Travel theme: Gardens

My visit to the Giardino degli Aranci got me pondering the subject of gardens. There were no flower beds or herbaceous borders in that gentle garden on the Aventine, but there was an intimacy and charm within those walls that made it feel like a sanctuary. Perhaps that is really the essence of what a garden is; a place to lose yourself or find yourself or just be. The word ‘garden’ derives from an ancient term, gard, referring to an enclosed space. There are traces of its ancient etymology in place names such as Stuttgart in Germany, Graz in Austria and Borujerd in Iran.

A love of gardening runs deep in me. Wherever I go, I find some small way to garden; growing tomatoes and the hottest of chili peppers on a windowsill, gathering seeds and propagating cuttings, adding a border to a friend’s garden. I love the smell and feel of earth and marvel at the sight of a new seedling rushing towards daylight. On my travels I seek out gardens to wander through, so here are a few gardens I have visited along the way.

It’s no secret I am in love with the work of Piet Oudolf and the romance of prairie planting, with feathery grasses and dried seedheads creating the most achingly delicate winterscapes. I spent many a winter’s day wandering through his garden creations in New York’s Battery and High Line parks.

piet oudolf, battery park, new york, prairie planting, seed heads, travel, travelogue, photography, nature, ailsa prideaux-mooney

I remember the serenity of the Zen Garden in Bainbridge Island’s Bloedel Reserve

bloedel reserve, seattle, bainbridge island, garden, gardens, rain, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooney, zen garden

… the lush simplicity of a tiny bottle garden at the US Botanic Gardens in Washington DC…

botanic gardens, washington dc, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooney

…the playfulness of cottage gardens in the Hamptons…

hamptons, long island, new york, travel, travelogue, gardens, photography, ailsa prideaux-mooney

…and the drama of exotic gardens in Guatemala, where I saw the gasp-inducing Jade flower for the very first time.

antigua, guatemala, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooney, jade flower

Get your green thumbs at the ready for your interpretation of this week’s theme. If you would like to join in (everyone’s welcome!) here’s what to do:

  • Create your own post and title it Travel theme: Gardens
  • Include a link to this page in your post so others can find it too
  • Get your post in by next Thursday, as the new travel theme comes out on Friday
  • Don’t forget to subscribe to keep up to date on the latest weekly travel themes. Sign up via the email subscription link in the sidebar or RSS!

Lead me down the garden path!

xxx Ailsa

Won’t you come into the garden? I would like my roses to see you. – Richard Brinsley Sheridan

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. – Marcus Tullius Cicero


About ailsapm

Hi there! I’m Ailsa Prideaux-Mooney. I’ve lived in many places, and travelled to many more. I had a lot of fun getting there and being there, wherever there happened to be at the time. I climbed a castle wall in Czesky Krumlov, abseiled down cliffs to go caving in the west of Ireland, slept on the beach in Paros, got chased by a swarm of bees in Vourvourou (ok that wasn’t fun, but it was exciting), learned flower arranging in Tokyo, found myself in the middle of a riot in Seoul, learned to snowboard in Salzburg, got lost in a labyrinth in Budapest and had my ice cream stolen by a gull in Cornwall. And I’m just getting started. If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read so far, I’d love you to follow my travelogue - - and remember, anyone who tries to tell you it’s a small world hasn’t tried to see it all.
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142 Responses to Travel theme: Gardens

  1. Pingback: travel theme: gardens | Del's other stuff…

  2. Oh Ailsa – you captured some beautiful gardens here. Being at the tail end of a harsh winter here in the mountains of Virginia, I can’t wait to get my hands in the soil again, see trees blooming and the spring bulbs flowering into their luscious colors. I can’t wait either to do a blog post on gardens but my regular computer with all my images and photoshop to prepare them for blog posts is in the shop. I am having withdrawal symptoms…help!

    • ailsapm says:

      Spring is just around the corner, Beauty. Any day now you’ll be awash with spring colour! In the meantime, hope you get your laptop back soon, looking forward to seeing your post on gardens! xxx Ailsa

  3. Pingback: Travel Theme: Garden | Paths Unwritten

  4. DagEnDauw says:

    Such a magical light in your first picture, Ailsa, I’m totaly enchanted.
    We had hardly a winter this year in Belgium, so evertything is early and flourishing richer than ever. I’m gratefull for the theme you chose this week. So much inspiration in my very neighbourhood …

    Here ‘s already my (first) entry 😉

  5. Ben says:

    I wish I had the intuition for good close-up shots, but I just never have. It tried to guess the water bottle one for a few seconds before reading the description, and I amazed you could get that effect. Very nice shots.

    Mine was more a curiosity in the scenery, a vacant lot in an empty Brooklyn being used as a new co-op garden.

