Best landscape design
Mon-Sat: 07:00 - 17:00
31 Mar 2018

Fruit trees and shrubs

It is rare to find in a garden all the conditions favorable for cultivating any type of fruit-bearing suitable for the climate of the place, so the choice can only be made between the most suitable species for environmental conditions, which can also vary significantly in the space of a few tens of meters. Land and situations: the ideal conditions consist of loose, fresh, deep, well-drained soils and on which vegetables have been grown for some years, so as to have a reserve of nutrients. A land sheltered from strong winds can prevent any damages and, in relation to freezing, it is better to use a slight slope that allows the cold air not to stagnate on the plants. It will also be good to avoid the shade and place the plants in full sun. The first thing to consider is the depth of the soil, that is the amount of exploitable soil that is located above the mother rock and that, usually, is greater in the valleys than on the sides or on the tops of the hills. Even in the flat areas, the depth varies considerably, from point to point, also due to the action of the man who acted on the ground for his purposes. Often, the subsoil is extracted and exposed to light and air for the first time: in this case, it requires to be treated with great care and abundantly fertilized. The clayey soils, moist and poorly aerated in winter, but dry and hard in summer, can give good results, provided that drainage is improved and abundant organic matter is provided. The use of protections, made with straw or other similar material, facilitates the drainage of water during the winter and, at the same time, maintains a good humidity even in the driest summers. In a completely different situation, there are gravely soils and those that contain abundant coarse sand: they are usually very poor and have no ability to retain water. For this reason, in summer they become dry causing the decay of the plants that come, in fact, to lack water, right in the period of fruiting, when they would need it most. This condition of rapid discharge of water occurs even during the wettest and most rainy winters; therefore, it is rare to intervene to facilitate drainage. On the contrary, it is good to add large amounts of organic matter and straw to these soils to reduce evaporation and, during the summer, when the rain is often insufficient, it is necessary to irrigate them properly. In addition, they, like chalky soils, need nutrient additions. The peaty soils are among the most unsuitable for the cultivation of fruit plants, excluding strawberries. In fact, they retain a large amount of water during the winter, but, following a very dry summer, due to the presence of peat, they hardly reabsorb humidity and the plants can, therefore, feel a considerable damage. The usable ground depth is just as important as the type. All fruit plants can produce a greater number of roots than is possible to imagine, both as regards anchoring to the substrate, and nourishment; consequently, the deeper the soil will be, the better will be the better conditions for vegetation. If the depth of the soil is less than 40 cm, special care must be taken as soon as the plants begin to take root; it will then be necessary to resort to fertilization and irrigation. A shallow ground, no more than 30-40 cm deep, can be good for strawberries: these, in fact, even if they have a root system that goes down very deep, are rarely grown on the same land for more than three consecutive years, and often even for less. There are also several ways to deepen some types of surface soils: in some cases, the parent rock can be crushed without being brought to the surface. This creates an overall deeper substrate that allows fertilizers and water to be better preserved and the air, essential for good growth, can easily penetrate the soil.

To plant a tree you must: 1) spread the roots in the hole; 2) check that the base of the trunk is at the level of the surrounding soil; 3) press the soil around the roots; 4) fasten two posts to the trunk; 5-6) tying them with cloth to prevent damage caused by rubbing.
To plant a tree you must: 1) spread the roots in the hole; 2) check that the base of the trunk is at the level of the surrounding soil; 3) press the soil around the roots; 4) fasten two posts to the trunk; 5-6) tying them with cloth to prevent damage caused by rubbing.

You have to be careful about the preparation of the soil because the plants can suffer and even die quickly if they are planted in recently prepared soils that are cold and wet: the previous production of a good quantity of vegetables can be an excellent condition, from the point physicochemical, for the cultivation of fruit plants, especially when organic fertilizers (eg manure) and other vegetable fertilizers have been added in abundance. If you plant strawberries, you do not need to resort to further fertilization. After harvesting the vegetables, you can not even work the land, apart from those indispensable operations to eliminate the weeds and residues of the previous crop; at this point both good physical conditions of the soil and an adequate depth of it are essential, and later, not later than the month of September, fertilization and irrigation will be carried out. When the trees are to be planted in a grassy ground, the plowing must be carried out in time so as to allow the soil to settle.


