Wednesday, August 15, 2012


The next stop was Corfu.  Now, of course, the idea of any Greek 
island seems much more familiar, but this was not your typical  
whitewashed houses perched under searingly blue skies scenario.



This island started out as a fortress (fending off those greedy 
Turks with the help of the Venetians)
and is  grander in that special sort of Greek way
(destined to be classic, you know), more urban in a small town,
old world way…and plenty of tourists…but charming.



The hats, I must let you know, are not Greek or even European,
but made in Bali and sold in America by


I’m sure that many of you, like me, have been looking at Oleander growing unappealingly in the south of Europe for decades.
It has always bothered me --- in the south of France especially,
that this is the best thing they can come up with --- scraggly,
shrubby and dull.  It wasn’t until we saw an Oleander allee – limbed
up and pruned - in the gorgeous city of Lecce, Italy that I ever
really appreciated it.  First time for everything.
Lecce is in the very heel of Italy and is one of those
breathtaking places that has – unimaginably – not
made it on the ‘everybody must see’ itinerary.
And how delightful that is…



Our guide was named Fabbio and he was very proud.


This guy stands guard.


The town or city is made of a certain slightly yellowed kind of limestone that must have been the perfect stone beckoning carvers and artists and all lovers of beauty, giving it its cognomen of
"The Florence of the South".




Everywhere there are baroque and rococco flourishes
wrought in iron and stone and marble.



Extraordinary churches overflow with gilt, lambs, saints
and because the city is not inundated by tourists, you can
still take pictures like these.





We love Churches so this was right up our alley…


Skye was enchanted by the laundry lines strung up everywhere.


And the Italianess of it all.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

It was a wonderful trip on a little ship.


Three happy travelers boarded the Seabourn Spirit in Venice.
All divine, but just how much Caviar can you eat night and day?


The answer: quite a lot.


Come with us and see.


Since Venice famously once ruled this part of the world, there is
a sense of its extravagance throughout these countries that
were all once part of its principality.
And that emblematic and exotic winged Venetian lion is everywhere..


here on the old city walls of KOTUR -
the first port of call. Having hardly ever heard of
Montenegro (it has only been inexistence since 2004), who
expected to see the breathtaking sight of the southernmost
fjord in the world – and all that implies: cliffs of granite covered
in the shapeliest and greenest trees


on a slightly misty blue sky morning  - just unbelievably beautiful.



The little ship – more like a big yacht – had the advantage
of being able to pull right into the midst of the old harbor – as
if you were stepping off at Main Street and Newtown Lane –
only not so much traffic.


Having never given much thought to this Montenegran city of
fortresses and monasteries on their own little islands,


It was heaven to spend a day in a place that has not been
touched by tourism,

 and so far, the only sign of change is that we hear there is now
an Aman resort on one of the little monastic islands – but that
sounds like change for the very best to me.

 and so far, the only sign of change is that we hear there is now
an Aman resort on one of the little monastic islands – but that
sounds like change for the very best to me.



Sunday, August 5, 2012

Share My Summer

HEllO  My Friends
Garden and Otherwise

The garden is looking a little on the dreary side and I am only one step ahead of being totally overwhelmed by weeds; but the last few weeks have been high summer as far as fabulous fetes and Hamptons Benefits go…We were happy to be at the best.

Watermill Benefit  The Big Bang  2012

The rain poured but the art and the crowd sizzled.

And the exquisite LongHouse Benefit the week before
made the most of the art-studded
uniquely gardened 16 acres.



Though at this point the garden is anything but capricious;  when we left on our southern European jaunt at the end of June, there was still some romance :

The last and best Iris ensata, the Japanese one.


The first and certainly one of the best
lilies – small, graceful, inobtrusive -
L. martagon 'C. Shride'


(not like the horrible huge orientals that are blooming now.
Ugh…I can’t believe I planted so many, but don’t quite have the
heart to yank them...yet).

A Summer Blooming Muscari


 Colors are great, it is tall and summer blooming!
Ordered from Odyssey Bulbs.
And this late-blooming corydalis is so blue it is called ‘China Blue’.


The white variegations are at their whitest.  The big leaves are Fatsia (which overwintered in the ground!) and look to the right of the
shell – those 3 little exquisite really white leaves are
Farfugium japonica ‘Kaimon Drake’ from Plant Delights.
But here’s the story – they are only white in spring when
leaves are new, at end July they are just as green
and heavy as everything else…


An anemone blooming next to my favorite Colocasia 'Mojito'
- a surprise pairing.


And a few to–die-for Arisaema…



Look at those lovely tongues…

But in hot hot hot July upon return, there was not much
fascination in the garden at all – so instead – I'll take you
on our  trip down the Dalmation Coast
and across the Adriatic to the heel of
Italy – which was gloriously dreamy.