  6. susielindau says:

    I miss the flowers! Gorgeous photos!

  7. Pingback: Travel Theme: Gardens | Ese' s Voice

  8. Ese' s Voice says:

    Beautiful…all of them and in different ways but I am the most drawn to the Zen Garden…probably because I have never been in one/seen one live. We could say – the mystery of unknown… 🙂
    Here’s my stroll through the Sea Garden:

  9. Pingback: Travel Theme: Gardens | Edge of the Forest

  10. Max510 says:

    Hi Ailsa.
    I’m very happy that Rome gives you much inspirations for new challenges…
    Here my entry

  11. suej says:

    Love that first image, Aillsa! I must hunt out some garden images…

  12. Ailsa, I adore the first photo. Dry, yet soft. Lovely!
    Here’s my take on the garden theme:
    Have a great weekend.

  13. nrhatch says:

    Fantastic share (and theme). Especially enjoyed the Bottle Garden and the Cottage Garden in Hampton.

    If you’re interested, you might enjoy this post on Marie Selby Botanical Gardens:

  14. I saw the Jade Flower in a Hawaiian garden for the first time. It’s a beautiful little plant! Thanks for the ‘ray of sunshine’. I’m suffering from the ‘brown blah’s’ at the moment as Calgary transitions from snow to spring. (It’s really ugly at this time of year – but at least the sun is out and the snow is melting!)

  15. Heyjude says:

    Oh my, where do I start. I am passionate about gardens and have several garden posts on my Earth Laughs with Flowers blog: but I shall have a think and come up with one I have not yet written about for the challenge – and then I shall probably spend all weekend looking at others’ posts!! (Piet Oudolf has designed some gardens here in the UK – I have seen the plantings at RHS Wisley. I need to visit Trentham soon)
    Jude xx

  16. lolaWi says:

    love your entires, Ailsa! gorgeous jade flower! here’s my entry:

  17. These are beautiful! I come from a long line of people who love to garden, but sadly, I have a black thumb. 😉

  18. Pingback: Venice’s Secret Garden | Jaspa's Journal

  19. Francesca says:

    The jade plant from Guatemala looks stunning. Here is my garden offering:

  20. Pingback: Travel theme: Gardens « Leya

  21. Leya says:

    Stunning pictures, Ailsa! That jade coloured flower…I would give a great deal to see it with my own eyes!

  22. Just gorgeous, Ailsa. I love being torn between the stark winter weeds and that Jade Vine – how I wanted to grow one when I was in Sri Lanka (I even contemplated smuggling one in from Singapore, can you believe!?!).

  23. Pingback: Travel Theme: GARDENS | THE REWILD WEST

  24. Here’s mine! Gonna try to start getting back in the habit of doing a pictorial post every week again =)

    –Love and Liberation–

    Jan @

  25. Pingback: Paris Gardens | alien shores

  26. Pingback: Travel Theme: Gardens | 963 Thai Days

  27. Pingback: What Grows In Your Garden… | Lillie-Put

  28. Pingback: Travel theme: Gardens | nowathome

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  30. Pingback: Travel theme: Gardens | Kerlundphoto

  31. kerlund74 says:

    Fun theme:) I love gardens, although my entry this week is a bit “overgrown”…

  32. Pingback: Horticulturalist | Le Drake Noir

  33. Pingback: Travel Theme : Gardens | gypsy life

  34. pommepal says:

    I love your garden photos Ailsa, Having just come back from NZ I couldn’t resist this theme.

  35. Harmony says:

    I love all the gardens provided they bring me peace and serenity.Harmony is also very important.
    Nature is essential for healing.I like your photos a lot.

  36. Pingback: Unusual Things You Find Inside a Garden | TRAVEL WORDS

  37. Pingback: Travel theme: Gardens | Witrian's Photofolio

  38. Witrian How says:

    Love your photos especially the 3rd and the 5th.
    Here is my entry:

  39. Pingback: Travel Theme: Gardens (Bogor Botanical Garden) | My Lens and Universe

  40. My challenge for this week is Bogor Botanical Garden, located in the middle of Bogor city, Indonesia. It consists more than 15000 species plants and trees. See my challenges at

  41. Pingback: Travel Theme: Gardens | Geophilia Photography

  42. Heyjude says:

    I’m back, but with a slightly different slant on the theme: Hope you enjoy them 🙂
    Jude xx

  43. Lucid Gypsy says:

    I’ve never seen or heard of the jade plant, how spectacular!

  44. Pingback: Travel Theme: Garden | Sunrise Adventures

  45. DagEnDauw says:

    Look what I found… I posted this some time ago when the theme was “through”. But it fits perfectly for the one from this week too, don’t you think?

    I wish you all a flourishing weekend!

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