Formal Gardens – Everything You Need to Know

Formal Gardens – Everything You Need to Know

In strict terms, a formal garden is one that is entirely symmetrical, with one side mirrored by the other in a highly planned geometric pattern. Although there are many gardens of which this is true, formal gardens have now also come to signify a design that is laid out with a degree of geometry and regularity, and with stylised planting – not necessarily with mirror images.

From the simplicity of a lawn punctuated by a single island bed to the complexity of an intricate knot garden, many types of formal garden may be planned. However simple they may be, formal designs are typically ordered and elegant, well proportioned and balanced, and often strongly symmetrical or patterned.

Features typically include straight paths, closely mown lawns, borders defined by low hedges or edging plants, neatly clipped hedges or topiary, framed vistas and focal points, formal bedding in blocks of strong colour, and, on occasion, knot gardens and parterres.

Formal gardens require very regular and precise maintenance and are usually very labour-intensive. The more regular the design, the more any slight flaws will stand out.

The Principles of the Formal Garden Style

Many historic gardens were formal in design, and geometry has been used in garden styles from the very earliest times. Persian and Egyptian gardens relied on a formal structure of hard landscape, often within a courtyard, in which planting, pergolas and water features would be laid out in a symmetrical pattern. The great Moorish gardens were largely formal, as were the sumptuous gardens of Renaissance Italy.

These gardens echoed the architectural styles of the day, and were designed to supply a strong visual connection between garden and house. In fact, any garden should do just that, but a formal style typically relies more heavily on the adjoining building for its inspiration. If the architecture of the house is classical, then formality in the garden should reflect this with features such as stone or gravel paths, parterres, stone paving, balustrading, formal pools, clipped hedging and framed views.

Of course, a building does not need to be classical to have an adjoining formal garden, but it does need to be a building with some character of its own. In this way, a formal garden could suit a Georgian house or a Victorian villa, but it could also suit a modern architect-designed building, reflecting the regularity of the house and providing a harmonious link between the inside and outside. However, a formal garden is less likely to work well with a pre-war semi or a developer’s house on a modern estate. These tend not to have a balanced facade or strong layout, so an asymmetrical design would probably look, and certainly feel, more comfortable in these cases.

A feeling of formality may be achieved by creating classicism and symmetry in simple ways: by planting two or a number of symmetrically placed trees; by placing pots or urns on either side of a gateway; or perhaps by positioning clipped shrubs to flank a front door.

Such a strictly architectural style requires that plants be used to emphasise and embellish rather than dominate. Hedging, which can be close clipped, is the often one of the most important features of the formal garden. Many hedges are made from clipped and severely restricted trees, for example, limes can be ‘pleached’ to make a narrow hedge on clear trunks or ‘stilts’. Fruit trees, carefully pruned for the purpose, can also be used to form linear barriers, and window-like holes can be even be carved into these hedges to create clairvoyees.

Formal gardens rely heavily on surfaces for much of their impact, and the lawn is important for this reason. Colours are often muted in the formal garden, with green predominating, and the lawn acts as a subtle foil to other shades of green, such as the black-green of yew.

Strictly speaking, plants should not be allowed to spill over on to hedges and paths, or otherwise break up the strict architectural lines of the garden. However, some gardeners bend the rules and plant informally within the formal framework. This often involves planting drifts of flowers in the borders, and using a larger range of plant material than would be strictly appropriate for the traditional formal garden. This method of planting undoubtedly softens the impact of the formal lines, but that loss is often compensated by the splendour of the plants.

Classical Gardens

The formal gardens of ancient Rome and Greece were the inspiration for the impressive palatial and villa gardens of France and Italy in the 17th and 18th centuries. The essential qualities of these classical gardens are their strong symmetrical and architectural designs, which closely follow the scale and proportion of the building that they adjoin.

Italianate gardens are often set on elevated sites, with terraced gardens and flights of steps leading to long, shaded walks, cascades, fountains and canals. The cooling effects of water and avenues or canopies of trees are all part of the pleasures of these gardens, especially in the hot, Mediterranean climate.

The terraces might contain parterre designs with symmetrically positioned topiary pyramids or obelisks and box-lined scrolls of flowerbeds. Other typical features include balustrades, statuary, and well-proportioned vases or urns for ornamental plants.

Colour is generally limited to the dark green of the plants, the pale colours of the stone and gravel, and the white waters.

Many of these classical features may be integrated into contemporary garden designs to create a sense of grace, formality, and ordered tranquillity. Even in a relatively small area, the careful consideration to proportion, scale, balance, and harmony seen in classical gardens may be reproduced to create a simple, effective design.

Knot Gardens

Knot gardens were particularly popular in the 16th century, and took the form of abstract patterns and interlacing bands containing coloured plants, sands or gravels, marked out and framed by low hedges.

