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14 Jun 2018

The garden as a place of entertainment

With the arrival of the hot season you spend more time outdoors, and there is nothing better than a corner of ter-breed or garden in which to improvise a cozy dining room. A comfortable and functional furniture will help you make the most of the space: swings, sandboxes, dungeons, play areas for children, swimming pools … The garden offers a myriad of activities for the whole family. Under the portico or terrace you can recreate a romantic ambience with traditional design furniture, natural materials and aged finishes that will give the whole a rustic touch. Even children can enjoy domestic outdoor spaces. Thanks to suitable furniture and accessories to keep them entertained, the garden will become one of their favorite places, where you can play and maybe get passionate about gardening. A well-air-conditioned space will allow you to rest and enjoy the well-being of outdoor life.

Tips
1. In the children’s play areas, avoid poisonous plants.
2. If swallowed, ivy, potos, holly, melia, vinca, and many others are toxic.
3. To keep children entertained remember to allocate a garden area to the sabbia, which you will renew periodically, and avoid abrasive pavements.
4. A specific grass area can be reserved for children, with slides, swings and other games.
5. For outdoor games, the best material is wood. If the toys are made of plastic, they must be resistant to UVA rays.
6. Avoid placing thorny or poisonous plants in transit areas.
7. If you put small trees home, children can learn to walk by clinging to their branches.
8. Taking advantage of a swimming pool and the watchful eyes of an adult, children can become familiar with the water.
9. Place the play area in a visible spot even from inside the house.
10. Ponds or fountains with fish, plants, tar-tarughe and ducks will be an additional attraction for children.

• If you intend to use the terrace mainly for sunbathing and resting, a sofa and a table will suffice.
• If you plan to have lunch or dinner in the garden, calculate the space needed to place a dining table with a parasol.
• Leave some areas of the dining area free to maintain an airy space.

No

• Do not forget the presence of a shadow zone: it is as important as light, especially during the summer months.
• Do not place a large table in a small space. There are folding models or extendable tables that will allow you to arrange the number of diners you want, comfortably and without problems.

Yes

• Create a lounge area between the pool and an area planted with pine trees. You will get a magical corner, perfect for relaxing in the heart of the garden.
• Protect the tables and the outdoor mattress with a pergola.
• Place a tent in the garden: children can play with the Indians.

No

• If you have children suffering from allergies, avoid planting
olive trees, cedars, poplars or oaks.
• Arrange plants with thorns like roses, wild blackberries or
cactus far from the play areas for children.

Make sure that the play area is close to the house in order to be able to monitor it at all times. In the space for children’s games, an area for the sandbox will be essential: you will have fun a world to dig and build castles

Tips
1. Find an isolated and free position to relax in the evening breeze or the morning sun.
2. Insert a raised platform from the ground by one or two steps. It may be ideal for designing a lounge space that can be used by adults and children.
3. Place large cushions and covers on the ground to protect yourself from the humidity of the night.
4. Choose a functional furniture: the different alternatives can be very refined. Choose the one that best fits your garden.
5. If you want everything to be in style, with-tattate companies that offer a complete furnishing of armchairs, sofas, table tops, dining tables and pergolas.
6. Choose furniture in light material and easy to transport, so that you can reposition at any time.
7. Arrange cushions on the chairs to make them more comfortable. Some ground ottomans are a good solution when you have guests and there are no suffi ciency chairs.
8. You can place a wind chime with bamboo tubes, which resonates with a gentle and relaxing tinkling when it is moved by the wind.
9. Attract birds by arranging a watering hole.
10. Insert a hammock to rest on. You can place it between two trees to enjoy their shade on hot days.