Water is the first element for plant nutrition and, without an adequate quantity, both growth and crop can be affected unfavorably: the periods of greatest need are spring and summer. Deep soil will almost always have an appropriate reserve of water, while a shallow one will not be able to cope with the drier periods, and irrigation will have to be carried out. Freshly planted trees and shrubs will need help in almost all seasons and some protection by straw, or other similar materials, will decrease water losses by evaporation. The most critical months are spring, during which the flowers bloom, the fruits are formed, the leaves grow along with the new branches that develop very quickly: all this activity requires a great abundance of water. In areas of northern Italy (quite humid even in summer) it will be sufficient, throughout the season, to irrigate at the beginning of May, using about five liters of water per m2, and also make adequate protection with substance organic like, for example, straw; while, in the rest of the peninsula, with a distinctly Mediterranean climate, at least one other irrigation should be carried out during the summer months. Keep in mind that, before irrigating, you must remove the protection and remember to put a new one after distributing the water. To keep the plants healthy and in good production, many chemical elements usually contained in the soil are also indispensable: the most important among these is nitrogen, in addition to potassium, phosphorus, calcium, manganese and magnesium, as well as small amounts of boron and other elements. Most of the fruit trees give better results in acidic soils; but if this acidity becomes excessive then it must be corrected by the use of calcium hydrate in the dose of 240 g / m2, for one or two years. This treatment will be followed by a chemical analysis of the soil to determine the degree of acidity and the other most important characteristics. The organic substance can be presented in various forms: stable manure, organic compost, residues from beer processing, peat, other residues in general, none of which is really complete, but which, added to the ground, or used to protect it from evaporation, increase its general fertility and improve its conditions; however, their use should be limited to cases of actual necessity. Nowadays a wide range of artificial fertilizers is available which can give excellent results if used with common sense. It is advisable, when possible, to make or have specialized institutes analyze the soil, so that the most appropriate remedies can be adopted, especially after the examination of trees and shrubs (see Diseases from deficiencies, Plant nutrition, Fertilizers, Ground). Cultivation: Most fruit plants should be grown on soil without other vegetation and well prepared and worked. It is however possible, and sometimes even necessary, to grow grass around already established trees. This makes it easier and more enjoyable to reach the trees at any time of year, walking in the grass instead of on the clouds; you must then make at least one mowing during the summer because there is no danger of competition for the plants. In some cases, however, during the dry season, the grass, even if kept low, also enters into competition with the crops for water and nutrients, which must be supplied with a sufficient quantity, otherwise the plants will come to suffer. Fleshy fruits develop better on processed soils, but even in these the competition of bad herbs can be noticeable. At least the earth around young plants should be kept clear until they have taken root. Modern herbicides have facilitated the task of keeping the soil clear, however these products should be used with great caution and in very low doses due to their toxicity to animals, including humans, as well as to the danger that their prolonged use may lead to soil hysterization. Once the plant has been installed, the soil tillage must be rather superficial. In fact, if they are deep, they will certainly damage the roots and therefore diminish their ability to nourish the plant. Sometimes, however, such a form of root pruning can be useful, when for example the root system is too developed compared to the aerial part.

If it is necessary to make deeper processes to break up the surface crust and eliminate weeds after harvesting, November is the most suitable month. In doing so, the land has the possibility to reorganize itself before the following spring. From March onwards, it will be sufficient to work a surface layer of two or three centimeters, to avoid the germination of unwanted plant seeds. Furthermore, the processed layer protects the underlying soil and reduces evaporation; instead deep plowing obtain the opposite effect, not to mention that any operation becomes necessary, the effect would be more rapid in the worked terrains. When the grass is left to grow around the plants, it will be better not to allow it to reach a height higher than 8-10 cm during the summer; the cut parts should then be left in place to decompose. It may be necessary to cut the grass several times between May and September, depending on rainfall. On light and superficial soils, a turf can make things worse by taking water to the cultivated plants, unless intense irrigation is done and at the same time effectively protecting the soil. On steeply inclined slopes the grass will help keep the soil stable, reducing soil erosion. It is important to completely eliminate the grass that grows around trees that, even if healthy, produce fruits in very low quantities; this operation will be carried out by working the soil. It will be good not to go deep down with the workings, since most of the roots are superficial and would therefore be easily damaged. Once the work is done, the fruit trees will respond well to fertilization, but after a year it may be necessary to repeat the above operations. Choice of plants: the soil is the basis of success for the growth of fruits, but soon after comes the choice of plants. No one would choose stunted plants, poor and with diseased leaves; but we must also pay attention to choose a species and a variety suitable for local conditions. It is appropriate to use plants produced in nurseries of proven seriousness in order to guarantee a healthy material. Over the years, many good varieties have disappeared or become very weak due to attacks by virus diseases. Since very few of the old varieties have proven resistant to these diseases, researchers have selected new resistant forms. Today, thanks to long studies and careful experiments, the health situation of fruit plants has greatly improved and those who buy them have excellent opportunities to buy healthy material. However, these plants can still be attacked by virus diseases and some of these, unfortunately, cannot be combated by ordinary means. Plants rendered immune
in relation to certain diseases they are stronger, more productive and their fruits are bigger than those of the unselected plants. The work, performed on some old varieties, has made them not only resistant, but some of their best characters have been enhanced, while some negative sides are often completely gone. In addition to increasing the choice of varieties, the researchers have also tried to breed smaller fruit trees, especially Meli, Peri, Susini and Ciliegi. In fact, if the dimensions are reduced, the plants can be more easily treated, the fruit harvest is much easier and ultimately they are ideal for the garden of modest dimensions.