They were grown with a variety or aromatic plants and culinary herbs, such as Germander, marjoram, thyme, southernwood, lemon balm, hyssop, costmary, acanthus, mallow, chamomile, rosemary, Calendulas, Violas and Santolina. Most knot gardens had edges made from Box (Buxus sempervirens), whose foliage has a sweet smell when bruised.

The patterns often took their inspiration from the knots and strapwork patterns of English Elizabethan and Tudor plaster ceiling decorations and needlework. So that this intricate detail can be truly appreciated, knot gardens are often best viewed from above, and they should be designed so that can be seen easily from a house window or raised terrace.

Given the right setting and a well-drained, level site, knot gardens are not difficult to create and are straightforward to maintain. The patterns should be kept simple; this will ensure a pleasing design, and ensure that maintenance will not be too time-consuming.

Some suitable plants for the hedges include cotton lavender (Santolina chamaecyparissus) and dwarf box (Teucrium chamaedrys). If you decide to use plants rather than coloured sand or gravel to fill in the areas between the hedges, choose those that are in keeping with the character and scale of the design; as a rule, low-growing plants are suitable, although more unusual plantings, for example, succulents such as houseleeks (Sempervivum), may also he considered.

Do bear in mind that any weeds that appear on the gravel surfaces should be removed by hand, as weedkillers could damage the shallow-rooting hedges.


A parterre is a formal garden construction on a level surface consisting of planting beds edged in stone or tightly clipped hedging and gravel paths, arranged to form a pleasing pattern. Often confused with knot gardens, parterres are larger in scale, and consist of ambitious and complicated designs, with flowering, scroll-like patterns or symbolic themes.

The pattern outlines are typically formed from low hedges of box, with the area in between the hedges filled with dense, colourful bedding plants, gravels of different hues or plants with muted pastel shades. There may also be evergreen shrubs trimmed into precise globes or pyramids, and other clipped, formal shapes in box or yew. A parterre should always be in scale with the size of the house or adjacent terrace.

Parterres became very popular in the Victorian and Edwardian periods, especially in public gardens and parks, where they were transformed into extravagant bedding schemes and complex floral displays.


Topiary is the art of creating sculptures in the medium of clipped shrubs and sub-shrubs. The word derives from the Latin word for an ornamental landscape gardener: topiarius. For over 2,000 years, the art and craft of topiary has been practised in gardens; with time, patience, and suitable plants, “living sculptures” can be produced.

Topiary is often used in formal gardens to add shape, height, and sculptural interest; well-clipped pyramids, columns or spirals are used to emphasise the proportion and symmetry of a design. A single piece of topiary can provide a strong focal point, whilst several clipped trees or shrubs can supply the garden with a design cornerstone.

Simple, geometric shapes such as cones or spheres are usually the best forms of topiary for a formal or classical garden, although more whimsical styles such as animals, birds, or objects (such as chess pieces) can add a lively and witty touch. These more elaborate forms may be suitable in both formal and informal gardens, depending on the style, but would be out of place in a wild or naturalistic garden setting.

Slow-growing, dense evergreen plants are the best sources for topiary, such as cultivars of box (Buxus sempervirens), bay laurel (Laurus nobilis), yew (Taxus spp.), myrtle (Eugenia spp., Myrtus spp.), holly (Ilex spp.) and privet (Ligustrum spp.). Ivies (Hedera) may also be clipped and trained over frames to form various shapes.

In our Topiary section, we look at how you can create your own simple or complex topiary pieces, and offer you step-by-step guides to clipping and maintenance.

Sunken Gardens

Changes of level, even relatively small ones, can provide interesting features in a garden. A well-planned sunken garden can add a feeling of adventure and space, as well as bringing another dimension to the design.

Traditional sunken gardens were usually rectangular or square, enclosed by walls, and bordered by paved paths or raised grass so that they could be seen from above. The layout was typically simple and geometrical, with flowerbeds divided by a symmetrical framework of walkways and paths, perhaps with a central sculptural feature, such as a sundial or fountain.

As they are lower than the rest of the garden, sunken gardens are often secluded and sheltered, with a secret, sanctuary-like quality that is particularly restful and appealing. Formal bedding, herbs, and roses lend themselves particularly well for use in sunken gardens.

Edward has been writing for the web and offline publications for over 5 years. His latest writings at cover the popular nasal hair trimmer grooming product and offer informmation and advice about them.

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Bird Control for Yards and Gardens

Bird Control for Yards and Gardens

While it’s nice to have rows of flowers in the garden, it’s not so nice to watch flocks of birds destroy your hard work. Without effective bird control, pest birds such as sparrows, swallows, pigeons and crows can and will invade your yard or garden to feed themselves and their young. Blackbirds, starlings, and robins will waste no time yanking out tasty corn seedlings, or chewing into ripening cherries, peaches and blueberries. They also won’t hesitate to crater your lawn while they dig for bugs.


