A life-long passion for literature and historic gardens led CeCe to Rome in 2007. As a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy in Rome she researched Edith Wharton and Roman villas, which led to her first lecture for the Edith Wharton Society in 2008. Two years later, she visited 25 gardens in and around Paris to prepare for her 2011 Philadelphia Flower Show warm-up lecture. She has written and lectured on historic Italian, French, and American gardens from Maine (Beatrix Farrand Society) to Florida (Four Arts Society), and New York (Old Westbury Gardens) to California (Virginia Robinson Garden).
Monday, November 13, 2023: Short Hills Home & Garden Club, Short Hills, NJ. “Beyond Gats by: The Fabled Gardens of Long Island’s Gold Coast”
Friday, December 8, 2023, 8 PM: Pottery & Porcelain Club, Providence, RI. “Let Them Eat Flowers: The Gardens of Paris” https://potteryandporcelainclubri.org/program
Friday, February 2, 2024, 1 PM: Women Gardeners of Ridgewood, Ridgewood, NJ. “Edith Wharton and the Villas of Rome” http://womengardenersofridgewood.com/
Friday, March 1, 2024, 1:30 PM: Demarest Garden Club. “Let Them Eat Flowers: The Gardens of Paris”. http://demarestgardenclub.org/
Wednesday, March 20, 2024, 1 PM: The Home Garden Club of Morristown, Morristown NJ. “Let Them Eat Flowers: The Gardens of Paris”. http://www.homegardenclub.org/
Beyond Gatsby: The Fabled Gardens of Long Island’s Gold Coast
Originally comprising vast areas of the North Shores of Long Island, the Gold Coast was a favorite retreat of the rich and famous. Beginning around the turn of the century and through the 1920’s, the North Shore was the place to be for some of the most notable Americans. Along with grand houses, they built elaborate gardens, hiring such notable architects and landscape architects as Delano and Aldrich, Carrère and Hastings, the Olmsted Brothers, and Beatrix Farrand. Discover the gardens, as they were originally built, and learn about their history, landscape design, and present condition.
Let Them Eat Flowers: The Gardens of Paris
Paris gardens were originally inspired by the classical and romantic styles found in Italy and England. Over the past two hundred years, designers have created a uniquely Parisian look to the gardens, as they have become a cultural way of life. Today, Paris boasts of more than 400 private and public gardens, each one appreciated for its distinct place in the fabric of the city. The tour will begin with such well-known parks as Luxembourg, Tuileries and Bagatelle, smaller gardens such as Monceau, Rodin, and Carnavalet, and also a few surprises such as Promenade du Plantee, Hotel du Sully and Mosque du Paris. In Paris, a park is almost never a mere plot of grass reserved for leisure, and a garden is rarely a random selection of flowers and plants. Parisians pride themselves in making their city’s parks and gardens places of elegance, artistic detail, and symmetry– even the romantic gardens have been carefully planned to imitate nature.
Edith Wharton and the Villas of Rome
Edith Wharton’s (1862-1937) career as a leading American fiction writer is well-known. But her unusual ability both to write and to observe puts her at the forefront of Italian garden critics as well; her book Italian Villas and their Gardens, first published in 1904, remains a scholarly resource on the subject to this day. Join us for an illustrated talk including slides of eight Roman villas described by Wharton in her influential book, and hear about the influence of the villas on Wharton’s own houses and her novels.
Medici Revisited: Tuscan Villas and Transplanted Englishmen
The fabulously wealthy Medici bankers towered over Tuscany during the Renaissance. With their riches, the princes built large villas with elaborate gardens just outside Florence. Medici, Castello, and Petraia are a few of the early country estates built in the 15th and 16th centuries. Four hundred years later most villas remained although in need of repair. New money arrived in the Tuscan hills as the expatriate Englishmen busied themselves renewing and creating magnificent gardens such as Gamberaia, La Pietra, I Tatti and Le Balze. Learn the history of Renaissance garden making and how it was interpreted by English gardeners of the early 20th century.
Paradise Regained: Seaside Gardens of Sicily
Fragrant frangipani, magnificent banyan trees, eye-popping brugmansia, red, pink, and white bougainvillea are just some of the spectacular horticultural treats which greet the Sicilian visitor. A result of the temperate Mediterranean climate, the vibrant island landscape is layered and intricate, and meant to be slowly savoured. Organic and often informal, the Sicilian garden is nonetheless carefully curated and lovingly maintained. Enjoy a pictorial, historic and cultural sojourn to the public and private gardens of Palermo, Siracusa, Taormina, and other island stops.
Contact CeCe Haydock for additional lecture topics.