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Villa Cimbrone Gardens in Ravello Italy

"The most beautiful sight that I have ever seen in the world is the panoramic view from Villa Cimbrone on a bright winter's day, when the sky and the sea are so vividly blue that

Open your Mind through Travel

How we approach life is often through a one way glass.  Most of us live very insulated lives and don't really understand what others are experiencing as showcased these past few weeks. Travel allows us

Welcome to the Amalfi Coast & Sorrento

Welcome to the Amalfi Coast! After leaving Naples you head south to the land of lemons! Sorrento is known as one of the world's most charming and romantic old towns with its many cafes, shops

Come Fly with me to Ravello, Amalfi & Atrani

Continuing on our tour of the Amalfi Coast, come fly with me to Amalfi and the hilltown of Ravello. Amalfi, a truly medieval city has the grandest cathedral anywhere in the Arab-Norman style. The Duomo

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

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

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

Spa Day in Queenstown – are you in?

KIA ORA!  (“Hello”  or “Be Well” in the Māori language) When I knew I was going to New Zealand the one thing everyone said not to miss was Onsen Hot Pools Retreat & Day Spa

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.

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

Lake Como – Villas on the Lake

Did you know Lake Como is only about an hour's ride from Milan? There are numerous grand villas that line Lake Como.  Taking the slow ferry gives you a glimpse at a few! Villa

Lake Como – Bellagio – Villa Melzi

If you visit Bellagio be sure not to miss the famous gardens of Villa Melzi. The gardens are open to the public but the 19th century neoclassical villa is not. It is said these gardens

Bellagio- the “pearl” of Lake Como

This lovely village on Lake Como is known for its steep, narrow, stair lined cobbled streets with insane views of the lake. It is one of the most popular stops for tourists visiting the area

Lago di Como, a series, part 5

There are so many things and places to experience on Lake Como that I could go on and on! Here are a few more sites from the city of Como located only an hour by

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day tripping in CT at Lavender Pond Farm

In their effort to make the world a more beautiful place the owners of Lavender Pond Farm have created a little slice of heaven right here in Connecticut on 25 acres now filled with all

BUTTONWOOD FARM – SUNFLOWERS FOR WISHES

The Annual Sunflowers for Wishes is taking place now! - This is a blog I wrote several years ago on this wonderful place supporting a wonderful cause.  Enjoy it again as well as the ice

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

Such a Happy Place – The Bronx Zoo

This zoo is the largest metropolitan zoo in the US and one of the largest in the entire world.  The Bronx River flows through the Zoo and it is a neighbor of the NY Botanical

Boston – Happy 4th of July!!!!!

A fun stop is the top of the Prudential Tower where you have a 360 degree view of the city.  Above is a view towards Cambridge. Look down onto Newberry Street and all those lovely

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

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

Trade Secrets 2018- Wethersfield Garden

Thankfully the weather held out for the Sunday Garden tours this year unlike Saturday's Garden and Rare Plant Sale at Lion Rock Farm. Wethersfield Garden in Amenia, NY is a beautifully manicured ten acre garden

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

A Day in the Country- Trade Secrets

With Trade Secrets being this weekend in CT I thought you might be interested in this blog I wrote several years ago on the Saturday event which is always a widely anticipated event by plant

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

Hiking in CT – Lover’s Leap State Park

Lover's Leap is a Connecticut State park located in New Milford along the Housatonic River and straddles the Housatonic Gorge. The history of this park is dark and full of mystery! The signature attraction is

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

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

Urban Graffiti Art in Miami, Florida

I was thrilled to visit the Wynwood Walls Art installation again this year while visiting my son in Miami.  Any lover of street art should make it a point to visit Wynwood!  This area of

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

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

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

Romeo, Romeo, where fore art thou – in Verona?

You know how the story goes.... those unforgettable words spoken by Juliet from that famous balcony supposedly in Verona- not really! Very touristy spot! I skipped Casa di Giulietta. There were however two real feuding

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pisa- more than just the Leaning Tower!

Here the Arno River continues from Florence dividing the city into 4 distinct areas as it flows to the sea. There is much to see in this city beyond just The Leaning Tower of Pisa!

