Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The New Prairie Garden at Axel Vervoordt's Castle, Kasteel van's-Gravenwezel Belgium

Axel and May Vervoordt's new prairie garden was based off their love of abstract expressionist paintings, and was featured in this month's Vogue, July 2015  photographed by Jean-Pierre Gabriel.  Living in California in the middle of a drought I have been craving anything green with color.   The colors in the Vervoordt's garden are windswept and lush, changing with the seasons, perfect for cuttings for the home.  The 12th century castle sits on a 62 acre park with ponds, a canal, and gardens designed by the famous Belgian designer Jacques Wirtz.   It's just beautiful.

"Since we travel so much, our favorite vacation is simply to stay at

 home.  We spend as much time in the garden as possible eating all 

meals out there, to take advantage of the changing light.   Even 

when it rains we sit in the greenhouse."

-Axel Vervoordt

Along side of the orangery heleniums, achilleas, and echinacea are just a few of over 750 species of plants that grow here.

"Traditionally a prairie would be dominated by a variety of 

grasses, May and I chose the perennial plants and flowers we love 

that look natural and wild, and classified them by color, 

fading from yellow to orange, red, purple, and blue."  

- Axel Vervoordt

Painter Piet Raemdonck's prairie garden plan in mixed-media.  This would be lovely hung on a potting room's wall.

Once the castle's stables, now used for private dinners, the canal divides the large building from an organic potager, the inspiration for May's 2012 cookbook At Home with May and Axel Vervoordt.

Remnants of the past garden, the formal clipped boxwood gives visual structure to the wild prairie plants.

The tower of Kasteel van's-Gravenwezel

"In the past, I was always frustrated with the garden 

when things were not right.  

But since we have the prairie garden, I'm much more relaxed"

"We are not trying to rule nature; 

we are letting nature be the boss."

-Axel Vervoordt

An arbor deliciously covered in wisteria and passion flowers for en plein air dining.

To see the entire article visit: www.vogue.com

Friday, July 24, 2015

Living La Dolce Vita: Positano, Italy with Giada De Laurentiis

While watching the new series Giada in Italy from Food Network filmed entirely in Positano Italy, where the water is crystal-blue, and cascading flowers and lush greens flow from the quaint city nestled into the hill-side, I was struck by the beautiful location with it's breathtaking views, scenic beaches and a pool literally carved from a cliff...  I was curious did Giada buy a villa in Italy?   As it turns out the Set is filmed at the Torre Sponda a private and gated compound overlooking Positano Bay, with 5 beautiful villas to choose from.  Giada's villa is the beautiful Casa Grande and while it has been "re-fluffed" for the series it is a gorgeous, luxurious vacation rental with the most amazing views.

In the 1940's John Steinbeck visited Positano and it became a life long destination for him.  His visits launched Positano into the International Jet Set, drawing Jackie Kennedy, movie stars, and the wealthy of the world to vacation there.

Giada and her daughter Jade - photo courtesy of The Food Network


Venetian chandelier, blue linen patterned headboard and rich sun-dried tomato red chairs...  photo - The Food Network



Because I love blue and white, I had to show one of the bedrooms from another of Torre Sponda's villas: Piccola Cisterna... it's fresh and charming.  

Positano and the villas at Torre Sponda are gorgeous!  I wonder if Giada will have a guest spot next season ... a girl can dream.    Ciao!

All photos of Torre Sponda & Positano: www.positano-torresponda.com

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Another American in Paris: Tory Burch Flagship Boutique

Another American in Paris
412, rue Saint-Honoré, Paris is just a stone's throw from the Louvre and the first flagship store of Tory Burch in France.  First Ralph Lauren with his beautiful boutique and restaurant Ralph's, and now Tory's gorgeous boutique, designed of course by architect Daniel Romualdez who designed the rest of Tory's stores and her personal home.  With Madeleine Castaing rugs, brass fretwork étagéres, French oak chairs and white washed floors, Syrian tables with mother-of pearl inlay the design is pure Tory and it's absolutely breathtaking.    Sigh...

Day in the Life, Tory in Paris:  Have you ever wondered what a typical day of fashion designer Tory Burch looks like in Paris on a Monday starting at 8:30 am until 12:30 am the next day?  Beginning with the 6th & 7th arrondissement Tory shares with us her day, read the rest of the article here on TORY DAILY

Also currently on Tory Daily is her Paris Issue:  TORY'S CITY GUIDE
Where you will learn Tory's favorite haunts she has been visiting in Paris for decades: Artisanal SHOPS,  where to EAT for a spectacular dinner or an after dinner chocolate, and What you shouldn't miss from Musée Rodin, Palais Galliera, and more in her SEE section.

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