10 Jun 2018

Great gardens of Europe

The gardens that deserve the appellation of “great” have been many, through the ages and in almost all civilized countries. The fact that only those of Europe are treated here does not mean that there were no marvelous ones in Persia, for example, or in India, or that they do not exist in North and South America; it is simply that the discussion concerns the historically most important gardens for us Europeans, those that reflect the events and tastes of our old continent and that are therefore closer to our feelings and our conception of life. They are also the most numerous, since their construction covers centuries of history, artistic evolutions and rivalries between the powerful; kings, grand dukes, and nobles for a long time wanted to have palaces and castles, each one more beautiful than the others: the relative gardens were a source of pride no less than the splendid rooms and precious works of art; often, indeed, even more. It is obviously not possible to describe all of them splendid gardens that meander across Europe; we must therefore make a further choice, trying to speak not only of the most beautiful, but also of those most representative of a certain style or epoch.
Italy
Italy is rich in gardens and many of them have become property of the State for various events and for donations, while others are private and some of them can be visited on certain days. In Tuscany we find a large group of clearly Renaissance setting despite the subsequent changes that have not changed its essential character. The famous Boboli Gardens in Florence, begun around the middle of the 16th century, are rich in statues and vegetation: the most interesting motif is the road bordered by shaped hedges and centenary trees, which starts from the Belvedere and reaches the oval basin with islet and the famous statue of the Ocean performed by Giambologna. Stupendous for the proportions and the simple admirable scenography of the connection of the different levels is also Pan fi teatro. Next to Florence, near Settignano, we find the Villa della Gamberaia, whose structure dates back to `600; this, although not being
large (about one hectare), is in its main part a beautiful example of Italian garden, with its water mirrors placid and refined by oleanders that contrast with the topiary works; these give shape to quick cypresses, at rates, at low evergreens; a green lawn, exceptional for its length in a dry climate, and bordered by cypress trees, forms the connection with the baroque part, made up in part by a lovely eighteenth-century courtyard of exquisite workmanship.
Near Collodi there is the Villa Garzoni, whose garden, laterally displaced from the villa itself in an unusual way, constitutes a large scenography of spectacular, theatrically baroque ethnos. It starts from large parterres of flowers with two fountains with high central spurts and ascends the slope of a hill with three terraces articulated by stairs, fountains, central water games and side waterfalls to the steps; at the top two large fi gures symbolize Florence and Lucca, while at the top of a statue representing the Fama, a powerful jet of water flows back into the basin below. With Villa Marlía, next to Lucca, we enter into the heart of history, as it was bought in 1806 by Elisa Bonaparte, Napoleon’s sister, Grand Duchess of Tuscany. It was built in 1600 and has beautiful gardens, among which we can mention the so-called “teatro di verzura”, a wonderful jewel created by shaping yew trees to form, in a hemicycle, wings, wings, boxes and even the pit for the prompter, all around a stage made of rasa grass and animated by statues representing the masks of the Italian theater. The garden, well preserved and very classic, has high hedges, especially shaped oaks, and an enchanting garden of lemon trees, with a large rectangular pond bordered by a balustrade with large terracotta pots containing lemons and flowers. In Northern Italy, we can remember in a special way, among the large gardens of which it is equipped, what stands on one of the four islands of Lake Maggiore, called the Borromeo Islands, and precisely Isola Bella, so called because in the second half of the 1600 the Count Carlo Borromeo built the palace on it that he dedicated to his wife Isabella: although the island is not the largest, the splendor of the garden that descends to the lake through ten sloping terraces covered with beautiful vegetation, and the baroque conception of buildings that border on extravagance (such as the water theater called “the pyramid”), make it an almost unique example due to the use of very delicate plant essences whose cultivation is made possible by the temperate climate of the lake.
ln different ways and in modern times the same phenomenon has allowed, always on the shores of Lake Maggiore, the very large and beautiful Villa Taranto, which represented until a few years ago the greatest botanical garden of the world belonging to a private, the Scotsman cap. Neil McEacharn, who dies, has left the Italian state.
Amazing for its speed of execution, as well as for its content, since the plant of 40 hectares and more of land was begun in about 1930, Villa Taranto is not only a collection of beautiful gardens but also one of the most beautiful collections of rare plants in Italy. Many are
the examples, which the climate allows outdoor life, cleverly arranged in slopes, valleys, meadows, ponds, and fountains so that the formal part is integrated with the landscape with absolute naturalness; large greenhouses also allow the conservation of rare plant species even in the Botanical Gardens.
In the Veneto region, the Villa Barbarigo in Valzanzibio, near Padua, brings us back, albeit with later additions, to the Renaissance garden, with its shaped hedges, long avenues and pools of water adorned with statues, artificial caves, and balustrades. In Lazio, despite the havoc perpetrated on the beautiful Roman villas, now disappeared or reduced to minimal proportions or public parks poorly maintained and semi-evicted, we still have a large group of gardens that maintain the ancient splendor unaltered. Obvious reasons of space allow us only to mention the most important or known as that of the Palazzo Farnese in Caprarola, a splendid example of a garden of 1500, and of the nearby Villa Lante in Bagnaia, still in the upper Lazio, whose plant was executed on Vignola’s design, which at that time presided over the works of Caprarola. The garden, in a very light slope, is on a single axis that culminates in a grotto fountain, called the fountain of the Flood: from this top the water follows the garden axis, flowing downwards and feeding a series of fountains which form a real sequence of parterres alternating with the shaped and fiery ones. In the same Rome we still have beautiful gardens, like those of Villa Medici or the Vatican, but certainly, none of them is as famous as the Villa d’Este in Tivoli, which began in the middle of the 16th century at the behest of Cardinal Ippolito d’Este. Pirro Ligorio and water technician Oliviero Olivieri, famous at the time, who undoubtedly lavished all his art on it. In fact, water is, it can be said, the true essence of the garden,
the main protagonist: gushes from a thousand waterfalls, flows through unexpected streams, rises majestically from monumental fountains or placid stagnates re fl ecting the canopy of cypresses, forms games and jokes, creating a unique work in the world, not only in the Renaissance, but in all the ages; in fact, even if in the French gardens we find a great abundance of water, it assumes only the appearance of grandeur and not of life in itself. Villa d’Este is a garden formed of water, but not an aquatic garden; it is built from an architecture that employs a fluid material and in which the stable elements