Depending on the weather and the surrounding food supply, birds will have a field day in your garden. In dry years, for example, birds will eat many different fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes and melons. In the absence of bird control, some birds can quickly wipe out an entire berry patch or grain field, aggressively attacking a particular crop they happen to fancy.


And as much as we love to hear them sing, even songbirds will attack your garden at various times of the year. These birds will go after broccoli, corn, green peas, snap peas, apples, apricots, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, currants, grapes, peaches, pears, plums, raspberries and strawberries. You’ll know you have a problem if patches of young seedlings completely disappear, or the tops of your young plants are chewed off, or if you notice bites taken out of the berries as they ripen.


Time to Defend your Garden!


You don’t have to resort to poisons, firearms or deadly traps to keep birds out of your garden. Today, you can avail yourself of many highly effective and humane bird control measures. Some of the more popular approaches are listed below:


Bird Sonic Systems


These handy devices strike fear in birds’ hearts but they won’t harm a feather on their little bodies. Unlike “loud bang” noisemakers that only scare birds temporarily and do nothing to prevent them from returning, Sonic Bird Deterrents offer an effective solution. They broadcast predator and distress calls that make pest birds feel threatened. They recreate the sounds of Peregrine falcons defending their territory (very scary if you’re a pigeon); or they imitate predator hawks screeching and gulls under attack (equally frightening if you’re a starling or seagull). These sounds persuade birds to leave post haste. The best sonic bird deterrents can be programmed to emit distress and predator calls day and night. It is suggested to continually alter the frequency, timing and intensity of their sounds, which prevents birds from becoming too accustomed to the threat.


Hawk Decoys

No bird likes to eat while a predator is watching. Fortunately, most birds have a natural fear of hawks, which hunt during the day–the time most birds like to feed. Hawk Decoys work quite well in gardens. They’re easy to mount and display, and the better designed ones look very real. Made of heavy duty plastic, quality hawk decoys are weather- and water-resistant. They can be hung from rafters or overhangs, or simply placed anywhere your garden is being threatened by pest birds. Some decoys are hollow, so you can fill them with sand for added stability.


Bird Netting

If they can’t get at your garden, they can’t eat or destroy it. Bird netting uses the exclusion principle of bird control to humanely deter birds from your garden. To stop a full variety of birds, bird netting now comes in many types and mesh sizes.

One type of bird netting that’s ideal for protecting gardens is Ultra Net. This low-profile netting is designed to keep pest birds away from fruit trees, bushes and gardens. The lightweight netting is constructed of tough, U.V.-protected polypropylene, yet it blends in aesthetically with its surroundings. Ultra Net comes in 3/4-, 1/2-, and 1/4-inch mesh sizes and is available in bulk rolls or pieces to suit a specific area requirement. The netting has been widely used to stop pigeons, swallows, crows, gulls and sparrows from invading and destroying gardens and trees.

Setting up an Ultra Net barrier is quite simple. If you want to protect your vegetable gardens, wrap individual plants in netting or suspend the netting around the entire garden area to lock out pest birds. For blueberry bushes and grape vines, suspend the netting about six inches over the bush or vine. This will prevent pest birds from perching on the net and eating fruit through the mesh. Another way to suspend Ultra Net is to attach it to a series of poles surrounding the perimeter. To protect fruit trees, cut the netting one-foot wider than the diameter of the tree’s crown and secure the netting with twine, zip ties or hog rings.




For gardens and yards, there’s one high-tech bird control device you simply can’t overlook–the Scarecrow. Basically a motion-activated sprinkler, no pest bird alive will ever stand up to its intimidating yet harmless deterrence. Any bird that dares to wander within its radius of protection (approx. 25 fee out and 35 feet wide) will trigger a motion-activated and very sobering blast of water. Perfect for gardens, backyards, pools, spas and other outdoor areas, Scarecrows get the job done. The sudden water spray, realistic moving bird head, and sprinkler sound combine to create one effective bird control deterrent. Best of all, the Scarecrow is both an energy and water miser, protecting your garden day and night for up to 6 months (or 3000+ activations) on one 9-volt battery.



Alex Kecskes is a freelance writer focusing on effective, humane bird control. To learn more about protecting your garden from birds, visit Absolute Bird Control – the leading online distributor of bird control products.

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Choose Ashton Gardens For Your Wedding Reception Venue

Choose Ashton Gardens For Your Wedding Reception Venue

Ashton Gardens is associated with everything good and unique. At this magnificent venue, you just do not find a perfect setting in a beautiful space, but lots more which are equally stunning. Whether it is your flowers, your food, or your music, every thing has been perfectly designed to make the ceremony a truly once in a life time affair. It is because of such top of the drawer personalized services that Ashton Garden finds favor with couples who share a taste for everything tasteful and matchless.


