Remembering Elizabeth Taylor: A look at La Fiorentina

Whether discussing garden design, interior design or even fashion – great style is great style, and it is usually unique.

When it comes to great style, Elizabeth Taylor was one of the top icons of her day. Recently, Vogue Magazine released a few photos of her at La Fiorentina in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat France taken in 1967.

Taylor was a regular guest at the Palladian-style villa which, as noted on Habitually Chic, had a very interesting design history.

An Alexandra Lloyd Properties website states that it was built in 1917 by the countess Therese de Beauchamp on a vast piece of land which occupies the extreme end of the Saint Hospice point of the Saint Jean Cap Ferrat peninsula.
In 1969, La Fiorentina was decorated by interior designer Billy Baldwin for his clients, Harding and Mary Lawrence.

Designing Your Own Garden (Part II)

Spring is in the air, leaves are on the trees, and flowers are blooming! This is a great time of year to put your green thumb to work.

Earlier this week, we began to detail the steps that you should take in order to start the planning your own garden.

After you’ve analyzed your space and drawn your garden, you will want to make a list of the different elements that you plan on including. Are you planning an arbor? How about a perennial bed?

Now that your space has a well defined style, it’s time to get to work putting it all together. You’ll want to keep the following two tips in mind when determining what type of plants to install:

  • Use plants with similar care requirements (i.e. watering, soil, sunlight)
  • Plant with the proper mulch that will keep the soil moist in the summer heat

When you’re ready to take it a step further, here is a great article on garden design that is published on

And of course, feel free to consult with Marvin Gardens for more specific, custom design ideas.

Designing Your Own Garden (Part I)

So you’ve decided that you want to design a garden for your home this spring but you aren’t sure exactly where to start. No worries. Not to sound cliche, but you can do it…and we can help. While a gorgeous garden requires planning, work and maintenance, with a little bit of passion and a little bit of patience, anyone can do it.

The first thing you will want to do is get out some good old pen and paper and analyze the site. There are many aspects to consider, such as the garden style you prefer, position of the sun, the view, wind, plant selection and drainage. You will need to factor all of this information into how you plan to lay your garden out, and just as importantly, how the garden should not be laid out.

Once you have all of this info, use a ruler to draw your vision to scale.

Check back with us in a few days for part II of “Designing Your Own Garden.”

Photo courtesy of thecasualgardener

Surround Your House With Flowers

Give your home the “impact statement” it wants to make this spring. It’s not difficult. Actually, it can be done just by adding a few potted plants in the right areas.

For example, if you have a markedly unpretentious entryway, a few simple terra-cotta pots of geraniums, petunias or pansies would probably do it great justice. If you set them on a stairway, be sure to set them as close to the rail as possible to allow free passage.

These same blooms can accentuate a pale, shingled wall on porch. The porch would form the perfect backdrop for a few colorful ceramic pots. Given basic care, these trouble free performers will shine for you all summer long.

What do you think about these simple yet effective gardening and decorating ideas? If you have any thoughts or ideas of your own, we’d love to hear them?

Photo Credit: Sunset Books, Norm Plate

3 Great Tulip Varieties For Your Spring Garden

Angelique Tulips

A serious gardener knows that there are several different types of bulbs that should be considered when planting a garden. Among most’s list of favorites are tulips. They offer a great variety to choose from!

Here are a few suggestions of tulip varietals that you may want to consider when planning your garden this spring…

  • Fusilier – these produce a bouquet of red-orange blooms on each stem. They also tends to reliably come back every year and bears many brightly colored blooms per stem. They bloom best in mid spring.
  • Black Parrot – with their fringed and twisted petals, the ‘Black Parrot’ is an especially nice choice with dark purple blooms. At two-feet tall on average, they are one of the most dramatic, showstopping tulips available.
  • Angelique – these may be the most elegant of all of the tulip varietals. They bloom in late spring and offer a gorgeous color and a great fragrance.

Do you need assistance in figuring out which tulips may best suit your garden? That’s what Marvin Gardens is here for. Contact us and we’ll be glad to help!

4 Great Spring Gardening Tips


For landscape designers, April showers usually bring much more than just May flowers. They also invite us to think about best-practice gardening ideas, some of which can be universally applied pretty much any type of exterior design scheme.

Just came across a great article in The Epoch Times in which writer Mark Cullen outlines some great, and timeless, gardening trends to keep in mind.

Here are four of my favorite…

Native plants: Use of native plants in the landscape to reduce maintenance (fewer bugs and diseases), increase natural biodiversity cycles

Gardening in containers: Canadians are ‘pushing the envelope’ by mixing annuals and perennials together in containers, often adding vegetables and herbs for both a practical and decorative touch.

Color: Demand for annuals and perennials that produce a reliable abundance of colour for the longest possible length of time is on a steep rise.

Invest in your own outdoor ‘retreat’: Spend hard earned cash to improve your yard and garden rather than booking costly travel vacations or purchasing a vacation property.

Well, what do you think about these tips/trends? Do you have any of your own?

Marvin Gardens Awarded Blue Ribbon at Philadelphia Flower Show

The Philadelphia International Flower Show is strongly considered one of the premier gardening events in the world, in part because so many outstanding talents make their way to the Show each year the showcase their finest plants and design work.

So when it was announced this past Sunday that Marvin Gardens won the Blue Ribbon for Best Retail Exhibit, we were absolutely thrilled!

Since 1829, the Philadelphia has maintained a tradition of showing some of the most exceptional and unique plants and displays from around the world, so to be now listed in the Shows history as one of the best in class, well, that’s truly an honor.

The Philadelphia Flower Show continues throughout Sunday, March 13, and we plan to be around and take in as much of the scenery as possible. Be sure to stop back to the blot later in the week, as I’m sure there will be plenty more great photos to post!