(stone, trees) have only a secondary role. Among the most famous fountains, we will mention that of the organ, which has musical devices regulated by water, that of Girandola and the famous avenue of Fontanelle, also called “one hundred cinnamon”. To find a wealth of water, even more as an extension, but different as a concept and architectural use, we must arrive in the mid-1700s when Vanvitelli began work on the Royal Park of Caserta. Here the abundance of water is extraordinary, but it is no longer an element of surprise: it forms a central axis sloping like a single chain that flows from a fountain into a fountain, from a waterfall to a waterfall, from a basin to a basin. These elements are connected to each other by marble channels and groups: the bold project required more than 30 kilometers of the aqueduct, with ducts and galleries, and was, by that time, a work of exceptional dimensions. Woods of holm oaks and tall trees frame the real garden, hiding the borders and making the park much broader by a skillful play of perspectives and visuals. To conclude this rapid review of the great Italian villas, we will mention the ancient, though abundantly remodeled, Villa Rufolo in Ravello: it is influenced by both Arabic and Roman influences and, blending flows and ruins, extends like a magical terrace overlooking the sea. between gardens and pergolas where the notes of Wagnerian music linger; we will also mention the eighteenth-century Villa Tasca, in Palermo, transformed through time into a tropical and picturesque corner with a flourishing not easily traceable elsewhere in Italy.
France. When one thinks of the French gardens, the mind immediately runs to a name: Versailles, the largest park in the world, one in which probably more history has passed than in any other, among its fiery parterres, its groves, its fountains and the numerous buildings added through the decades by whims and ambitions of kings and queens. Woods, swamps, and land around the village of Versailles belonged to Louis XIII who loved to go hunting, but the park was started only in 1660 by Louis XIV, still very young (he had ascended the throne only four years, seventeen years old before): in the year following the planning and execution of the grandiose work, they were entrusted to André Le Nôtre, the most famous garden architect ever to exist. He had already given France his first masterpiece with the garden of the castle of Vaux-Le-Vicomte, belonging to Fouquet, minister of the king’s finances: it seems, indeed, that precisely because he was humbled by the splendor of this work, Louis XIV decided to to make Versailles something unique in the world and to have the Fouquet arrested, who died in prison. The works were long and difficult, although the deployment of the means used was impressive: what appears to us today as a sloping prospect, with the large raised terrace facing the villa, was a specially created hill; a river was diverted to allow the construction of canals, the largest of which required the leveling of a rise; with the passing of time everything continued to be enlarged, embellished, sometimes radically modified, and yet the final result also appears to be a splendid work of the whole.
From the terrace of the villa, there is a 400-meter-long avenue with turf, preceded by ramps, hemicycles, fountains and ending in the basin of Apollo, beyond which lies the Great Canal (a surface of more than twenty hectares) that leads to about three kilometers the central axis. On the sides, groves, various gardens, the water heater, the round colonnade, fountains and groups of statues of fine artistic value are adorned and interspersed with hundreds of various works of art, from vases and urns to basins with a total of 1400 gushes of water. Over time, the two buildings of the Grand and Petit Trianon were added, the latter very dear to Marie Antoinette, who completely nourished the garden according to the style of the time.
Survived by the Revolution and the Napoleonic era, Versailles was transformed, at the time of Louis Philippe, into national property, with the museum in the villa, and so that after so much history and so many events, we can still admire its amazing gardens, where perhaps at night, many illustrious shadows wander. The aforementioned Vaux-Le-Vicomte which, as we have said, constitutes André Le Nôtre’s first masterpiece, at the same time forms the most classical model of French Renaissance garden and is essentially formed by a huge expanse of sloping land from the castle front, divided in two very large parterres, with fi ne-shaped and embroidered flowerbeds (the so-called << broderies >>) and adorned with statues and water basins, the largest of these, at a lower level, is immediately before the river’s crossroads Anqueil, canalized for one kilometer and widened in the central point of intersection with the axis of the garden, in which it is embedded in a wall with caves and waterfalls.
Woods and tall trees frame this magnificence and are scattered and decorated with sculptures and surprise gardens with fountains and flowerbeds. Among the other famous gardens created by Le Nôtre we can mention Marly, built always by desire of Louis XIV between Versailles and Saint-Germain; Saint-Cloud, which offers a splendid view of Paris, and above all Chantilly, one of the most famous works of the great architect, built where the castle of the princes of Condé already existed and unfortunately much altered over the centuries; in its main part, however, it retains the wide breadth of its basins and channels between lawns and fiery platforms. Antecedent to all these is the garden of the castle of Villandry next to Tours; this more than its beauty, too schematic and formalistic for our taste, owes its fame to being the only garden, among those of the castles of the Loire, in which a careful reconstruction allows us an exact vision of this that it could have been a French garden prior to the Renaissance (but already partly subjected to Italian influence in 1500), when the castles were still based on a defensive rather than aesthetic; it is composed of several successive terraces divided into various sectors, some of which present only innumerable paths between complicated drawings of shaped hedges; others, on the other hand, have vegetable labyrinths or trellises and roses pergolas. Overall, the reconstruction of this garden carried out recently after the destruction of previous centuries, and in particular those of the century. XIX, is more important as an example than as a beauty.
Gennania. For one of those coincidences that make history so singular, while France is rich in beautiful gardens especially by virtue of its strongly centralized government (the kings of France really hold a record in this field), Germany it has many gardens, even if not all of them sumptuous and famous, precisely because of the divisions of its territory, in the likeness of what had happened in Italy. As in Italy, it happened among princes, grand dukes, cardinals, so in Germany voters and archbishops wanted their gardens, competing among themselves and sometimes even with the heads of foreign states. One of the largest, most beautiful and famous gardens in Germany is that of Nymphenburg in Munich which, in the second half of the 1600s, when the works were started, under Ferdinand, was one of the brightest capitals in Europe: Bavaria in fact, despite its complicated historical events, it was one of the most important electorates. Initiated by the Italian architect Barelli, the project was suspended due to war and only resumed in the second decade of the eighteenth century, a period of which remains a classic example despite the many changes made later in the Romantic era. The castle winds with vast wings and it is this vastness that determines in the part of the entrance, in front on the façade, the enormous exedra with two large water basins flanked by very spacious lawns and formed by a canal that flows towards the city. This same canal, preceded by vast parterres, is found in the back part of the park itself: it flows in a central axis, at the sides of which groves and avenues intersect and conceal three delightful pavilions. Moreover, Bavaria is full of more or less sumptuous gardens, like that of Schloss Linderhof, and the one erected on a Chiemsee island, Herrenchiemsee, a small copy of Versailles; at least these were the intentions of the mad king of Bavaria Ludwig ll who ended his days by throwing himself (l886) into the lake of Sternberg, near which he had built another castle. Among the other eighteenth-century gardens, rich in sculptures, green lawns and flowers but often also of strange buildings and works that resent the beginning of the English landscape garden, we find Schwetzingen near Würtzburg, created for Carlo Teodoro, elector Palatine, by the French architect De Pigage (modified later by the German von Skell) which included not only false ruins and an obelisk, but even a mosque!

