1 Find this W.W. Norton and Company treasure on amazon.com.
2 How sublime is this image of large, tall bay windows with a view over a reflecting pool.
3 Les Quatre Vents.
4 My heart aches looking at this lovely photo of circular steps and terrace plantings.
5 The Watercourse, a series of pools and canals framed by shaped thuja.
6 The color of this sea of Petasites japonicus is magnificent.
7 The shapes and palette along with the general mood of the Moon Bridge brings me peace.
8 This is the LOWER of the two rope bridges that sweep down to the floor of the ravine.
9 The Pigeonnier's archways and reflecting pool frame the fields and hills of Lac des Cygnes.
10 Such symmetry, care, and perfection.
11 I just love how each archway frames another moment of beauty.
12 Such beauty in the circular staircase, painted walls, and simple furnishings.
13 The textures in this photo are fantastic.
14 A golden streak of Kirengeshoma palmata.
15 The small-flowered marigolds create such a glorious path.
16 Hand-pollinated Delphinium Society hybrids. The colors are just perfect.
17 The reflecting pool fulfills its function.
18 One of two 15th-century-style Japanese contemplation pavilions, called Azumaya.
To me, the most beautiful thing about the book Greater Perfection: The Story of the Gardens at Les Quatre Vents, by Francis H. Cabot, is that it's a family affair. Nine generations acquired, lived in, lost, reacquired, and created the estate. The author is the son of the couple who built the house and gardens in 1928. His uncles, both architects, shaped the grounds in the 1930s and '50s. And finally, Cabot, himself, took over Les Quatre Vents in 1975 to create a garden that today is a mecca for horticultural enthusiasts. But it was not completed without its challenges, and the book is a personal account of the Canadian estate's history.
1 The second edition of the book, published by Abbeville Press, is a monumental tome at 375 pages.
2 Castle Nelahozeves in central Bohemia is decorated with late-16th-century sgraffito work.
3 Painted plaster ceiling at Bucovice in the Czech Republic.
4 A most remarkable mantelpiece.
5 Such a view in western Moravia.
6 The dome of the mausoleum at Krasna Horka with mosaics depicting the 12 saints bearing devices. That palette is inspiring.
7 View of Cesky Krumlov, a castle in southern Bohemia.
8 The Mantle Bridge at Cesky Krumlov, completed in 1764.
9 Hluboka Chateau.
10 The wooden stags' heads on the walls of Hluboka are just fantastic.
11 The Chateau's magnificent library.
12 Probably built in the early part of the 13th century, Buchlovice's gardens are gorgeous.
13 Veltrusy, near Prague.
14 The chateau of Valtice and its wonderful staircase, light fixtures, and sculptures.
15 Lednice was re-fashioned in neo-Gothic style in the mid-19th century.
16 Now part of Austria, Feltorony or Halbthurn has a most stately facade.
17 Interior chapel at Godollo.
Next, The Great Country Houses of Central Europe: Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland documents some of the most grand and elegant country houses and is so compelling that one cannot help be inspired. Author Lord Michael Pratt and photographer Gerhard Trumler know how to tell a story about the houses and the families that built them. Such a delight.