Usually, the plants multiplied by cuttings, using branches of a year and cutting them into small pieces of 25 cm each, develop better, are more productive and are more adaptable to different types of soil. For these reasons, it is inadvisable to resort to plants coming directly from seed, and the system of the widespread gifts by cuttings has been established in a few years. As a base material, seedlings are used from which the cuttings are taken using the basal portion of the young stem. Both the size of future plants and the abundance and quality of the fruit will depend on the choice of material to be used for cuttings. It is therefore evident the importance of a very careful choice. The apple tree was the object of the most research. In the Experimental Station of East Malling, in England, a series of gifts of the Dolcigno, Paradiso and other still marked varieties were selected, the first two, by the initials EM, followed by a Roman numeral, the others by the initials MM, followed by a Roman or cardinal number. Among the best known is EM XII, very vigorous, EM IX, rather early in starting production, EM VII, of intermediate characteristics. Other known gifts are MM IX, MM II, MM 104, MM 111 and MM 24 which gives rise to trees of considerable size. As far as the plum tree is concerned, it has not yet been possible to select a series of small varieties, suitable for use in small gardens. Selection of varieties: the choice of varieties depends a lot on personal tastes, but a certain guide can be found in the consultation of specialized catalogs and books and on the advice of experts, even if amateurish, fruit growers. Today there are many varieties available, while some, once very used, has now practically disappeared. At commercial nurseries, you can find only those that meet a certain demand in the market and this for obvious reasons of economic convenience. Generally, the possibilities of choice for the garden are greater than for the orchard, since in the first case it is less tied to criteria of economic profit. It is evident that we can have better and more regular productions if we make a rigorous selection. This principle, always valid, becomes particularly in the case of fruit trees. Some varieties give good productions even when a single individual is bred and very far from others similar to him. In these cases, these are non-self-sterile plants, in which the pollen can fertilize the pistils produced on the same plant or on others of the same variety. Accurate scientific research has confirmed the experience of many gardeners and fruit growers, namely that it is not advisable to breed only one variety; keeping in mind this and other rules related to the possibilities of fertilization, many disappointments can be avoided. In general fruit trees can be divided into three groups: a) self-complying varieties (self-fertilizing), which give rise to a complete production of fruits with their own pollen; b) only partially self-compatible varieties, which give a partial production of fruit with their own pollen; c) self-incompatible varieties, which do not give rise to any production with their own pollen. Theoretically, only self-compatible varieties should be used, but since there are some that, although they do not have this characteristic, they have other excellent qualities, we must also provide a certain use of the latter. In case the self-fertilizing varieties are used for the production of pollen. With the help of many insects, especially bees, the pollen is transferred from plant to plant and from variety to variety when they are in full bloom; and so is the so-called cross-fertilization. This operation is crowned with success, ie fertilization with the consequent development of the fruit when the plants are close enough to each other and the weather conditions favor the activity of pollinating insects (called pollinating insects).

The results may be poor in the case of cold and very humid weather when even the self-fertilizing varieties can give mediocre results. Finally, it should be recalled that cross-pollination is beneficial for the production of fruits of all varieties. When you want to use this type of fertilization, you have to be careful that the chosen plants bloom at the same time. But with certain plants, such as Susini and Ciliegi, in addition to adopting this precaution, we must also be careful to choose very carefully the varieties to be associated, so that fertilization is possible. As already mentioned, whatever variety is chosen as pollinating, it is essential to ensure, in addition to the fact that it flourishes regularly every year, also that its flowering period overlaps for several days to that of the other varieties used. Cherry tree. The varieties of sweet fruit C. are self-sterile and cross-pollination can produce valuable crops only if a careful selection of the varieties to be used has been made, given that if they belong to the same group they can not fertilize one with the other. other. Also in the case of C. it is important to ensure that the associated plants have an equal flowering period. The many varieties of C. cultivated are divided into four groups according to the type of fruit, namely: a) Duracine: Corniola, Bella of Pistoia, Turca, Durona of Verona, Bigarreau Moreau, Precoce Burlat; b) Tenerinas: Precoce della Marca, Queen of the market, Mora di Vignola, Goriziana, Moretta, Precoce of Bolzano, Caccianese, Acquaviva; c) Visciolone: Early English, Regina Ortensia, Bella by Chatenay; d) Marasche: Northern Agriotta, Short-stemmed Agriotta, Amarena di Pescara.
Strawberry. The cultivated F. produce much larger and showy fruits, even if less valuable as a flavor than those of F. wild (Fragaria vesca), common in our woods. The varieties grown all come from two American species: Fragaria chiloensis and Fragaria virginiana. There are uniform varieties that bear fruit in a single age, and F. re-fitting or re-flowering, which instead fructify during the whole good season; the latter isn’t very widespread in Italy because they should have some crops in the middle of summer, at a time that is not very favorable for drought and high temperatures. The F. adapts to the most diverse environments, however, in areas with a drought climate during the summer, irrigation is necessary. Most varieties are self-fertilizing.