Austria. In the various phases of rivalry between powerful houses and European rulers, we can not forget Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, former residence of the Habsburgs, built in 1695 on a project by Fischer von Erlach and renovated in 1749 by Nicolò Pacassi; Maria Theresa of Austria wanted to provide it with a rival park with the most beautiful in Europe. The park itself dates back to 1705, but in its final form, with its parterres and fountains, it is very similar to that of Versailles. There is also a very important greenhouse especially considering the era in which it was built.
Great Britain.
When we speak of an English garden, the mind immediately goes to that kind of landscaped garden that we are used to calling in this way. It is true that part of the garden in England developed later than in Italy and France, but for this reason it is right to mention, among the later ones, also gardens (such as Hampton Court), begun, enlarged and embellished by l600: these constitute an example of classicism that, even in the subsequent variations, is influenced by the influence of Italian artists who started it.
Here we find not only one axis, but three large avenues (of which the central one is the most important) that starting from a large semicircular parterre in front of the villa, diverge among themselves extending to the borders of the park. Classically, the central avenue includes a long canal of about one kilometer, and, as can be seen from the engravings of the period, further lateral parterres adorned the building. Other gardens of the end of 1600 have undergone such transformations that they no longer allow us to find the classic or Renaissance model that inspired them. This happened for the magnificent Blenheim castle park which was donated by the State to the Duke of Marlbourough and started by a classical model: later (1770) it was modified to such an extent by Lancelot Brown that the course of a river towards a pre-existing valley. A dam was created to obtain a large lake with islands, groups of trees were appropriately distributed and the whole aspect of the whole changed, with the only residue of a rectangular parterre bordered on two sides by two wings of the castle. One of the first examples of European garden with landscape, totally designed in this way and not the effect of changes, we have it in the garden of Stourhead, started around 1730: even here there is a valley full of water and barred by a dike and a lake remarkable proportions, whose slopes in slope appear to be even more accentuated by the use of tree species of different heights and whose different colors, especially in autumn, offer a show worthy of a painting by Claude Lorraine.