No other place can guarantee you an experience as priceless and peerless as Ashton Garden. The safe enclosure assures you a smooth ceremony at any hour of the day. The venue comes with spacious Bridal Dressing Suites and a cozy and warm Family Lounge. For the male members of the party there is a wonderful Groom’s Lounge meant for perfect relaxation.



The wedding reception comprises two spectacular ballrooms with floor to ceiling windows. After the wedding is over, guests can assemble in these majestic rooms and marvel at the sight of the lush dense private forest. If guests assemble here in the evening they can find themselves in fantastic atmosphere lit by the warm lights of crystal chandeliers and large colorful candles. The majestic staircase has been designed for a photo session with your guests.



Like the one of a kind setting of the venue, Ashton Garden can serve your guests food which also will be unique and one of a kind. Serving to your own idea of what a perfect wedding meal is, the unique food of Ashton Garden offers an array of flexible options. If you want, the team will tailor an exquisite menu for you. And what is great, is that you can get it for all budgets.



Choose Ashton Garden as your wedding venue, and cherish delightful memories for the rest of your life!

Located in Houston, TX Ashton Gardens is a premier special events facility and wedding reception venue. We encourage you to visit Ashton Gardens when you need a special event venue, corporate event venue or wedding ceremony and wedding chapel..

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Easy Gardens Volume 13 Bird Sanctuary Plus Butterfly and Hummingbird Gardens

Easy Gardens Volume 13 Bird Sanctuary Plus Butterfly and Hummingbird Gardens

“Easy Gardens Volume 13 – Bird Sanctuary Plus Butterfly and Hummingbird Gardens” explains how to create a beautiful shady or sunny garden filled with butterflies and birds (including hummingbirds) with little or no work. Learn which water features, food, flowers, climbers, bushes and trees attract birds and butterflies.
For 20 years I lived in Philadelphia and enjoyed watching the birds (including hummingbirds) and butterflies in my shady and sunny perennial gardens. The gardens bloomed and looked beautiful 12 months a year with little or no maintenance. You, too, can do this. It seems almost unbelievable, but in one year you can have fun and watch your easy garden grow.
SELECT A QUICK AND EASY GARDEN STYLE to match your needs. Decide what you want to do in your garden, look at the physical layout and shape of your garden, choose the color and texture of your flowers, bulbs, bushes and trees by following the easy steps presented in 168 pages.
PREPARE THE SOIL or use the container or raised bed designs which do not require digging.
SELECT THE PLANTS by growing season so that you can have flowers every year with little work. Each year they will grow, bloom and die back on their own. Do the work one year and reap the harvest for many years to come.
PLANT YOUR PLANTS AND BULBS so that few weeds can grow, water them the easy way and enjoy your slice of Heaven.
Learn about selecting, planting and enjoying TREES AND BUSHES as they become beautiful every year with their blossoms, fruit, colorful leaves and berries. You can also select evergreen trees and shrubs so that you have a wide range of colors, shapes and designs in your garden year around.
Valuable information is also included on compost, fertilizer, mulch, weeds, disease and where you can find bargains and FREE PLANTS.
Enjoy “Easy Gardens Volume 13” (with 168 pages) so that you can have a beautiful garden 12 months a year filled with birds and butterflies by following these simple steps. You can also purchase the complete book, “Easy Gardens A to Z,” at or It has 348 pages and includes all the information from the separate volumes and more!
The original “Easy Gardens A to Z” is a compilation of all I have read and learned firsthand over the years. It is written in a format both beginning and experienced gardeners will find easy to follow, using common names for plants.
It requires little or no maintenance for your garden to look beautiful year around if you follow the directions in “Easy Gardens A to Z”—the only book you need to purchase. Guided by the table of contents, you will readily find answers to all your questions on the 348 pages:
* FROM designing your garden by following the easy steps in the 47 complete garden designs plus HUNDREDS of other design ideas;
* TO designing decks, paths and water features;
* TO preparing your soil or using the no-dig raised bed designs;
* TO planting and maintaining shady and sunny perennial and annual flowers, vegetables, fruits, bulbs, grasses, climbers, bushes and trees;
* TO dealing with garden compost, fertilizer, pests, weeds and disease;
* TO reaping your harvest.
Each page of “Easy Gardens A to Z” is filled with a wealth of ideas and easy directions on how to create your own little slice of paradise.
“Your gardening book is very concise and practical. If one puts into practice the instructions and information that you have parlayed – spectacular gardens will be the end result. Well done.” Margarita Kybartas
“Your garden in Philadelphia was spectacular. You used a lot of land and it wasn’t difficult to always have something in bloom.” Betsy Weiss

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Budget Veggie Gardens From Kitchen Scraps

Budget Veggie Gardens From Kitchen Scraps

It does not matter whether you put your kitchen scraps in the compost or the bin, did you know that you could grow many of your favourite fruit or vegetables from those scraps. Indeed, unless your compost is very well matured you will find stray veggie seedlings may appear wherever you deposit the compost.