Apple tree

Some varieties do not produce any fruit when they are self-fertilized, while others, in favorable conditions, have a good production. Crops are best when cross-pollination can be achieved. There are not a few varieties of common use that give rather poor results as self-pollinators (triploid varieties), but most of them are diploid, that is with a normal number of chromosomes, and then the pollination takes place very well. It is important that there are at least two diploid varieties in a plant unless the pollinating agent is already sufficiently self-fertilizing by itself. We must therefore always be careful that the flowering periods of the different varieties coincide at least in part. Winter temperatures and planting locations can influence (but relatively) the flowering period. The table varieties, which most interest those who breed the M for their own pleasure, are divided, according to the age of ripening of the fruits, into three groups namely: a) summer (from July to September), such as the Astracan white and red and Yellow transparent; b) autumn (from September to mid-December), such as Gravenstein, Delicious, Renetta of Canada, King David; c) winter (from mid-December to May), such as Limoncella, white Rosemary, Wagener. However. P. varieties today available on the market are less fertile than the previous ones. Most of them are self-sterile and for fructification must be in association with suitable pollinator varieties. It is not rare parthenocarpy, ie fruiting not preceded by fertilization, in which case the fruit does not contain any seed. Depending on the ripening period of the fruits, there are varieties: a) summer, such as the Citron des Carmes, the Incrocio Morettini 113, the Precoce of Trévoux, the Coscia, the precocious William; b) autumn, such as B. Hardy, the Duchess of Angourème, the Kaiser, the Curate; e) winter, like the Passa Colmar, the Passa Crassana, the Decana in winter, the Spina Carpi. Peach. Most varieties are autofecondanti, with few exceptions, like Hale, which produces pollen very poor quality. It is a plant that requires a lot of heat and a remarkable brightness. Some var. also like Beautiful early Rome, the Golden East, the Mayflower and other, they have a physiological need for low winter temperatures. In northern Italy, it is preferable to have exposure to the south, while, in the southern part of the peninsula, where the climate is drier, for which it is also necessary to irrigate, one must choose an exposure mainly towards the north. Sometimes, it may be advisable to plant different varieties together, each with different temperature requirements, even if modest, in order to avoid the total loss of the harvest, if during the blooming there is a period of unfavorable temperatures for a given variety.
Plum. While there are numerous varieties of S. fecundable with their own pollen, others, even valuable ones, are self-sterile. It is appropriate course ensure pollination in an orchard, planting a variety least also known as self-fertile. The varieties of S. can be classified according to the degree of self-sterility and the period of maturation. Below are the lists of the most used varieties in our country, divided according to the criteria described above: a) self-sterile: Burbank, Santarosa, Shiro, America, Combination, Heron, unfavorable temperatures for a given variety.


While there are numerous varieties of S. fecundable with their own pollen, others, even valuable ones, are self-sterile. It is appropriate course ensure pollination in an orchard, planting a variety least also known as self-fertile. The varieties of S. can be classified according to the degree of self-sterility and the period of maturation. Below are the lists of the most used varieties in our country, divided according to the criteria described above: a) self-sterile: Burbank, Santarosa, Shiro, America, Combination, Heron, Ogden, Oberdan, Satsuma; b) self-nutrition in different grades: Chalco, Giant, Mirabolano, Santarosa, Burbank; c) early: Ruth Gerstetter, Florentia, Methley, Morettini 355, Shiro; d) late: Stanley, Prugna d’Este 707, Giant, Queen Victoria, Prugna d’Italia. The earliest varieties can be successfully used in areas with a more benign climate. In the northern part of the peninsula, on the other hand, and generally in areas less favored by the climate, and where fructification is therefore later, the less early ripening varieties can be successfully used. Protection of fruit plants. Attacks of insects or due to other less abundant causes, on many plants. But they become dangerous only when the plants are attacked in a massive way so as to suffer obvious damage. The fight against these unwanted guests is made more difficult by the fact that they perform their cycle even at the expense of spontaneous plants. When the land for the plantation is prepared, it is necessary to give a careful look to identify any harmful presences such as the larvae of Beetle, which eat the roots of the young plants. We must also pay attention to the old stumps that can house the fungus Armillaria mellea (Chiodino), which can then spread into the ground and attack and kill the roots. Both numerous perennials, and several annual cycle weeds, can act as hosts for a large number of diseases and certain virosis can be transmitted in this way and attack fruit trees. Having a soil free from pests is essential to obtain a satisfactory health situation, at the time of plant growth and crop of the product. There are various types of fungicides and insecticides on the market that can be injured in the soil, but their use is limited to really serious cases. Even if the plants are planted perfectly healthy and the soil is in good sanitary conditions, it is not at all difficult for the parasites to attack sooner or later. Most of them appear when the plants are growing and emitting new branches, leaves, flowers and fruits. Among the insects the most harmful are the aphids, which include many sucking lymph species, and the larval stages of other insect families, which during this period of their lives, when they are commonly called caterpillars, have a great appetite and devour any substance vegetable. The aphids attack the plants throughout the good season and spend the winter as eggs, nestled in some sheltered spot of a tree or a shrub. Aphids can increase rapidly and cause serious damage that occurs in the presence of twisted twigs, curled leaves, flowers and badly reduced and poor fruit. Especially in drought periods it is necessary to constantly watch to intervene at the right time with suitable products, always choosing the less toxic for the other animals and plants. The caterpillars of various species can winter, not infrequently, even at a certain distance from the fruit trees, and then move and attack their favorite parts, from spring to late. The red spider is a parasite that can seriously damage during the summer. trees. The adults suck the sap from the leaves that become bronze and in case of a severe attack can cause reddening of the fruits. The massive infestations of these tiny animals, easily recognizable by their size and bright red color, can be combated by spraying the plants with appropriate chemicals. But the worst enemies of fruit trees are the molds, which during the summer can cover the leaves, the fruits and the young twigs with a dense white-greyish felt. These diseases, like many others, continue to infest the same guests year after year; and once they have become established it becomes rather difficult to be right. Mushrooms of the genus Botrytis produce a gray mold that attacks the fleshy fruits, seriously ruining them at harvest time. Other species spoil the already harvested apples and pears and, in case of severe attack, can also cause cancers on the woody parts. The list of these enemies of fruit plants could be very long.