Many ornamental constructions are scattered in the park: some quite dubious taste, like the reduced Copies of the Pantheon of Rome or the temple of Baalbek, other original and truly splendid, as the so-called “market cross” of 1373, or an ancient and well kept cottage; a cave, in which some springs flow that feed the river, is adorned with statues with a surprisingly romantic effect. More or less large and impressive, the English gardens are an in fi nity, mostly composed of intermediate styles that, starting with the Elizabethan one, reach up to romanticism, passing through all the phases of landscape art, from pictorial to deliberately spontaneous; in none of them, however, one reaches such a wisely savage aspect as in the garden of Tresco Abbey, one of the largest in the Scilly group, not far from the tip of Cornwall, where the Gulf Stream softens the climate to make possible crops that are hardly found on the mildest coasts of the Mediterranean; this despite rare but violent storms that have led ships to shipwreck on the coast of the islands; a collection of ancient poles of such ships constitutes the so-called << Valhalla >>, in the park, and it is certainly one of the most fascinating things of this strange northern and semiropical corner at the same time. The park itself is all sloping terraced, from the house, built on the remains of an ancient convent in the first half of 1800, up to the sea, with avenues and rock gardens that host plants and trees from many hot countries, from palm trees to aloe, from succulent South-African to South American trees, in apparent, studied disorder. Typically English, such as prototypes, we can say of the “natural” garden, appear instead the Royal Windsor Park and its gardens: here, conserving and opportunely thinning old trees and pre-existing to the design, new arborescent and arborescent essences were planted creating a landscape very refined where, in the shade of the oaks and the beeches, they flourish beautiful rhododendrons and the meadows are embellished with narcissuses to make them look really spontaneous; particularly beautiful and a garden that collects all the old varieties of rose.
Spain.

