On Tuesday the Upperville
Garden Club held its 48th Annual Daffodil Show. Hats off
to Barbara Sharp, Chair and Ginger Wallach, Vice-Chair and their entire
committee for coordinating a stunning show and a preview to Virginia Historic Garden
Week which begins on April 16th. And congratulations to
all the winners and participants for providing lovely horticultural
specimans and spectacular arrangements.
Here is a short list of local garden events and tours of
some of our beautiful Virginia gardens:
April 16th: If you want to
travel to the Richmond area, the oldest state garden tour will showcase
the James River plantations and Tuckahoe, Thomas Jefferson's boyhood
home. For information contact www.vagardenweek.org.
April 16th & 17th: Leesburg will host its 21st Annual Flower and Garden
Festival. I am told that this is always a fun-filled show with great
ideas for design and plant inventory.
April 18th: The Leesburg
Garden Club is teaming with the Loudoun and Fauquier Garden Clubs to
present tours in the historic Mt. Gilead area from 10am to 5pm. Among
those on tour will be the gardens of Judy and Richard Mazzucchelli and
Dawn and Michael O'Connor. For information please call 703.771.3081 or 703.777.6907.
With that in mind...
A little over a week ago we returned from a fabulous trip
to Buenos Aires and believe me - it did not disappoint! Originally
founded by the Spanish in the 1500's, BA has had a turbulent past of rule
by oligarchs with great wealth followed by revolutions, dictatorships and
coups. During its age of huge affluence in the late 1800's and early
1900's it sought the design inspiration of the French who influenced its
city boulevards, architecture and park design which then, as you may
know, led to its being known as the "Paris of the Southern
It is a tribute to the resilience of the Argentine people
who weathered the upheavels of the Peron years and subsequent
dictatorships until 1983 when a democratic form of government came into
power, and where every street, road, and plaza is named for a revolution
or leading revolutionary, that Buenos Aires holds its own globally as a
sophisticated, cosmopolitan city. Unfortunately, like most urban areas,
it is a study in contrasts of great wealth and beauty to appalling abject
There were so many inspirational sights: city barrios
(districts), each having its own distinct personality; the biosphere of Parana Delta;
Domingo in open air concert at El Obelisco
on Avenida 9 de Julio; the Teatro
Colon; the Recoleta
Cemetery, burial place of Evita Peron; historic
restorations and museums; historic/traditional and modern architecture;
fabulous hotel interiors; urban redevelopment and incredible public
And because we are approaching Historic Garden Week here
in Virginia I would like to focus in this letter on some of the historic
garden areas we saw in BA. Green spaces or plazas, one of which was in
front of the apartment building where we stayed, punctuate the city grid
of Buenos Aires like emeralds and provide the citizens with a much needed
respite from the daily bustle of city life. A single great architect, Carlos Thays,
who emigrateded to Argentina in 1889 from Paris went on to lay out many
of these plazas as well as the country estancias.
Thays' most notable works, in the Palermo area, are the Botanical Gardens (Jardin
Botanico) and the Third
of February Park (ParqueTres de Febrero) with its famous,
Rosedal, designed in 1914. El Rosedal
Garden has a sweet lake with several bridges, the most
important known as Puente
Blanco or White
Bridge, a lattice work confection that leads one into El Rosedal.
Hubby on bench
under the Serpentine Pergola
Following the shore line of the lake, a serpentine
covered in climbing roses is decoratively enhanced with stone benches and
grecian urns. At the center of El Rosedal, a large circular area, the Poets Garden,
is filled with busts of those such as Shakespeare and Argentina's most
famous poet, Jorge Luis Borges.
And off in a corner, secluded in a wooded area, a
tradtional tiled sunken Andalusian
patio encompasses tiled benches, walls and steps.
While I have always preferred a more casual and natural
approach to gardening (otherwise known as "benign neglect") it
was difficult not to fall in love with the structured, formal elements of
El Rosedal or
Rose Garden is a romantic garden with winding red gravel paths, and has
over 15,000 roses and 1,189 species of every color imaginable.
In addition to the Jardin
Botanico and Parque
Tres de Febrero the Japanese Garden (Jardin Japones),
created in 1967 as a token of appreciation from the local Japanese
community, boasts over 150 species of flora, many of which were brought
from Japan. One of the largest gardens of its kind outside Japan, it is
drop dead spectacular!
at the Jardin Japones
The centerpiece of the garden is a large lake which is
crossed by two red traditional bridges. The lake is home to dozens of
large, colorful, amusing, ravenous carp, which surface at any sign of
human life above and according to one tour book these ornamental koi are
"reputed to jump like Kobe Bryant" if they suspect a promising
The arched red
bridge at Jardin Japones
Filled with a wide variety of plants, most of which are
native to Japan, such as azalea, sakura, momiji, and katsura, it also has
a some native South American plants, such as floss silk trees and tipa.
Within the park are several traditional granite sculptures, in line with
Japanese and Buddhist traditions. A Japanese Buddhist Temple also sits
within the park, providing a place of worship.
iris at lake's edge
Numerous telescopes strategically placed throughout the
park encourage visitors to view the multitudes of birds which come to
perch on these well placed boulders. It wouldn't surprise me if the birds
might have a good look at the sassy koi, and think, "Ah, a nice fat
tasty morsel for lunch!"
While we enjoyed every second in Buenos Aires we are happy
to be home now that it is warming up (well maybe) and everything is
blossoming! When we departed most of the daffodils that I planted in the
fall had yet to make any kind of appearance but they have now emerged,
along with our flowering trees, and hopefully all will be in bloom before
long. One thing is certain, though. It will be a long time before my
lowly daffodils make their way to one of the exalted local daffodil
From 85 degrees...to pouring rain...and now sunny again.
What next? Spring is really a tease, is she not?.
...Thanks so much for reading....Nancy West, ASID_