Fortunately, however, there are means of struggle that, if used appropriately and carefully, prove to be effective in the control of almost all diseases (see for more detailed information in this regard the individual items related to the various species of pests). Then there are some good rules that, used in the garden, especially during the winter, season of vegetative rest, can be very effective to keep the enemies of our plants at bay. In fact, many of these (the animal enemies are considered here) spend the winter on the trees in the egg, larva or adult stage. A first recommendation consists of burning all the parts removed with pruning and all the more or less large fragments of bark that are detached from the plant. The cancerous parts must be cleaned up by eliminating all the diseased wood and therefore it is necessary to carry on the wound of the brushes with substances that favor the cicatrization. We should also eliminate the weed grass around the base of the plants. It will also be useful to make rings at a certain height around the tree trunk in autumn, with greasy and sticky substances, to trap the adults of some species of harmful butterflies when they climb on the tree to lay their eggs. It is, therefore, necessary to always collect and destroy the fruit that is sick or infested with parasites. Leaves fall to the ground can be diseases carriers and keep pests alive, from autumn to the following spring; it is, therefore, advisable to pick them up carefully and burn them. It may also be appropriate to use mineral oils, preferably light and therefore derived from petroleum; besides having a good ovicidal function, they also eliminate the adults of many species of insects and are also effective against some plant pests. In order to protect oneself from damage caused by small mammals like rats, rats, and other rodents, it is advisable to use repellent substances which, on the products to be defended, keep away unwanted guests, both to the taste and to the smell. Instead, the need to defend and protect the birds that frequent the gardens will not be recommended enough. Cincie, robins, blackcaps, woodpeckers, blackbirds, finches, etc. they devour a lot of harmful insects and are one of the main weapons that nature gives us to defend our crops for free. Unfortunately, in our country, these nice and helpful guests who decorate the gardens, with their voice, their liveliness and their grace, are massacred in millions thanks to an anachronistic hunting law, still in force today despite the efforts of many protectionist organizations, with guns and nets, since the end of August, when many still have babies in their nest, until the last day of March, when almost everyone has already started breeding the first brood, so the killing an adult leads to the destruction of an entire brood. The survivors are then decimated by the increasingly widespread use that today is made of chemicals for agriculture, especially insecticides and herbicides, in many cases areas subject to spring frosts. Preservation of fruits. Often, since gardeners usually grow fruit trees mainly for pleasure, it happens that more fruit is produced than needed. Ripe fruits can be preserved in various ways; so the fleshy ones, with or without central hazel, lend themselves well to being canned, bottled or kept at very low temperatures. Apples and pears can be stored for weeks and even months, in a cool environment.

Read also: Photographers in the garden what the eye sees and what the camera


30 Mar 2018

Floor covering for your terrace

The choice of a floor covering for the terrace can change the mood of a garden.

Each material has its advantages and its aesthetic qualities. Choose the one that will harmonize with both the style of the garden and that of the house.

The terrace is much more than an outdoor space surrounding the house.

From the first beautiful days, it is also a place of life which must be equipped and arranged as such and thus decorated.

This decoration devoid of vertical walls concerns the ground first.

Floor covering for terrace

Depending on whether you wish to stay at the garden level or a little elevated, you have the choice between various materials, themselves declined in multiple colors and patterns: wood and its composites, tiles, stone, concrete or just the gravel.