Although Spain, due to the disparity of its climates and the drought of most of them, is much less rich in gardens than the other countries considered, we find the famous Alhambra, the oldest garden in Europe: started in early 1200 the reconstruction and expansion of the pre-existing citadel, throughout the 1300 it was continually enlarged and embellished with gardens that, except for some later additions, have reached us in the original form assumed under the Moorish dominion. The gardens of the Alhambra and of the neighboring Generalife are detached from our usual concept: they do not consist of a single extension, large or small, which forms a frame or extension of enclosed spaces, but consists of a whole fragmentary, yet perfectly harmonious, of courtyards, of that particular kind of courtyard called patio, in which each one is a garden in itself and yet connected with the others, like a series of green open-air rooms, adorned with trees, fountains and gushes, which could in a certain sense be considered the southern equivalent of the northern conception of a park formed by many gardens, each different from the others, divided by hedges or various works in order to have its own physiognomy. In the succession of courtyards of all sizes, all beautiful for the decorative arts that adorn them, the most striking thing in a country so dry, is abundance and the reason for the water that flows there, like the large basin of the Patio de los Arrayahes, the canal with spouts of the Patio de la Riadh, the Patio of Lindaraja with its centuries-old cypress trees encircling the graceful fountain; even the most famous, the Patio de los leones, which today only brings to the center the beautiful gushing fountain surrounded by lions, must have once been decorated with plants and flowers, as can be seen from the engravings of the period. A world of fairy tales, the echo of “The Thousand and One Nights” echoes, with the water and the thin columns, in this place, unique in Europe.
Among the gardens of other countries, we can briefly recall Portugal, with the formal garden of Queluz in the north of Lisbon, whose rosy walls of what was once the royal palace open onto a large parterre of hedges and shaped trees ( French and Italian influence) and the Frontier garden. This has a particular originality due to the enormous use of brightly colored tiles, usually in white and blue, and in fact their name is «azulejos >>, also used in Queluz; here, however, they form murals, ornamental and real paintings depicting knights and mythical scenes that are reflected in the water of the large pool or frame caves, terraces, parapets. We find a garden that is different from the others in Holland: in Keukenhof, a vast expanse of land, which had become impossible by private individuals, was saved by the Dutch bulbs who used it as an annual display of their production. Every year, from the end of March to the middle of May, more than 10 million bulbs grow in this garden that maintains a completely spontaneous appearance, despite the enormous quantity of flowers that it hosts and in spite of the landscape adaptation necessary to harmonize colors and shapes in the undergrowth or in the meadows or along the canal. Many other gardens deserve to be remembered and named; it is certain, however, that in every part of our Europe, or almost, the traveler can recreate his spirit and admire the wonderful associations that nature and art have been able to create through the centuries.
 

03 Jun 2018

Garden, architecture of the….

