May 4, 2009

Ladew: The Gardens

The Ladew property is known around the world for its spectacular topiary gardens, which range from whimsical hunt scenes,
complete with hounds,
to sculptures of a fish and a trophy cup,
and everything in between!
However, these gardens are not static, frozen in time at Harvey Ladew’s death. They are constantly evolving and being renewed. New topiaries are always being created and old ones are being trimmed to keep their shapes.
A water lily garden that was added in the last few years keeps the overall feeling of the original gardens
but also has a more modern twist with its quatrefoil-shaped pond.
Statues are tucked in here and there, a squirrel on the croquet lawn,
an eagle framed by some gorgeous pink azaleas,
Eve tempting Adam by the Keyhole Garden,
and two putti surrounded by hosta and flanking a door in a hedge.
There are long views and vistas in every direction… Look one way to see a large central elegant fountain in the middle of a vast lawn.
Look another and you’ll see, at the end of a long vista, a garden folly with a white swan perched atop it,
which echoes the scalloped hedge with topiary swans floating of the waves.
One of the most fascinating rooms in the garden is one in which the hedges have been trimmed to have windows that look out over the rolling countryside of the estate.
The tops of these hedges are trimmed with garlands running the length of the room, and topped with obelisks. Regardless of where you turn at Ladew, you will see something that reflects what a fascinating person Harvey Ladew was and how lucky we are to have these gardens as a legacy of his style and taste.
One more post tomorrow... everything else, almost!
PS... something about these pictures reminded me of this.


  1. These photos are great! I love the depth in the Eve tempting Adam photo, the eye moves back and forth from the sculpture to the darkly shadowed key-arch, gorgeous.

  2. The window hedge is looking a bit peaked ... but the swan is breathtaking ... ditto the swagged hedge ...

  3. AL... the hill drops off into a deep valley just beyond the hedge, so I am sure it gets blown to bits by the winds whipping through there. But the swagged hedge does make up for a lot!

  4. incredible - the swags, keyhole and windows - gotta visit if we go to your part of the world this summer

  5. Beautiful gardens. What a fun visual journey. Love garden folly's! So many great ones in Scotland.

  6. So beautiful. I want frolicking topiary doggies!

  7. Unreal. Can't wait to see tomorrow's!

  8. Your photos are really nice!

  9. * What a DELIGHTFUL way to start the day ~~~ many thanks for sharing this (it's ALWAYS a JOY to see "GREEN GRASS" when one lives in the desert!!!)~~~ Warmest, Linda in AZ *

  10. Oh, you know I love this! The whimsy, the Englishness. Thank you for sharing :-)

  11. Do you know about Pearl Fryar? The man who thought he invented topiary. I heard him speak in Kansas City and the memory still makes me smile. He had a passion for the form. And it does take passion and a great deal of work. I'm spending the week just getting winter leaves out of my yew hedge and cutting out the overly longs and winter kill and it's taking FOREVER. Oh, to have estate gardeners at the ready...

  12. I've got to get out more! What a wonderful way to spend the day. I love your Adam and Eve photo. Perfect!

  13. Oh Ladew is wonderful. Nice pictures Meg!

  14. Oh how I loved this post.......I'll come back again and again to peek around.......thanks so much. I probably will never get there in person, so it was a fascinating post.


  15. what a gorgeous garden! my favorite of all two day's worth is the hunt topiary!!!! that is sooooo great! great photography too.

  16. really incredible topiary structures.
    amazing illustrations and views!
    belgian greets,
    J. Van den Berghe


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