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Mannerist Gardens in Italy
by Teresa Cutler-Broyles
One of the more intriguing and sometimes disconcerting features of a Mannerist garden is the sensation of being watched as you stroll through. Even when no one is nearby and silence settles, that tingling in the back of your brain will not go away and from the corner of your eye you think you catch a glimpse of... something. It's not movement so much as a shape, not alive so much as filled with life, and not someone so much as something. Why is this so? What is it about these sixteenth century gardens that creates this sensation? What does 'Mannerist' mean? When and where did the style originate and flourish? And who were the famous artists / architects / sculptors of the movement?
Italian Gardens: Tradition and Beauty
People from the world over visit formal Italian gardens, i giardini Italiani, known for their grandiose yet tranquil ambience. Be it one of the finest Italian Renaissance gardens at Villa Lante in Rome, the renowned garden surrounding Palazzo Giusti with its cypress-lined avenues, or the statue and fountain-filled Giardino di Boboli in Florence, traditional Italian gardens are some of the most respected all over Europe and the world.
Strangers meeting becomes book sensation
Many are the obscure dreams of the modern humans, however the aspiration of someday finding some quiet place in Tuscany and spending their days writing books about their everyday Tuscan experiences must feature quite high on that list. However few but the very richest amongst us have been able to realize this modern aspiration and turn this pipe dream into a plausible reality. However the droves of ex-pats that still flock to this sacred and mysterious land to buy houses or to spend a summer hiking around it prove that its still a plausible possibility.
Above Azalea at the Vatican Garden
Originally, the function of botanical gardens was to display plants for medical use. Examples are the University botanical gardens in Florence, Padua and Pisa, which were created in the 16th century. Most of Italy's botanical gardens are much younger, being created in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Essentials to a Roman Style Garden
There is a considerable body of evidence surrounding the gardens of ancient Rome that details the various elements that comprised their pleasure and villa style gardens. Many classical features are found in today's gardens and landscapes paying homage to those ancient stylized Roman gardens. The following article discusses ways you can transform your garden or landscape into an ancient Roman pleasure garden filled with elements reminiscent of that glorious past.
Garden Ponds and Fish
Once constructed, your garden pond is not complete without its finishing touches. There are many varieties of aquatic plants and ornamental fish available, which will transform your pond - bringing it to life and blending it naturally into your garden. Getting the balance right will allow your pond to become virtually self-sustaining, which means you will only need to give it occasional attention to keep it in peak condition...
First of all you need to look at the different types of aquatic plants, which are on offer and decide which ones would best suit the size and style of your pond - Iris' can grow very tall and are likely to topple over and look out of place in a small pond.
Garden Works of Art
As you are probably aware, the garden is becoming an ever-increasing interest among the young and old alike. Many of us are now investing nearly as much time and money in our gardens as we are in our houses, making it a booming industry.
Landscaping, water features and lighting go a long way to add more interest and enhance the garden, but what about all those finishing touches that you would certainly add to your house. There are so many ideas to choose from such as, sculptures, statues, stonewalls, birdbaths, sundials, benches and even pots and hanging baskets. Any one of these ideas or a combination of them can add that extra personal touch.
How to Design a Moon Garden in Italy
Italy is really the ideal place to create a moon garden with it's clear, warm moonlit nights and the vast array of perfumed Mediterranean plants at the garden designer's disposal. A moon garden is simply a garden, designed to enjoy at night, based around a planting of plants that capture the soft hues of the moon. Plants should be strongly perfumed in order to fill the still, evening air with heady and delicious scents that, together with the sensual moonlight, drench the visitor in nature's sensuality.
How to Prune Mediterranean Plants
For many of us the thought of a helpless plant having its limbs hacked off by a human evokes a sense of horror and the feeling that the poor plant is suffering a terrible, un-natural ordeal in the process. However by leaving certain plants without correct pruning we are in actual fact creating far more suffering and hardship for those plants and there are some very logical yet natural reasons why...
Advice for making an Italian Herb Garden
Anyone who was lucky enough to witness the infamous "Chelsea flower show", just weeks ago in the heart of London will have witnessed the unprecedented increase in the use of vegetables in the ornamental garden i.e. pea plants growing, delicately up wrought-iron supports, ornamental pumpkins and squashes sprawling, boldly through flower borders or dainty, yellow coloured lettuce filling gaps amongst other, more favoured flower border plantings. Well, in recent years, the vegetable garden and all it's wonderful bounty of shapes, forms and colours has become quite the rage here in Italy! I am continually suggesting the substitution of the famous "Formal Italian garden", with its formal box-wood hedging, topiary and elaborate Renaissance sculpture with a more humble, yet equally elegant contender to the title of "Star" of the garden- the
Connecting Areas of the Italian Garden
By now a rough idea of the final garden design should be emerging; you
have hopefully decided on which style the garden will adopt, where your
formal area will be, where you would like to create your garden rooms,
informal areas etc and all based around one uniting theme or feel.
Advice on Designing an Italian Garden Room
finally deciding on a structural layout for your garden consider the
idea of dividing up your green space into a series of 'Garden
Even the smallest of green spaces can de divided into smaller sections, which instantly create interest and provide the illusion that the space is actually larger than it really is! Large green spaces allow the garden designer
Planting and Designing Italian Gardens
ecoLogica: Having decided upon a style for our Outdoor room and regardless of whether it will be styled on a Renaissance villa or a rustic Tuscan landscape we can now really begin getting excited at the prospect of actually designing a garden, because from here on in the process becomes very creative indeed. If, as I suggested in my previous article, we decide upon a fusion of both formal and informal styles, and once we have decided upon the space in the garden where we would like to create both these areas, then we are ready to begin planning the structure for the entire garden- What fun!
An Italian Recipe For Stinging Nettle with Gnocchi
There are very few gardeners, or children that have not had battles with the common yet ingenious stinging nettle, but there is more to this plant than may first meet the eye. Urtica dioica is a very common and widespread plant that can be found in Europe, Asia, N Africa and N America and its capacity for inflicting pain and infesting wasteland around abandoned houses is known to everyone. However this plant is more than just a simple nuisance in the garden, it is in fact a valuable herb and culinary plant, which is more than worthy of a mention!