as a major fundraiser for Women's Support Services which offers crisis intervention, counseling and education

Road Tripping in CT

Every year we say it couldn't get any more beautiful and then the next year comes and surprises us.  After an extremely dry summer here in CT the Fall is turning out to be amazing.  Okay we have our ups and downs.  Today it was snowing, then cloudy, then sunny,

Elizabeth Park, Hartford CT

Born of the American Park Movement, Elizabeth Park was officially opened to the public in 1897. Encompassing 101 acres, both West Hartford and Hartford share this treasure that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The property originally owned by Charles and Elizabeth Aldrich Pond was gifted to

Trade Secrets 2015 Garden Tours

This year the Trade Secrets Garden tours were amazing private gardens that were so different with each showcasing a unique gardening perspective. "Rockwood Farm speaks to the landscaper/designer owner's affection for New England history.   Featuring a historic reproduction of an 1800s-era saltbox, this serviceable, sustainable and comfortable homestead has

Designing with Color

When planning your garden basic design color principles apply both inside and outside.  Color schemes can be used in several different ways depending on the mood you wish to create.  When talking about color the conversation automatically goes to the basic color wheel. (Color Wheel courtesy of Sessions College)

What is your WHY?

The Wind Beneath my Wings! My Mom was always and still is my inspiration. When I asked her once "who do you most admire"?  She said: "You! for having the courage to do the things I did not or had not."  I, of course, said her.  She was and still is

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DAY MAKES…

What started out as a lovely weekend getaway in VT led into a crazy freak snow event on Sunday afternoon. Then on Monday a completely different experience at the Smith College Lyman Conservatory Spring Flower Show. In the space of 24 hours I experienced winter and spring and in both

A Burst of Springtime

Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Gardens "Some are no bigger than your thumbnail, while others are the size of your hand. Some mimic bees and butterflies, while others resemble a lady's slipper. Orchids can be found in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and the Americas, and have evolved to survive

“A Piece of Sky”

It's another snowy morning here.  We are getting more snow... again.  So in the midst of this very snowy and cold winter where I should be skiing instead of sitting inside the view outside is what counts!  If you are outside walking, hiking, snow-shoeing, cross country skiing or maybe ice

Spectacular winter images

Winter can be cold and long for some of us in the country. Hopefully you are getting out and savoring all it has to offer. Here are some moments I have experienced that I would love to share with you! Enjoy, get out and play!!!!

A FEW MORE POLLINATORS

Besides Hummingbirds, Butterflies and Bees other pollinators include Bats, Flies, Hummingbird Moths and Beetles. Bats are attracted to dull white, green and purple flowers that emit strong, musty odors at night. Flies are attracted to white and cream and green flowers that have putrid odors like Pineapple Lilies, Daisies and

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