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!
Most beautiful gardens have a very defined structure that harmonizes both formal and informal and space and form, so essential to creating beauty in the garden. However a good structure highlights the relationship between differing forms set within defined green spaces. Every plant has it's own preferred natural form; some round and obtuse like Viburnum tinus and others tall and slender like the Tuscan cypress tree All shapes have their own identity and in turn they will all have an effect on the overall visual effect within the garden.Therefore it should go without saying that the arrangement of plants within any 'green space' is fundamental to the success of the garden! A formal style, as I explained, is based on a solid and generally geometric form, designed within an accommodating green space.
Despite having a loose and natural feel, the informal area of the garden should also be designed on a logical structure that compliments its space. The differing plant shapes and forms should not just be simply 'thrown' together in a confusing mess, as this will display to the world a complete and utter disregard for natural logic and a total lack of sensibility towards natural beauty! There is a strict and intelligent logic that governs and maintains nature's beauty in such pristine condition! By understanding the logic that governs this natural beauty we can emphasize and underline beautiful elements in our own gardens very simply. If we consider that evergreen plants provide the backbone ('Form') of the garden, then naturally we should also consider their positioning very, very carefully indeed. Care must be taken to maintain spacing (Scale) between their plantings as this provides the 'Space and form' that forms the base of the living painting, upon which everything else will then be painted! This backbone becomes even more evident during the winter months, when the bare deciduous trees reveal the hidden shapes and the relationship between these various shapes becomes apparent, and all the more important.
The symmetrical, needle like form of a Tuscan Cypress tree
reaching to the heavens clearly evokes a completely different reaction
in human perception than that of a spherical bush or spiky succulent.
However when they are combined and planted together in close proximity
they each stimulate a complimentary influence on the other i.e. the
cypress seems sharper and the sphere more spherical and so on! Understanding
some of these rules could help people avoid making the most simple yet
drastic of terminal green faux-pas when creating their dream Italian
Ever wondered why there are so many cypress trees around Tuscan farmhouses? I will be providing a plant profile of the mysterious cypress tree and many other plants in a later issue.
If you have any queries regarding gardening, or if you require professional advice with the planning and maintaining of your garden please contact Jonathan and he will do his best to answer your questions on-line