Until about a century ago, the architecture of the garden was identified with its history (see History of the garden), since it was always attached to houses, palaces, private villas and very often the same architect conceived the whole as a single context to vary in different periods. It is only from a hundred years ago that the social demands and the different urbanistic concepts have led to differentiations in the field of gardens, as in the case of buildings. Just as the same kind of architecture could not be conceived today for a house, a hospital, a public office, a prison or a hotel, so the garden attached to them is different from each other and all are different from the public gardens that should not consist only of old open and re-adapted parks, but they should be built specifically. In other countries this has been, and is done extensively, so that the architecture of the garden takes the broadest name of landscape architecture and even includes cemeteries; in Italy we are far from all this and often we are content to leave around a school or a hospital an empty space to be planted in some way to the garden, no matter whether suitable or not to the function to which the building is intended. Therefore, pointing out this deficiency, we will deal with the gardens of private homes, small or medium, since today it is very difficult to expect the need to set up parks or grand gardens: this event is part of the exceptions and no doubt the few who can afford it will resort to a landscape architect who decides on the basis of the environment which solutions to choose among the many examples of the past or which fusions to perform among them. Of course, even with all these limitations, the rules that can be provided here for the planting of a garden are all of a general nature and based on the assumption that you operate on flat or hilly terrain (the gardens in the mountains can not be considered as a norm ) and subjected to a medium climate for Italy: the climatic extremes that allow the use of only certain essences must be studied case by case at the time of design. The first two problems that arise are the position of the house with respect to the surrounding land and the presence, or otherwise, of pre-existing tree species. Since the trees are slow to grow and reach good size, if they exist, it will be good to keep them, especially if they are beautiful, at the cost of varying the original design of the location of the house.
This, moreover, is not well in the center of the ground; it will be much cheaper to decentralize it, thus obtaining the impression of a larger garden because it is not interrupted; it will make sure that the avenue of access, which will have to be wide enough to be passable even with cars, is as much as possible short, or moved very sideways, almost to the border, so as not to disturb the general pattern of the garden. The plants must always be chosen according to the size of the land: do not forget that, even if slowly, even the trees grow and that the shrubs often become too intrusive. A carefully designed garden will not only be more harmonious, but cheaper,
because it will only require maintenance and not annoying movements. As soon as the weather permits it, especially if the garden is small, a free extension to lawn should never be lacking: this expedient seems to widen the space, particularly near the house. The plants that surround it should be graduated in height so that it looks larger and does not remain squashed by tall trees around. Except for the mentioned case of pre-existing and isolated specimens, the trees that grow the most in height must always be placed in the background or on the borders. Particular attention in this field should be placed on Conifers which, having a very cumbersome foliage, are admirable as isolated specimens but only in the midst of large spaces. Abies, Pícea. Thtgia and others can become a major nuisance when, so pretty at the plant, they will begin to grow on a small lawn, subtracting space while nothing will sprout from their foot.
The terrain can be flat or naturally wavy or inclined; it can also become so with some artifacts, by means of a land of carryover but in one case or another it must always have a background and be articulated on two or more planes that have the width on the edge not to distort the perspective in a negative sense, making appear smaller spaces rather than larger ones; therefore the first floor should be the widest one and, if there are others, they will gradually shrink. The connecting elements between the various levels can be a valuable decorative aid (see Gradoni) and also the various types of flooring or terraced (see Pavimentio, Terrazze). The flowers will preferably be gathered in flowerbeds and not scattered randomly, which would decrease the effect of much and increase the work necessary for maintenance; they can, however, form pleasant borders with passages or little walls, something which proves to be almost indispensable when the garden has a strongly inclined course, which requires strong gradients, as often happens in the hills. In these cases, real rock gardens can form an excellent solution.
Water is always a decorative element of considerable effect, but, unless it is a pool or a fountain placed in the middle of a lawn and therefore visible at large radius, it is more effective if it is an element of surprise. Thus, for example, a fountain gushing from a wall is more attractive if framed sideways by plants, so that it is present only in front view; a stream or a small waterfall, natural or artificial, in a rocky area, will be nicer if they appear the construction. For example, a background of natural bricks would cleave with bright red flowers and saddle those orange, while giving a sense of peaceful rest with all the range of blue and lilac combined with pale yellow and white; just as white itself would not stand out at all on an equal plaster. Another element, with ancient origins and still valid, is the pergola that can be very decorative even in a modern garden. It will preferably be kept airy and light and not made up of a dark mass of foliage and will be able to pleasantly connect the open spaces with the tree-lined ones, forming a gradual premise; moreover, if it is made up of climbing vines, it will sprout on the green of the arboreal essences, constituting a supplementary ornament for the entire time of the flowering. It will be necessary to choose carefully the types of support: they will be suitable for the general style and materials that can vary from wood to marble or simple poles and iron arches will be used. We must keep in mind that in a modern private garden, of not excessive proportions, personal taste has a considerable role, but it can not be separated from a minimum of architectural and landscape rules, intended as natural insertion in the environment that surrounds it.

News and curiosity

Man, who has built and planted beautiful gardens for his enjoyment or for his utility, is not the only living being to deal with cultivation: the termites, in their large nests in the tropics, build what is precisely called « termite garden >>. These destructive, voracious and terrible insects have, in their often very large buildings, special cells where they make real plant crops, accumulate leaves or parts of them, twigs, grass stalks and keeping them in the right humidity and heat. In this way the mycelium of mushrooms develops, which are fruited and are a tender and sweet food of extreme liking for them.

25 May 2018

Hanging gardens

We want to indicate with this term those gardens raised from the ground in any way. The first of which we have news we find them in Nineveh and Babylon, suspended on large terraces and supported by arches, pillars and vaults. They were considered in antiquity one of the seven Hipproses of the world, together with the pyramids of Egypt, the statue of Jupiter performed by Phidias, the colossus of Rhodes, the temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the mausoleum of Alicarnassus and the lighthouse of Alexandria.

“Le ciel est, par-dessus le tait si bleu, si calme!
Un arbre, par-dessus le mit berce sa palme.”
Verlaine

They stretched along the banks of the Euphrates and seem to date back to the time of Semiramis (about 800 B.C.), then restored by Nebuchadnezzar; according to the geographer Strabo they consisted of overlapping terraces, with trees and avenues at the pillars that supported them; but it is more probable that it was degrading terraces and this undoubtedly made plant life possible on each of them; the upper one often took on the appearance of a large, large garden, as it also used the foliage of the trees that grew in the supporting pillars of the lower ones. On the other hand, many Assyrian bas-reliefs show houses with a double terrace, in which the upper one served as a shelter from too high a temperature, and the lower one was decorated with plant elements; in a regularly according to the effect to be obtained, so that the whole looks just like a wagon; in this way, however, it will be easier to measure the inputs according to the species which will preferably be all perennial. The heavier vessels will remain in correspondence with the more solid perimeter walls and the taller plants will also serve as windbreaks, or they will be extended on supports to the inside, if climbers, to form arbors or shaded areas in summer. We must not forget that in most of our climates, if the wind and the cold are the enemies of the gardens on the roofs, the summer sun is the same and therefore the presence of climbers that shade the most exposed areas and almost a necessity.