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

San Gimignano- the “Manhattan of Tuscany”

San Gimignano sits high on a hilltop about 24 miles northwest of Siena surrounded by soaring medieval towers. The walls are tall, the streets narrow and very typical of Tuscan hill towns. It was first

Outstanding Fall Color from Shrubs

Fall in New England can be a magical time with the explosion of color everywhere, the crisp fall air and the anticipation of winter.  It is important to consider all the seasons when planning your

Naumkeag, a National Historic Landmark

Naumkeag was the summer retreat for NYC lawyer and diplomat Joseph Hodges Choate and his family. This property is a National Historic Landmark for its designed landscape created by Architect Fletcher Steele. The famous Blue

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

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

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

Antinori Vineyards – Passignano, Italy

  DO YOU LOVE WINE? Well we certainly do! What a wonderful wine tour and tasting we experienced here. You are surrounded by eras of ancient history.  The Badia di Passignano is located in the

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

Michelangelo’s ‘David’- High Renaissance

Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael were stars of the Italian Renaissance and its artistic masterpieces. They were visionaries who changed the face of sculpture, architecture and painting. Michelangelo was obsessed with portraying the body

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

Florence, Italy – The Renaissance

The epicenter of the Renaissance in Florence started a cultural explosion.  The Medici family led Europe into the Modern Age in the 15th century and out of the shadow of the Church. There was a

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

Venice: Part Two – Famous Landmarks

While exploring Venice you will notice six distinct neighborhoods called "sestieri".  This city is one of the most important tourist destinations in the world with its rich history of

Trade Secrets 2017 – Coltsfoot Garden

One of the private gardens open this year for Trade Secrets was Coltsfoot Garden in Cornwall, CT.  This is an enchanting cottage garden that along with the colonial home has been in this family for

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.

Lecce – “The Florence of the South”

Lecce is located in the Puglia region in the heel of the boot in the Italian Peninsula where the Adriatic and Ionian seas are easily accessible. This city is over 2,000 years old and is

MATERA: a UNESCO World Heritage Site

SASSI di MATERA- Ancient cave dwellings This is a true walk back in time but amazingly people inhabited these caves until the 1950's. Before the Sassi (historical center) were abandoned this was one of the

Alberobello – a UNESCO World Heritage site

A small Town within the City of Bari, in Apulia's region of southern Italy known for its Trulli buildings. The area is part of the coastal plain to the Mediterranean where olive groves are everywhere.

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

Can you feel it? Spring is coming!

Ranunculus I don't know about you but here in Connecticut we really haven't had winter so we are all eagerly anticipating an end to this dreariness and excited to welcome spring in just

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.

IN SEARCH of FALL FOLIAGE in VERMONT

  Once fall comes around  the air gets crisp and clean and we long for those vibrant colors that fall foliage brings in New England.  It's time to carve pumpkins, buy mums and cornstalks, bob

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

Create and Capture Moments of your Vacation

You've planned and packed and checked your list once, twice and dare I say three times so now you are on your way!  Here are my simple tips for capturing those memories.  First and foremost

Garden Tours – Part 2 – Trade Secrets 2015

As promised here is another garden from the Trade Secrets Garden Tours a few weeks ago. This property is TWIN MAPLES "Nestled atop Selleck Hill, Twin Maples seamlessly marries the classical and the natural: Formal

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

Face your Fears, Live your Dreams

How do you see your future? If you had asked me this question in the past my answer would have been vastly different than it is today.  Life is funny in that the twists and

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

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

“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

Spring is coming…. but not today!

As I sit by the window watching the first fat snowflakes fall I find an extreme sense of peace.  The snow is so beautiful! Perfect snowflakes in all shapes and sizes blanketing the gardens and

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

Things you need to know for Winter Garden Magic

Some plants are attractive all year but really shine in the winter. Of course, you must think beyond just evergreens. Some trees and shrubs have beautiful bark and spectacular winter color like the Red Osier

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

Oriental Bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus)

Oriental Bittersweet has become established as this vine is highly attractive as an ornamental.  The fruits continue to be sold for dried flower arrangements and are frequently disposed on compost or brush piles where birds