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Gardens of the World with Audrey Hepburn

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Gardens of the World with Audrey Hepburn was a 1993 documentary television series filmed on location in some of the world's most beautiful, noteworthy gardens, hosted by Audrey Hepburn, who also co-narrates the series with Michael York.

Audrey Hepburn, who loved nature and gardens, saw a rare opportunity to bring forth their beauty in poetic and meaningful ways in Gardens of the World. Her unique vision of the series included fusing the historical and aesthetic aspects with the arts of literature, music and painting. She was awarded her Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement, Informational Programming, posthumously in the fall of 1993.[1] It was Hepburn's first and only television series, and her final appearance on screen; she died on January 20, 1993, four days before the series debuted on PBS in the United States.

Audrey Hepburn in between takes during filming for Gardens of the World -- breathing in the beauty of her mise-en-scène in Monet's gardens in Giverny, June 11, 1990. Insert photo: Director of Photography Jeri Sopanen and crew.

Audrey Hepburn's principal photography was filmed in the spring and summer of 1990 in illustrious public and private gardens in England, France, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Dominican Republic, & U.S.A. Her life partner Robert Wolders was with Hepburn throughout the production: "It became an intensely personal and creative process for her. She immersed herself in not only the beauty of the gardens, but also in their origins and evolution." Also that summer Hepburn wrote her foreword to the series' companion book from her home in Tolochenaz, Switzerland.[2]

In January 1991, Hepburn recorded her voice over narration at LaserPacific in Hollywood; the same month “Audrey Hepburn's Grand Garden Tour for PBS” was the cover story of House & Garden.[3] Writer Katherine Whiteside noted, "Hepburn emphasizes the timeliness of Gardens of the World and its relevance to her work with UNICEF. 'Everyone's concerned with the environment, but of course environment includes flowers and trees as well as children. One cannot survive without the others. Today more than ever, gardens remind us of the beauty we are in danger of losing.'"

In New York on March 6, 1991, Cartier honored Hepburn and Gardens of the World with a High Tea reception at their Fifth Avenue Mansion; the following day, Ralph Lauren hosted the occasion of her book signing at his flagship store on 72nd Street and Madison Avenue. About which Dominick Dunne wrote, “the crowds were so great that the line extended from Madison all the way to Park Avenue.” These occasions preceded PBS’ March premiere of a one-hour Gardens of the World introductory special.

The PBS premiere of the six-part series commenced in 1993, on January 24th. However, KCET Los Angeles premiered the first episode of the series, Roses & Rose Gardens, three days earlier on January 21st. Heartwrendingly, the same day the Los Angeles times published Hepburn's obituary and their review of Roses. “It is hard to imagine any more compelling [title] than the half-hour spent wandering through some of the world's most enchanting rose gardens with one of the world's most enchanting women.”

Two further episodes[4] premiered in January 1996, along with a re-release of the six-part series on Home & Garden Television. The series was shown internationally by top broadcasters in more than 30 countries. A DVD of all 8 programs was released in 1999; in September 2006, an extended DVD Tribute Edition was released.

Episode list


Each episode presents a different garden theme as well as broader concepts of aesthetic, botanical, cultural or environmental significance.

Music Soundtrack CD


Music from Gardens of the World with Audrey Hepburn (Conifer/BMG 1993) was released in the fall of 1993, performed by the Artur Rubinstein Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Ilya Stupel.

  1. Purcell Dido & Aeneas (Overture) – 2:30
  2. Corelli Concerto Grosso Op.6/8 (3rd Movement) – 3:15
  3. Debussy The girl with the flaxen hair (la fille aux cheveaux de lin) Andrew Wilde, piano – 3:06
  4. Debussy Danse Profane – 4:30
  5. Janáček The Cunning Little Vixen Suite (1st Movement) – 9:45
  6. Grieg Holberg Suite (Gavotte) – 4:00
  7. Ravel Piano Trio in A Minor: Modéré - Modere Alexandra Nauve, piano; Tomasz Golebieush, violin; Januari Batelli, cello – 11:00
  8. Rameau (ed. Dukas) Les Paladins, 1st Suite Air pour les pagodes (Editions de L'Oiseau-Lyre) – 2:45
  9. Respighi Antiche Arie e Danze Second Suite (Laura soave) – 3:52
  10. Vivaldi Cello Concerto, RV 418 (1st movement) Arkadiusz Wlodarcyczk, cello – 4:03
  11. Rameau (ed. Dukas) Les indes galantes: 3rd Suite (Danse des sauvages) – 2:00
  12. Berlioz Les nuits d'ete (Le spectre de la rose) Agnieska Dabrowska, mezo-soprano – 7:15
  13. Borodin String Quartet No. 1 (Scherzo) Artur Rubenstein Quartet: Piotr Redel, Tomasz Golebiewski, Miroslaw Pejski, Jolanta Braha – 5:09
  14. Respighi Antiche Arie e Danze Third Suite (Siciliana) – 3:45
  15. Copland Clarinet Concerto (1st movement) Roman Prylinski, clarinet – 9:15
  16. Debussy orch. Caplet Children's Corner Suite (Doctor Gradas ad Parnassus) –2:41


  1. ^ 1 Outstanding Individual Achievement – informational programming – 1993 Audrey Hepburn (host), Gardens of the World, PBS, Flower Gardens episode
  2. ^ 2 Gardens of the World: The Art & Practice of Gardening (MacMillan, 1st Edition March 1991) Foreword by Audrey Hepburn. Written by John Brookes, Madison Cox, Penelope Hobhouse, Teiji Itoh, Ann Lovejoy, Elvin McDonald, Allen Paterson, Katherine Whiteside. Photography by Mick Hales and Erica Lennard, Elvin McDonald, Allen Paterson, Art Schronce. Garden plans by Perry Guillot. Conceived by Janis Blackschleger. ISBN 0025831275
  3. ^ 3 House & Garden magazine, U.S. edition. 4 Volume 163, Number 1. Cover photo by Lord Snowdon, Audrey Hepburn at Hidcote Manor, Gloucestershire, England. Cover story by Katherine Whiteside.
  4. ^ 4 Tropical Gardens and Japanese Gardens
  5. ^ 5 The name of "La Roseraie de L’Haÿ-les-Roses" was changed to its current name, "Roseraie du Val-de-Marne" in 1994.