in the sun Agapanthus, Hibiscus rasa-sinemsis (provided the sun is not really excessive), Nerium oleander, Punica granatum, Pelargonium of all kinds (because the zonals will hide the tall pots and the Peltatum will fall back hiding the edges of false flowerbeds), Bougainvillea . In the shade will prosper Fntsia, Laurus nobílís, excellent as windbreak, Nandína domestica, Plumbago capensis, and many others. Do not forget, where sun and exposure allow it, the climbing roses that will be the real completion of our hanging garden.

10 May 2018

Aquatic gardens

Aquatic garden, with this name are referred to those gardens in which water, under whatever form, constitutes the basic element: therefore they are designed and built in its function and consequently have a strong prevalence of aquatic vegetation. or marsh.

Beyond instead from this definition, in general, those gardens in which water appears as a dominant motif in the form of fountains, basins, canals, for the obvious reason that in almost all parks, especially in past eras, it was used with regularity, as it has always been one of the most satisfied ornamental motifs for both architecture and nature. In ancient times, when the vastness of the garden was such that it was often composed of different zones joined together in a more or less homogeneous way, the aquatic garden was a part of the extension entirely devolved to the intended purposes; today such arrangement is not only no longer possible for smaller surfaces, but even it is no longer conceived since it tends to give the whole area a homogeneous approach. The aquatic gardens therefore remain only a creation of the past or, at the opposite extreme, a very modern realization that can cleverly exploit the elements that can be obtained to the maximum extent. This happens in the lake or mountain areas where streams and waterfalls are abundant and can be forced to become ponds and ponds; it happened also for a very daring work (and probably only one) like that “house on the waterfall” that the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright built in Pennsylvania in 1936 and that, all of a sudden, stretches like a huge trampoline from the rocks at the edge of which a waterfall falls. The solution of water, which sometimes even exceeds the emerged part, can be of great help when its elimination presents technical difficulties; it can also be an excellent solution because aquatic plants on average require less care than terrestrial plants, and also because, where the mild climate allows it (as in the case of our lakes area), it will provide a microclimate (see) moist in favor of many species whose delicacy requires, as well as a suitable temperature, a very strong environmental humidity. It is for this reason, for example, that one relatively high latitude like that of Lugano, we find in public gardens, at the edges of the lake and intersected by canals, ponds and waterways, plants that could never live in nearby places, even if located further south. Naturally, where there is an adequate water reserve, an aquatic garden can be built artificially, making tanks, ponds, streams, and waterfalls by means of hydraulic works that can also be made of synthetic materials for the smaller parts and, however, using modern techniques that greatly simplify the work. If this can happen in a sufficiently mild climate, the result can be amazing and create real semi-tropical corners that can bring the vegetation almost into the house, making it the ideal continuation. While once the water gardens almost always used rather formal ornamental works, such as balustrades, and not quite adequate vegetation that had the task of forming contrast rather than integrating the landscape, today we prefer a more natural environment and so usually only meadows, grasses or rocks frame the water, whether it is still or current; Rocky gardens underline torrents and waterfalls, and often the elements used are so rustic that they verge on romanticism and employ thin and slender trees to create certain opposing effects, reserving the large masses of vegetation to the total background of the landscape. Among the most decorative aquatic plants, a separate place must be reserved for Nymphaea who want stagnant water, but many other species can be successfully cultivated in every position, determining the height to be reached: from the outcropping Aponogeton distachyum to the slender flowering of the Iris pseudoacorus, from the light and disheveled Cyperus up to the rigid decoration of small groups of Typha.

The terrestrial vegetation will adapt, of course, to the natural environment and to the architecture of the house and can vary from bamboo groves to weeping willows, from quick birches to conifers. There are also many marsh or semi-aquatic plants that can embellish the banks with their flowers: we will mention among others the Mimulus luteus, the Iris sibirica and, splendid above all, the Zantedeschia aethiopica, well known and appreciated, with the name common of calla, for its plastic white flowers.