The June issue of Gardens Illustrated, a stunningly well photographed and written British magazine, has a feature on romantic retreat gardens. From a cottage in Sussex to a moated castle in Oxfordshire, the gardens are flowery idylls; it's a gorgeous issue. Just when I was mooning around over roses and iris, ancient golden stone and pink peonies, my friend Thomas Allsopp sent me a photo of his fragrant garden that is every bit as heart-stirringly appealing.
Thomas is a garden designer, a painter, and the chaplain at Seattle Children's Hospital. His little garden is a continually changing work of art, rich in classical sculpture, potted plants, evocative vignettes, fragrant flowers, places to sit and relax, all squeezed into minute garden rooms wrapped around his wine-colored home near Greenlake. (See more photos and my story about Thomas's garden in Pacific Northwest mag here).
Influenced by trips to Europe, Thomas is fond of formalism and classicism, which is perhaps why his garden reminds me of the estates in Gardens Illustrated, albeit on a much smaller and more personal scale. His garden teaches so much, and in such a pleasant way, about the value of structure, hedging, and especially how to make the most of every inch of your garden.
Here's an evening photo of Thomas's fragrant garden, complete with columns, candelabra, statuary, pediments, and swathes of ivy. Isn't this a romantic little corner? Then add the olfactory dimension, for the garden is perfumed by lemon lavender, heliotrope, clove pinks, roses, lemon verbena and scented-leafed geranium, and you have a little bit of Europe by Greenlake.