Take for instance those potato peelings, if it is a fairly thick section of peel with an eye (shoot), then you can often get these to grow into full potato plants. Another indication that a potato is only good for planting or throwing out is the colour. If the potato is starting to look fairly green on the skin then *DO NOT EAT*, as it is an indication that it is producing a poisonous substance common in the nightshade family to which it as well as the tomatoes, chillies and capsicums belong. You can also get sweet potatoes and taros to grow from sections of the tubers.

Have you ever tried to plant or thought about trying to plant the seeds from a particularly nice tomato, capsicum, chili, watermelon or pumpkin? While any plants grown from such seed may vary quite a lot from the parent fruit, you can still achieve fairly good results from them if you are on a tight budget.

The plants grown from seeds of many of your kitchen scraps will not produce fruit to the same high standard as the original fruit/vegetables because of the complicated interbreeding programs put into place by the big seed companies. However the progeny can give a very wide range of resulting offspring. But if you come across one or two particularly good plants in the resulting season, then reuse the seeds of that and always-in future pick the best fruit from the best plants for your future propagation material.

Though there are some veggies in the kitchen where it is not possible to grow them from the seed in the fruit. These are those vegetables where the edible fruit is still in an immature state and the seed is not yet viable. These fruit/veggies include the cucumbers, okra and squashes to name just a few. This is because the fruit when it reaches a stage where the seed is viable is just too big and coarse for human consumption.

If you leave the top of a pineapple out in a shady spot for a week or so during warm weather, then strip back the lower dead leaves. You may even notice some small juvenile roots already forming at the base of the plant top. One thing to remember with pineapples is that it is a species of bromeliad. And as such it requires the same moist but well drained growing conditions.

When the garlic cloves are starting to get a green sprout coming out of the top, it is a pretty good indication, that it might be a good idea to plant them out individually for a good harvest in about 8-10 months time of this fairly expensive herb plant.

Treat it like any member of the onion tribe, because they like moist, well drained soil and a fair amount of feeding during the growing season. Harvest as the tops are dying back. But let them dry out in a cool but airy place, before you try to use them back in the kitchen.

Another fruit/vegetable along a similar line is corn, try leaving a fresh, uncooked cob of sweet corn in a shady dry spot for a couple of weeks, then you can strip the kernels away from the cob and plant them. A quicker suggestion is to grab a handful of corn kernels out of a packet of popping corn, The only comment would be that corn grown from these seeds would not be as sweet or juicy as sweet corn, and in reality would be better dried and used as popping corn.

Why not try growing your own peanuts? Always only using the raw nuts, and only choosing those nuts, which are still whole and encased in the brown skin. Peanuts can be grown during warmer weather in most parts of Australia. One of the fascinating things about peanuts is that they are one of the only plants which flower set fruit and then bury and pre plant their own seed ready for later germination. Yes the peanut, which is dug from the ground, is actually a fruit buried by the parent plant, after flowering.

You can always grow your own ginger; all it takes is a section of the root, purchased from a greengrocer. Plant it in a well drained but moist soil. Allowing plenty of room for the plant to spread out. You can be harvesting your own ginger roots within about 8-12 months.

Whether you have got a long fence, chook pen or an unsightly shed to cover, why not try planting a choko. The Vine can be very prolific, as long as you keep the moisture and fertilizer up to it.

Though once it is established, it can be left to fend for itself, and will still produce a steady supply of fruit for the family. If you have a few dollars why not look at purchasing some of the heritage or heirloom seed ranges of Fruit and vegetables. Many seed firms as well as organizations like the Seed Savers Network have many fascinating and unusual varieties of plants available for the home gardener to grow.

Of course once you have various plants growing in your veggie garden don’t forget to keep some propagating material back ( whether it is root sections, seed or divisions), for future plantings. Also you should think about letting certain plants like lettuce, parsley and basil go to seed, for planting later. I regularly have to weed my lawns around the gardens for rouge seedlings of the above plants. Such spare seedling weeds are easily replanted or swapped with other gardeners for plants I don’t yet have, or given to school and/or charity plant stalls. It is useful to have weeds that other people want and are willing to pay for.

While it usually not a good idea to try and propagate most of the tree fruit, simply from a time perspective and again because the results can also be very variable. It is still interesting to try even if you only end up getting a pot plant out of the results. It is possible to grow the seeds of such trees as mangoes, citrus, avocado, apple, pear, etc. While the fruit of some species simply have no viable seed at all eg, bananas. There is however a few, which readily lend themselves to home propagation eg, pawpaw (papaya), tree tomatoes, unroasted coffee beans, etc. I remember as a child, accidentally germinated a coconut palm, from throwing the mostly eaten out shell onto a garden bed for a few months.

Another suggestion for those of you out there, who are visited by birds to your garden, why not take a handful of birdseed and plant it out in an out of the way section of your garden. These bird friendly plants like Sunflower, oats, sorghum, etc, can be a real bonus for many native birds to supplement their diet. Many of the seeds in any packet of birdseed are very viable.

