The Norton family, of which I am a descendent, came to America from England. In fact, when we were publishing needlework magazines, one of the great historians of needlework Joanne Harvey told me that she had created a needlework kit whereby I could re-create the Hannah Norton sampler from the Historic New England collection. The original was stitched in 1795, and I am sure this is a direct link from me to some Royal family in England—I just haven’t figured it out yet.
All that to say I love my English roots. I want my garden to look like an English cottage garden and my blue-and-white china collection to resemble those found in houses in Great Britain. Afternoon tea is a delight for me, and baking scones makes me feel a little more British. The first time I went to England I loved the train rides through the countryside.
I felt the same when Neal and I traveled in France. What amazed me the most were the gardens that surround most every house in France. Gorgeous roses graced every yard and covered beautiful fences and walls. When our editorial team told me we were publishing a special edition of Victoria on European Treasures, visions of the verdant landscapes and gorgeous gardens filled my mind and my heart skipped a beat.
As with anything, we take bits and pieces of our inspiration and incorporate them into our homes and gardens. Turning through the pages of their new issue, I found fresh inspiration in the gardens they featured, such as the lush Mount Stewart gardens in Northern Ireland with their many pathways into perfectly cultivated outdoor rooms.
I also love the incredible collection of different botanicals on display in European Treasures’ feature the Bodnant Garden in Wales. The bright yellow Laburnum Arch captured in its colorful late-May bloom is simply breathtaking. This little preview only skims the surface of all the beauty that spills off the pages of this very special edition.
Is there a part of European culture that inspires you? Tell me about it.