If you opt for a hard coating, remember that the terrace receives rain.

It is, therefore, necessary to provide a slight slope or drainage systems to prevent seepage or puddles.

This precaution is essential if the terrace overcomes part of the building.

It must then be provided with a sealing treatment.

A water repellent treatment is also useful for maintaining the appearance of the terrace.

Paved surfaces such as terraces and other places of rest mark the overall image of a garden, especially on small sites, where they are necessarily more visible.

Free materials like gravel or chippings are a charming option for places far from home.

We can not do without sweeping and washing them only need to regularly pass the rake to remove flowers or dead leaves as well as weed seeds ready to germinate.

It is important to prepare the soil before spreading the gravel: clear the roots of the most stubborn weeds and tamp well.

An anti-weed veil placed under the gravel permanently slows down the appearance of new weeds.

For the coating, fine gravel or chippings are comfortable underfoot.

Read also: Photographers in the garden what the eye sees and what the camera

29 Mar 2018

Photographers in the garden what the eye sees and what the camera

Gardening and photography are two pastimes that, combined, in addition to providing us with the way to escape from everyday worries, relax us and give us the pleasure of creating a living and refined works. Even a simple camera, used with the necessary precautions, is sufficient to obtain good results, without having to resort to high-quality devices, what can be done later, when the needs increase as the photographer’s expertise increases and his sensitivity. The garden offers the amateur photographer great satisfaction. There are hundreds of ways to make a garden useful for creating compositional effects, suggestive combinations of figures, flowers and color contrasts; in it the portraits find an ideal frame, a harmonizing scenario, especially as regards the children who take on that casual attitude, unfailingly lost when they have to pose in another environment. Photographing your garden, in the splendor of spring or summer, also allows you to make comparisons, think of other accommodations for the following year; it means to see it grow.

Power of macro photography and technique that allows you to keep the subject in focus and blur the background, on which the flower stands out in all its beauty.

Power of macro photography
Power of macro photography

To understand how this happens, you first need to know how the images are formed on the sensor (on film in analog cameras). It all stems from the fact that the angle of view of a lens is different from the binocular field of vision, that is, from what the two eyes of man see.

It all stems from the fact that the angle of field of a lens is different from the binocular field of view, that is from what they see the two eyes of man

By simplifying, we can state that, when we observe, what is outside the field of vision is not perceived by our eyes. The same thing happens with the angle of view of the lenses, which changes depending on the focal length.
For our example, among all the possible targets we have chosen the normal objective. A target is said to be normal if its focal length is even (or approximately equal) to the diagonal of the sensor. The full frame sensor (24×36 mm or Leica) is as large as a frame of the film and is, in our opinion, the format par excellence of photography, more expensive but preferable to various APS formats, which are smaller. The normal lenses for the full frame, all have a focal length of 50 mm. Photographs made with the normal lens have the property of reproducing the framed scene more or less as our eyes see it. But this does not mean that the angle of view of a normal lens is equal to the human visual field. In fact, a 50 mm lens has a field angle, both horizontal and vertical, equal to 46 °, very different from the human visual field.
After these premises, we can proceed to the discovery of how the image is formed on the image plane, which we will call PI.

Today, lenses are made up of several lenses which, however, behave substantially like a single lens. We therefore feel free to represent the lens as a single lens. And we do not do anything wrong: the first objectives of the history of photography were really composed of a single lens.

How the image is formed

In Figure we see what happens when we look at a scene with a flower and a butterfly, where we have placed three points, all at the same distance D from the lens. We note that the lens does not see the point 3 (butterfly) that is out of its angle of field.

Therefore on the image plane (PI) we will find only the footprints (ie the images) 1 * and 2 * of the points 1 and 2. (En passant we point out that the image will result below, but we will not insist on this point).

Photographers in the garden

Then we removed the flower, the butterfly, the angle of field and left only the points 1 and 2 of the flower. We have added two important elements of the goal. First of all the focus F (red dot), an important point because it is the one where the light rays reflected by a very, very distant point converge: in the language of the photographers they say “a point to infinity” (∞). Then we added the optical center C (point blue) and we have indicated the focal length 50 mm (distance of C from F). Finally we added an indispensable element of the camera, the sensor (S), which will record the fingerprints for us. Let’s go into detail.

● Imprint of point 1. Between all the beams of reflective light 1  there is the one parallel to the optical axis (red line). When this ray meets the target, it is deflected (refracted) through fire F. Let’s take another ray of light reflected from 1, the one passing through C (green line) and that is not deflected. The PI image plane is where the two rays (red and green) meet (ie in 1 *, fingerprint or image of 1) and is parallel to the lens (lens).