When my kids were younger and I was showing them such wonders, I used to have trouble convincing them that I could not do similar things in growing and multiplying with a variety of items of importance to them at the time, from toys to chocolate, lollies and even coins.

The Bare Bones Gardener is a qualified Horticulturist and a qualified Disability Services Worker. He hates spending money on stuff which doesn’t live up to the promises given. So he looks for cheaper, easier, simpler or free ways of doing the same thing and then he passes these ideas on to others.

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Grey Gardens (HBO)

Grey Gardens (HBO)

  • Based on the life stories of the eccentric aunt and first cousin of Jackie Kennedy, starring Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange, GREY GARDENS tells the tender, intimate story of an eccentric mother and daughter (both named Edith Bouvier Beale aka “Big and Little Edie”). They were raised as Park Avenue d butantes but withdrew from New York society, taking shelter at their Long Island summer home, “Gr

Based on the life stories of the eccentric aunt and first cousin of Jackie Kennedy, starring Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange, Grey Gardens tells the tender, intimate story of an eccentric mother and daughter (both named Edith Bouvier Beale aka “Big and Little Edie”). They were raised as Park Avenue débutantes but withdrew from New York society, taking shelter at their Long Island summer home, “Grey Gardens .” As their wealth and contact with the outside world dwindled, so did their grasp on reality. They were reintroduced to the world when international tabloids learned of a health department raid on their home, and Jackie swooped in to save her relatives. Based on the lives that inspired the Maysles Brothers’ classic documentary.It’s hard to imagine a feature film that could improve upon the classic 1975 Hamptons-gothic documentary Grey Gardens, co-directed by Albert and David Maysles. Yet this Grey Gardens, directed by Michael Sucsy for HBO Films, captures not only the pathos and peculiarity of Edith Beale, mère et fille–aristocrats who were aunt and cousin to former first lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy–but it provides something deeper and richer: the background story of the glamorous Beale ladies, and a glimpse at how they slid from gay 1930s high society to sharing rotting living quarters with litters of cats and raccoons.

Drew Barrymore, the Grey Gardens standout, rises to the particular challenge of playing “Little Edie” Beale, whose accent, carriage, and mannerisms have developed their own camp following over the years. Barrymore’s performance is a revelation: she captures the weirdness of Edie, but she knows what the documentary fans know–the reality of what Edie once had been, and what she was becoming. Barrymore’s performance is delicate and strong, with a hint of sadness underneath the fading ingénue’s brave face. Jessica Lange plays “Big Edie,” the mother who made more concrete choices to wall herself off from the outside world. Lange is excellent, though Big Edie is a less nuanced character than her daughter, and she seems more content with her lot, perched in her teeming twin bed surrounded by mounds of cats and trash.

The filmmakers pay deep homage to the documentary, and carefully recreate the third lead character of the drama–the East Hampton, N.Y., mansion Grey Gardens itself. The making-of featurette is a must-have for fans of either film, as the filmmakers and actors talk about how they built a three-story facsimile of the home near Toronto (which also stands in for the Manhattan scenes). Also fascinating is the story of how certain beloved sets from the documentary were painstakingly re-created, including the Beales’ yellow bedroom, the entryway that played stage to the dancing aspirations of Little Edie, and the crumbling porch and yard where Edie would pose and prance, decked out in tights, shorts, a pinned-up skirt, and her signature sweater-snood, fastened with a brooch just so. “Well, Mother and I are very entertaining, that’s true,” says Little Edie, when the Maysles first approach her about cooperating in their documentary. And, happily, viewers of HBO’s Grey Gardens could not agree more. –A.T. Hurley

Stills from Grey Gardens (click for larger image)

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Price: $ 15.90

Garden Design (1-year auto-renewal)

Garden Design is a lifestyle magazine designed for the upscale, design-conscious reader who is passionate about gardening and landscape design. Regular columns cover unusual plants, art and ornaments, tools and maintenance, landscape and lighting, water gardens, sunrooms, and outdoor furniture. The magazine also contains photo layouts of spectacular gardens, how-to articles, design resources, a buyer’s guide, gardening tips, and information about events and garden shows.

