Subject: Re: favorite gardens
Dear John,

We are garden lovers, and gardeners, too, and we really enjoy a visit to a great garden. We were sorely disappointed when the gardens at Stourhead, not far from Stonehenge, were closed during our visit, but the closing led us to explore more of the park at Stourhead, which deserves all its fame.

We loved the many gardens at Hampton Court Palace, and for spring flowers, these may be the most beautiful gardens I've ever seen. We were blessed to be there when the wisteria was in full bloom, and this was truly memorable.

In Winchester, there is a hidden little garden at the Hospital that Trollope based The Warden on, which can be visited during limited hours. It is very peaceful and pretty.

In Washington DC, the National Arboretum has many lovely gardens. This is a great place to visit, because when the rest of DC is too hot and/or crowded, the National Arboretum, off the tourist trail, is blessedly quiet and cool. There is also a lovely garden at the National Cathedral.

In Vancouver, the Japanese garden at the University of British Columbia, just a stone's throw from the incredible Anthropological Mueum, is peaceful and gorgeous. We also recommend the Japanese garden in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

In New York's Central Park, the Shakespeare Garden is fun to visit. This garden, surrounding the Castle, is really better for its placement and views than for spectacular plantings. On the subject of Central Park, in October, we took a long walk through the Park from 95 Street to Central Park West, and on the way, we encountered a group near the Dairy that was asking for volunteers to plant bulbs. We were very happy to join in, because it felt to us that we were helping the city to heal its horrible wounds, and also because we were married in Central Park. The site of our wedding, the Duck Pond, has been torn up for two years for renovations. We can't wait until they are done and the area is restored to its former beauty.

In Paris, I think the prettiest gardens I've seen are those behind and on the south side of Notre Dame. All the crowds are in front of the Cathedral, but the gardens in the back and on the side are very pretty and not too crowded. The garden area behind Notre Dame leads to the Holocaust Memorial.

In Lucca Italy the bijoux gardens of the Palazzo Pfanner are very pretty.

If you are coming to Pittsburgh, there are very nicely laid out gardens to the side of the Phipps Conservatory that deserve a visit. I was impressed when I first saw this new area a few years ago.

Regards, Debbie in Pittsburgh, where it is almost time to garden!