● Imprint of point 2. Between all the light beams, refer to 2, the one parallel to the optical axis (gray dashed line) does not meet the target. To find its footprint, consider the light ray reflected by 2 which passes through the optical center C (blue line) and which is not deflected. The impression 2 * is formed where the spoke meets the PI image plane previously found.

Why are these prints formed on the image plane? explains it. With respect to the previous one we left the PI image plane where the 1 * and 2 * impressions of points 1 and 2 are formed. These impressions are formed thanks to the sunlight reflected from 1 and 2 (photography means written with light).

What is photography?

It may seem a trivial question, but the answer would be enough to fill all the pages of this book. Its appeal also derives from the fact that photography has different meanings for each person. Photography is so present in our life that it would be impossible to imagine one without it. We probably could not look at a wedding photo, see the growth of children or we would not be able to go on holiday without a camera. We are continually bombarded with images: newspapers, magazines, advertising as well as on paper, even on television, on the internet. Yet we are never satisfied. What drives us to take pictures? What role does photography play, in relation to other forms of visual expression, in the communication of information and ideas? Does a photographer have any responsibility? What does it actually imply? And what makes an image a success? Throughout the book we will try to give an explanation to these questions with the awareness that photography is a combination of subjective thoughts, creative imagination, visual creation, technical competence and practical organization. With a broad circular look at all aspects of photography, you will be able to focus on your ideas in photographic terms. On the one hand you need to know the technical aspect and the camera, even if you do not need to exceed the details too early, on the other you have different approaches on how to take a picture suitable for the purpose, from documenting an event to communicating an idea to a particular audience, working by expressing their ideas or those of some other person, or by free interpretation to the public.


Aspects of photography

Perhaps you have been attracted to photography because it appears to be a quick, convenient and objective way to register reality. All the importance lies in the meaning of the subject itself and your intent is to objectively show what it is or what it is doing (the first steps of a child or the scratches on the bodywork to show to the insurer). Photography is then realism, it becomes a proof of that situation. In this case the camera is used to capture a visual memory. The other side of photography is when it is used to manipulate or to propose its own interpretation of reality, then the images will essentially bring out personal evaluations and positions. You can create unreal situations (as in advertising) or choose to resume only some aspects of an event and not others (as for internal politics news). Photography is a powerful means of persuasion and propaganda. It enjoys such a reputation for objectivity that, in shrewd hands, makes it possible to transform any reality into another. Take for example the album of your memories. What does it contain, your daily life or just happy moments? Another reason why we dedicate ourselves to photography could be the search for a means of personal expression that allows us to explore our own ideas. It may seem strange that a apparently so objective means can be used to express, for example, the object of a desire, identity, race or fantasy. Probably all of us have seen images ‘represented’ in other objects, like seeing some animals in a cloud formation, in shadows or in rust. A photograph can become intriguing, thanks to the questions we ask ourselves, allowing us to see things that do not exist. The way in which the image is presented is also important, at least as much as the subject. Other types of photographers seek only the beauty and the portray in their ‘picturesque’ style, as an art form in its own right. For many people one of the biggest attractions for photography is equipment. All an ingenious technology designed to satisfy our dexterity and the eye, in fact we feel a great satisfaction in pressing buttons, in triggering high precision mechanisms, in collecting and carrying sophisticated photographic equipment. The tools are undoubtedly of vital importance, and their perfect knowledge is absolutely necessary, but let’s not reduce ourselves to taking pictures just to test the performance of the device! Another attraction is the photographic process itself: a challenge between our technical skills and the final result of the portrait object. The results will then be judged and enjoyed on the basis of their intrinsic photographic qualities: contents of high interest, superb details, richness of tones and colors strongly expressive. The photographic process provides the means to ‘capture what we see’, to obtain images without having to work laborious designs. The camera is a kind of time machine, which ‘freezes’ any person, place or situation we want. It seems that it gives those who use it the power to dominate reality. Another aspect that fascinates is the pleasure of the visual structure of the photographs. There is a real complacency that comes from the composition of the images as such: the geometry of the lines and shapes, the balance of the tones, the ‘cut’ and the structure of the elements, whatever the subject portrayed. All this can be achieved with a change of point of view or with the choice of a certain moment to shoot. These are just some aspects of the different possibilities and the different interests connected to photography. Many then find themselves fused together in the practice of a photographer’s work. Your current interest can be based primarily on technology, on the artistic aspect or on visual communication. We can know where interest is born, but not where it evolves, so it is It is important for a beginner to maintain a certain openness in his mind. Try to equip yourself with the right bases by learning something from all the various aspects, preferably not limiting yourself to the theory, but with a good support of practical applications.