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Rain Gardens

A rain garden is an attractive landscaping feature planted with perennial native plants. It is a bowl-shaped garden, designed to absorb stormwater run-off from impervious surfaces such as roofs and parking lots.
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Emaar MGF Palm Gardens Gurgaon : Emaar MGF Palm Gardens : Palm Gardens Gurgaon : Palm Gardens Sector 83 Gurgaon : Residential Apartment : Emaar MGF

Emaar MGF Palm Gardens Gurgaon : Emaar MGF Palm Gardens : Palm Gardens Gurgaon : Palm Gardens Sector 83 Gurgaon : Residential Apartment : Emaar MGF

Emaar MGF Palm Gardens Gurgaon : Palm Gardens Gurgaon : Residential Apartment


Emaar MGF Palm is launching soon its much awaited project “Emaar MGF Palm Gardens” adjacent to NH-8, 22 Acres premium development with 8 acres of Sprawling Central Greens. Emaar MGF Palm Gardens is a 3 bedrooms premium apartment with lounge & servant room. Spread into 22 acres area with all modern amenities and features. Premium 3 Bedrooms apartments with Lounge & S. Room. Efficient Floor Plans.- High Efficiency. Modern amenities with multiple sports facilities. Emaar Palm Garden sample apartment to be ready in early December with high efficiency floor plans.

Emaar MGF Palm Gardens Key Highlights:


1. Consolidated central Green (approx. 8 acres)

2. All apartments facing Greens / Sports Facilities

3. Efficient floor plans

4. Premium 3 bedroom, Lounge and S. Room

5. Evenly spread recreational zones – tennis, badminton and basketball courts

6. Modern amenities and convenient shopping

7. Duplex units at Ground floor, Penthouse level

8. Basement for covered parking


Emaar MGF Palm Gardens Floors:


1. Type – 1A, Typical Floor Plan, 1900 sq.ft.

2. Type – 1C, Typical Floor Plan, 1850 sq.ft.

3. Type – 2, Terrace Floor Plan, 1720 sq.ft.

4. Duplex, 3750 sq.ft.

5. Penthouse, 3750 sq.ft.


Facilities ofEmaar MGF Palm Gardens:

1. Club House

2. Swimming Pool

3. Jogging Track

4. Sport Facilities

5. 100% Power Backup

6. Located in sector-83, adjacent to NH8 & Dwarka Expressway

7. 22 acres of site with 8 acres of Central Greens

8. 3 BHK Premium apartments with Lounge & S. Room

9. Premium specifications with efficient floor plans

10. Sample Apartment to be ready early December

11. Modern amenities with multiple sports facilities

12. Tentative Pricing – Rs 4500/sq. ft


Customer Services:+91-956 019 6011/12/13/14



Emaar MGF Palm Gardens Gurgaon

Emaar MGF Palm is launching soon its much awaited project “Emaar MGF Palm Gardens” adjacent to NH-8, 22 Acres premium development with 8 acres of Sprawling Central Greens. Emaar MGF Palm Gardens is a 3 bedrooms premium apartment with lounge & servant room.


Call: +91-956 019 6011/12/13/14




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Summer Gardens – A Bird Lovers Paradise

Summer Gardens – A Bird Lovers Paradise

A garden is a source of joy for those who love nature and very often, such individuals are bird lovers too. Summer gardens attract many birds and this is another bonus for the nature-loving gardener. Large tracts of land covered with blossoming plants are a gardener’s dream come true. A little extra effort and planning can go a long way to attract numerous varieties of birds to a summer garden. There are several ways to accomplish this goal.

A summer garden can consist of fruit bearing trees or flowering plants. Most birds prefer the flowering plants for the nectar, the fruit and berries, which are a source of food. Green foliage also attracts insects and worms that birds feed on. Birds like water and they enjoy playing in it. Making sure to put a source of water for the birds in the garden will attract many birds. This may include a water fountain, a small waterfall or a goldfish pond. Care should be taken to see that the water does not stagnate and serve to be a breeding place for mosquitoes. Therefore, a source of running water would be the ideal choice. A neat and clean summer garden will attract many feathered friends.

If you are a serious bird lover, then you need to take some time to research the types of birds that come to your area and the kind of plants or trees they prefer. The summer garden can then be planned accordingly. Birds can attract predators and this factor needs to be considered while planning the garden. Creating an environment for bird predators to hang out will defeat the purpose of having a summer garden for birds. Another factor to be considered is to see that pesticides and insecticides that you use for the garden pests do not harm the visiting birds.

Placing birdhouses in the garden will attract many birds during the nesting season. Large trees with green foliage are also favored by birds for building nests. However, if you have a pet dog or cat, birds will be reluctant to come into the garden, as they will not feel safe. Food is another factor, which plays a major role in attracting birds to a garden. Since birds feed on insects and worms, green shady trees having good foliage can be planted in the garden. Bird feeders may be placed at strategic points so that food is easily available. Make sure the bird feeders are designed so that they prevent squirrels from stealing the bird feed.

There are no hard and fast rules to create the best summer garden for birds. Anything that attracts birds to the garden can be utilized, this includes landscaping the area to accommodate water bodies or growing a particular type of blossoming plant and vegetation or creating nesting area for the birds. For bird lovers and garden lovers, it is quite possible to have a fabulous summer garden that appeals to the birds and is a pleasing sight to all. Spending quiet time in the garden and tending to the plants in the company of feathered friends is a great way to unwind and escape from the stress and rigors of daily life.

