How do you like your garden? Wild and untethered? Or a resolute expression of man over nature?
At Parrot & Lily, we have always believed that space limitations should never translate into limited imagination. There is no reason why a standing container garden wall on a balcony can not be inspired by Hadrian’s villa.
On the left is a hydrangea bush at Chateau Auburn in Brittany and on the right is a small but intense potted topiary in Grasse.
Our mind often finds symbols of stability and peace among the daily presence of things that we love and adore. How we put together our garden is a culmination of our travels (think Provence and Tuscany), childhood books we’ve read (Beatrix Potter, AA Milne, Lewis Carroll), and the feeling of living inside liberty mills’ fabric. A good garden is indeed a return to childhood.
A good garden design is far from superficial. Everything is considered- garden paths should be wide enough to allow two people to stroll hand in hand, the potted orchid on your desk should represent an artistic inclination but also deep analytical thought. Nothing should be noticed but equally no detail should be ignored. Sounds daunting, doesn’t it?
We believe everything about design should be intentional- every detail hand picked and custom-made. An exquisite blend of nature and man, plants and art. Creativity and complex engineering knowledge must be combined to achieve this harmony.
On the left is Château de Villandry and on the right is a small fountain in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape country side.
There was a time when wealth and power were expressed by building grand gardens. In carefully manicured Italian Renaissance gardens, grottoes, fountains, imposing terraces and other elements were combined to delight but mostly impress. Symmetry and harmony were key. Design was focused around lines of sight, drawing the visitor to a niche or fountain at the end of a seemingly endless vanishing point. Trees were planted geometrically in a quincunx pattern so that symmetry was achieved in every direction. To put it colloquially- there were simply no bad angles.
There are no magical proportions to achieve this. But there is an inexplicable sensation that prevails when design is done right. It is a series of minuscule details which come together to make the harmonious whole.
The winery of Quivy Gerard is featured on the left and on the right is a magical corner is Uzes.
Later Mannerist gardens took a more dramatic turn, challenging classical proportions in favour of capturing the moment of revelation and disturbance. The garden was now a theatre, making use of mythical creatures and the element of surprise. It is from these classical and anti-classical gardens that we derive our inspiration.
A private walled garden in Paghman Valley, outside Kabul, where a gentle stream carries th fresh mountain water of the Kabul river in the summer. Doesn’t get more idyllic than this.
The idea is to carefully express creativity in three dimensions, embracing the challenge of a living palette that changes with every season while maintaining your own unerring style sensibility. Powerful people of the past had propaganda motives to project control, stability and prosperity. We are simply seeking a meditative effect.
A garden should be the beginning of a ceaseless interest, passion and pleasure. All in equal measures. Are you prepared to apply the principles of Villa di Castello to your patio garden? We may lend you a helping hand very soon.