One of the most beautiful gardens (if not the most beautiful!) that I've ever seen in my life is in Brazil, between Rio and Sao Paulo, at "Fazenda Vargem Grande", a wonderful farm from the coffee golden era, circa 1837, bought and restored by my husband's uncle in the 70's, when he also commissioned the garden to Burle Marx, who, if still alive, would have turned 102 years old this month.
Roberto Burle Marx is internationally known as one of the most important landscape architects of the 20th century. Born in São Paulo in August 4th, 1909, Roberto Burle Marx moved to Rio de Janeiro in 1913, where he lived until his death in 1994, at the age of 84.
During the years of 1928 and 1929 he studied painting in Berlin - Germany, where he was often seen at the Dahlem Botanic Garden's greenhouses. In this garden he noticed for the first time the beauty of the tropical plants and the Brazilian flora. His first landscape project was a private garden for a house designed by modernist Architects Lucio Costa and Gregory Warchavchik in 1932.The famous black and white sidewalk from Copacabana beach was designed by him, as was the landscape from Flamengo in Rio, and many other wonderful works of art around the country.
Besides being a landscape designer he was also a remarkable painter, sculptor, singer, and jewelry designer, and his style is so strong and with such character that his work is easily recognized, be it in gardens, tapestries, jewels or paintings.
Looking at his jewelry drawings today, I almost cannot distinguish them from his garden projects, and I really like the idea of wearing a necklace or a brooch that could easily be a tropical and exuberant garden !
If you'd like to have the feeling of country living in Brazil at the time of the coffee barons, in an extremely beautiful valley at the feet of the Mantiqueira mountains and on top of it, see this amazing garden, know as Burle Marx's work of art, "Fazenda Vargem Grande" is currently receiving guests! for more information : www.fazendavargemgrande.com.br