Abhishek is an avid Gardening enthusiast and he has got some great Gardening Secrets up his sleeves! Download his FREE 57 Pages Ebook, “Your Garden – Neighbor’s Envy, Owner’s Pride!” from his website . Only limited Free Copies available.

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Gardens of the World with Audrey Hepburn (Special Tribute Edition)

Gardens of the World with Audrey Hepburn (Special Tribute Edition)


In Pursuit of Beauty offers an experience of remarkable authenticity, and a consummately incisive portrait of Audrey Hepburn: the bravura performer; the fine, collaborative artist; the delighted lover of gardens and nature, the life affirming humanitarian, and the truly gracious, incomparable star. Also featuring signature scenes from the acclaimed series, In Pursuit of Beauty serves up 17 spectacular garden locations with Audrey, in seven countries – Holland, Dominican Republic, USA, Japan, Italy, France and England.

Viewers can enjoy In Pursuit Of Beauty as one grand, al fresco world tour, or pause and breathe in the beauty of more than thirty scenes. Chapter access is provided for each of Audrey’s five separate production itineraries. Two particularly captivating sequences include Audrey at the tulip naming ceremony in her honor at the Hepburn ancestral home in Apeldoorn – all in Dutch; and “One Fine Day”, which includes on-location interviews with Audrey, the director, the producer, and with extensive behind-the-scenes footage of Audrey’s memorable day of filming at Tintinhull House in Somerset, England.

Gardens of the World with Audrey Hepburn – Audrey’s Emmy Award winning and final performance before the camera – has been recognized as the most accomplished, beautiful garden series ever produced. Audrey believed that the gardens, not she, were the real stars, and wrote: “After years of challenge and reward in my own garden, I greatly looked forward to spending time in some of the world’s most beautiful gardens. I never imagined they would reveal the diverse range of expression they did.”

The new Tribute Edition 3-disc DVD features the complete series of 8 programs, with narration by renowned actor Michael York: Roses & Roses Gardens, Formal Gardens, Country Gardens, Public Gardens & Trees, Flower Gardens, Tropical Gardens, Japanese Gardens, Tulips & Spring Bulbs. Also included are selections from the original music soundtrack featuring the works of Purcell, Debussy, Ravel, Rameau, Vivaldi, Copland and more.

BONUS FEATURE: Until now, the story of Audrey Hepburn’s decided influence in Gardens Of The World has never really been told. who better to tell this enchanting story than Audrey herself? The newly produced 45-minute documentary reconstructs Audrey Hepburn’s grand world tour for Gardens of the World – cinéma vérité, with intimate never-before-released footage of Audrey on location in the spring and summer of 1990 – and premiers on the Gardens of the World with Audrey Hepburn Tribute Edition 3-disc DVD . “I know that for Audrey the making of Gardens of the World was not only a marvelous adventure, but also one of the most rewarding experiences of her life and career”, noted Audrey’s life partner, Robert Wolders. “The new documentary so wonderfully captures her heart and spirit. It confirms those personal qualities of Audrey the public somehow instinctively imagines to be true, but otherwise would NEVER be able to know.”Imagine the world’s most elegant tour guide, illuminating some of the world’s most breathtaking vistas. The Emmy-winning PBS series Gardens of the World with Audrey Hepburn features the graceful film icon, in her last screen appearance before her death in 1993, as host of a tour of the world’s most elegant and spectacular gardens. Hepburn herself was a gardening enthusiast (at least one rose and one tulip have been named for her), and her passion for the subject will entrance even those who struggle to keep a pot of herbs on the windowsill. The chapters are organized around type of garden (rose gardens, formal, country, etc.) as well as geography (Japanese gardens, tropical), and within each segment, Hepburn, and her co-narrator, Michael York, outline the history, details and art behind all manner of gorgeous spreads.

The “Formal Gardens” segment, for instance, spans nearly 3,000 years, with the original gardens of the pharaohs providing fruit, shade trees, even herbs for embalming. The Persians introduced the concept of pleasure gardens, influenced by Islamic belief of heaven as a vast, restorative garden. The classical Greeks and Romans added statuary to the formal ideal; the Italians, cascading fountains; the French, the idea, embodied at Versailles, of man’s mastery over nature. Every garden is breathtaking in its own way, yet there are principles that even a novice gardener can absorb: the notion of architecture and structure, inside which the “furniture” of flowers and other plants, as suggested by the British garden expert Penelope Hobhouse, can be placed just so. Along the way, and around the world through history, Hepburn is a compelling guide whose obvious passion for the subject makes the series as riveting as any nature documentary. Extras in the Special Tribute Edition include a documentary, In Pursuit of Beauty, in which Hepburn visits more than 30 locations (including Giverny, known as Monet’s flower garden). It also includes an interview with Hepburn and a splendid soundtrack featuring selections by Debussy, Vivaldi, and Berlioz. –A.T. Hurley

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