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Episode 40 - “Garden of the She-Wolves”

From designing haute couture to designing gardens – the story of Nicole De Vésian

Nicole De Vésian is well known for her career as the head of fashion at the House of Hermes, but at the ripe age of 69, she found new fame working with a fabric of a three dimensional sort. Her garden tapestry entitled “La Louve” (The She-Wolf) and located at her home in Provence, has often been called her greatest design project.  Trading in haute couture for horticulture, this first lady of fashion spent the last ten years of her life dressing landscapes around the world with her fabulous “minimalist, whimsical and dreamlike” sense of style.


Episode 41 - “The Mona Lisa of Parterres”

Princess Claudia Ruspoli goes back to her roots.

When Princess Claudia took over her family estate in Italy she gave up her jet-setting lifestyle for a small village that hasn’t changed much since medieval times. What she gained in return were her roots and a connection to the many strong women who have dominated her family over the centuries.  She alsoinherited a 500 year old beautifully designed geometric parterre garden, created by her ancestor Octavia Orsini, a woman whose husbands had a way of “mysteriously” disappearing. Claudia quickly dedicated herself to restoring the garden to it’s original glory and now welcomes visitors from all over the world to what is considered the best-preserved Renaissance parterre in all of Italy.


Episode 42 - “Cultivating Writers”

Baronessa Beatrice Monti della Corte offers an Italian garden refuge for writers and botanists.

Deep in the Tuscany Valley, Baronessa Beatrice Monti della Corte Rezzori has created a refuge from the chaos of the everyday world. The “Santa Maddalena Foundation”, which Beatrice foundedin memory of her late husband, offers a peaceful haven where writers and botanists come to take part in good food, great conversations, and the creative muse that is offered by a truly inspirational garden.  Recent residents include Irish novelist Colm Toibin, English author Zadie Smith and U.S. author Michael Cunningham. 


Episode 43 - “Against All North Atlantic Odds”

Exotic plants in Iceland: Gudridur Helgadottir dedicates her life to greening her native homeland.

You wouldn’t expect to find exotic plants in Iceland, but Gudridur Helgadottir has committed her life to turning the barren landscape green one garden at a time. In a country where many people are raised with little or no exposure to horticulture, Gudridur was born with “green blood” in her veins. As the host of a nationally televised gardening program, Gudridur continues to push the limits of Icelandic gardening, constantly encouraging new gardeners to test a variety of plants and methods in a country of uncharted horticultural limitations.


Episode 44 - “The Renaissance Gardener”

Marco van Noort’s gardening method is “high touch” rather than “high tech”

Nursery owner Marco van Noort is a true Renaissance gardener, drawing upon traditional methods at a time when Holland’s billion-dollar flower business relies heavily on high tech. Van Noort uses bees for cross-pollination, and the result is award-winning perennial hybrids: proof positive that nature cannot be replaced.


Episode 45 - “The Namer of Names”

Garden writer, Anna Pavord finds personal healing in her garden.

Anna Pavord, the gardening correspondent for The Independent and the best-selling author of The Tulip and The Naming of Names: The Search for Order in the World of Plants, is famous across the United Kingdom for her deep passion for gardening. She has often relied upon her garden in Dorset, England as a source of personal healing of both physical and emotional challenges and originally took up writing about gardening to help finance the rebuilding of her Eden, a rural home known locally as the Rectory.


Episode 46 - “Horticultural Impresario”

Tim Smit goes from producing “hit” records to producing “hit” gardens

Award-winning music producer Tim Smit moved to Cornwall to set up a recording studio, but much to his surprise ended up falling in love with gardening. Having first restored an abandoned garden called the “Lost Gardens of Heligan”, he soon turned his interest to creating a global garden for the 21st century. Named the “Eden Project” but dubbed “the eighth wonder of the world”, Smit has created an enormous, sprawling conservatory where science, art and horticulture come together to tell the story of our dependence on the plant world.


Episode 47 - “A Garden Gallery”

David Lewis & George Little – “Little and Lewis”, Bainbridge Isle, Washington, USA

George Little and David Lewis have created their own mini paradise on Bainbridge Island, 35 miles west ofSeattle. Partners in work and life, Little and Lewis are celebrated internationally as both artists and gardeners. Their Puget Sound garden acts as showcase where art, commerce, and love reside.  Here in the “Garden Gallery”  their breathtaking sculptures and fountains, expansive use of color, zone-pushing perennials, and elements of classicism and mystery all combine to create a personal and deeply magical space.


Episode 48 - “An Island Eden” 

Melanie and Colehour Bondera create an “agro-jungle” in Hawaii.

After suffering from a devasting accident, Colehour Bondera relied upon his passion for farming to take him on a journey of recovery. His passion shared with his wife Melanie soon resulted in a successful organic coffee farm in Hawaii. Fondly referred to as their “agro-jungle”, Kanalani Ohana Farm, also yields avocado, papaya, guava and coconut as well as coffee.


Episode 49 - “When Everything That’s Old is New Again” 

The Gardens of Barnsley House continue to serve as a legacy to their creator “the Queen of English Gardeners” the late Rosemary Verey.

Rosemary Verey was the “Queen of English Gardeners.” H.R.H. Prince Charles himself has been known to seek her expertise and nowhere is her legacy more evident than at her family home, Barnsley House. Even the most conservative gardeners have to appreciate Rosemary’s progressive gardening attitude when it comes to her concept of an ornamental kitchen garden and making a decorative feature out of vegetables.  Today, this historic estate is now a five star luxury hotel complete with its own restaurant and a gourmet chef who serves vegetables… fresh out of the garden.


Episode 50 - “A Garden Symphony”

Lady Susana Walton’s garden is a lasting tribute to her husband in both sights… and sounds.

The wife of renowned British composer Sir William Walton, Lady Susanna Walton found her true calling in their garden on the Island of Ischea in Italy. On the site of an ancient volcano, she created a space where her husband could find harmony and inspiration in nature.  More than 20 years after his death, their garden “La Mortella” continues to inspire thousands of visitors each year, and with regularly scheduled outdoor musical performances, Lady Susanna has created a lasting tribute in both sights and sounds to the man she adored.


Episode 51 - “The Lost Pears”

Isabella Dalla Ragione: the “Indiana Jones” of the plant world.

Italian Isabella Dalla Ragione doesn’t exactly look like Indiana Jones, but after a brief conversation about her passion archeoligia arborea she certainly starts to sound like him. Only it is not lost biblical artifacts that she scours the Italian countryside for… it’s lost fruit. Rescuing near extinct plants by visiting abandoned properties, parish gardens, monasteries and cloisters, Ragione provides a safe home for these rare fruit trees.


Episode 52 - “Spirits of Nature”

Dorothy Maclean knows the secret to Findhorns 40 pound cabbages.

As the home of the legendary 40 pound cabbages, the Findhorn Garden in Scotland is a source of bewilderment for horticultural experts from around the world. How is it possible that these luscious vegetables, flowers and herbs can even grow in this barren sandy soil, let alone in such huge proportions? The answer, according to Dorothy Maclean, was given to her by the plants themselves!