Read also: Floor covering for your terrace

28 Mar 2018

Decks to adore

When the nights are balmy and the days long and warm, there’s nothing more relaxing than lazing an undercover deck transforms the backyard into an outdoor retreat that can be enjoyed year round, connecting the indoors with the garden.
If you want to build a deck, take time to do some research, to find the size and style that suits your home and choose a material aligned to your budget and lifestyle. Be sure to check building codes and bushfire zone regulations for your area, too. Timber was once the only material used for decks but these days there is a range of composite, resin, metal and cement products that look smart and modern, and they need little maintenance.
Unless you have other shady spots, you’re going to need a roof to shade the deck in summer, so factor this into the construction costs. Make the deck more inviting by styling with bright cushions on the furniture, outdoor rugs and potted plants. Buy some self-watering pots, and use a double saucer for big plants if you have timber decking, as water leaks stain the wood.

Garden desing materials deck

Timber decking

People choose timber decking because it’s a natural product with a warm, traditional ambience. It comes in a range of widths, and is a good choice if you enjoy going barefoot in summer, as it stays cooler than many other materials. It’s also good in wet climates and for pool areas because, although it absorbs some water, it does not get too slippery.
Timber’s biggest downfall is that it weathers when exposed to the elements and needs sealing, usually yearly, depending on its exposure to sun and rain. Sealers enhance the natural colour and stop timber splitting, cracking and rotting. Decking products can only be used on seasoned timber, as unseasoned hardwoods containing tannins need to be treated to remove these before sealing.
Timber decks are not as suitable for fire-prone areas and can be attacked by termites and borers, although hardwoods are more resistant. When you are shopping around, ask about the source of the timber, to check on sustainability. The tropical hardwoods are mostly felled in South-East Asian rainforests. Here are some options to consider.

Garden desing materials deck

Manmade decking

For a non-fuss, practical and modern finish, consider composite, polyurethane resin, aluminium and cement fibre decking, as they keep their good looks with just an occasional sweep and mop. Fibre cement and aluminium are the best choice for fire-prone areas, and any wood composite that has a fire-retardant coating. Some have a Bushfire Attack Level rating of up to BAL-40.

There are some manmade decking boards that are made from recycled materials, which add to their ‘green’ credentials, but most of them are more expensive than timber.
One advantage of manmade boards is that they resist stains, mildew and scratches, and do not splinter or rot. Some products stay cool and are anti-slip. Many have finishes that resemble timber, such as the quality resin and composite products, which look reasonably authentic and are less likely to fade than cheaper versions.
Most manmade decking is easy to lay, as all the boards are straight and the same length.
Most types are manufactured with a groove along the side and are fixed with a clip or similar concealed fastening system, which saves on labour costs as installation is relatively quick.
Some aluminium products can be laid flush, so there are no gaps between the boards, which can be useful when you want to use the area beneath a raised deck for storage.

Modular decking

Composite, pine or merbau modular decking is widely available. The prefabricated, modular project kits include a base frame, deck panels and fixings that you use a drill to assemble. Some of the systems have interlocking deck tiles that snap into place, and these can transform an existing concrete patio or balcony.

Garden desing materials deck

Cleaning & resurfacing

While hardwood timber decking can be left to weather to a natural grey, it’s usually oiled to protect it, and to show off the beautiful colour and grain of the timber. To clean the boards, pressure wash them or use a hard broom and water jet, then allow to dry before sealing. For decks that are very weathered, use a specialist wood cleaner to brighten the timber before re-coating. Marks on the boards may need sanding to erase them.
Transparent coatings show off the natural timber characteristics, or you can stain them to a more intense colour. After our experience of a lurid burgundy pine deck, we now follow the product instructions carefully, and stir the can well before applying. Use the brush or roller recommended by the manufacturer for the best result. Choose either an oil-based or water-based formula, and stick to that type of product for the life of the deck. If you want to change, you have to strip the timber back to bare wood and start again. Oil-based coatings penetrate the wood better. They also give the timber a ‘wet’ look and are more durable. Water-based coatings are environmentally friendly, have less odour and dry more quickly.



27 Mar 2018

Akebia (Lardizabalaceae)

Japanese name of the plant. This genus includes shrub-like twining species, half-second in mild climate, originating in China and Japan.

The curious inflorescences of Akebia quinala.
The curious inflorescences of Akebia quinala.

Cultivated species of Akebia:

Akebia quinata and Akebia trifoliata (left lobata) can grow from m 5 to m 10; the greatest difference between them is the number of leaflets present in each leaf, which are obviously three in the trifoliata and five in the quinata. The flowers are thyrsoid inflorescences that bear masculine and feminine flowers on the same raceme; the latter is almost twice the size of the masculine ones, both purple-reddish, slightly perfumed and in general not very showy and of short duration; appear in spring and are followed by uncommon purple sausage-shaped fruits that open to ripening and curl backwards showing the black seeds enclosed by a white pulp.


the most suitable soil is light and permeable, with a sunny or a sunny position; their growth takes considerable advantage from fairly substantial pruning carried out every three or four years. They multiply by propagation carried out in autumn and detached in spring, by cuttings made under glass in summer or can be reproduced by seed, when ripe, at the end of summer, wintering the seedlings in the caisson.