Dec 13, 2010 – Florence, Italy
Giardini di Boboli
A quick background
I’ve recently had the fortunate experience to spend some time in both Italy and France, where two friends and I (also horticulturists) had the opportunity to visit gardens. Although we did a lot of site seeing, general tourist attractions, as well as public parks and small gardens, I’m going to specifically highlight some of the more famous gardens we visited here on this blog. The date listed on each blog posting represents the day when we visited the gardens.
As it’s winter in Europe (we visited ‘off peak’), our focus was then led primarily by the structure, form, and flow of the garden. And to a handful of horticulturists, this suited us just fine. Yes, one can certainly see how Boboli would be all the more spectacular with flowers and abundant lush foliage, but to a true garden lover there is no wrong time to visit! The extended allee’s, the sweeping views of fountains, and the focally placed sculptures create quite a statement, even in the winter months.
I’ve never been very interested in sculpture, to be honest. I just couldn’t be bothered to be interested in it. I always thought, in fact, that sculptures took away from the natural beauty of a garden. Well, apparently that was because I’d never been to Italy! It didn’t take long before I was completely taken with the placement, care, and general design of the sculptures. And in some ways, I would argue that they ‘make’ the garden! If anything, at least now I’m one who appreciates appropriate and tasteful art in a garden.
For the love of moss!
(Seriously, moss in Italy is fabulous. If only one could make a living off of taking photos of Italian moss. Well, I’m sure SOMEONE could make a living off of it, but I’m pretty sure it won’t be me :))
A little bit of horticulture
I couldn’t share beautiful photos of a garden without sharing some of the pure horticultural fun we saw, could I? We happened to be there in a season where pollarding (if one would venture to call it that in this case) was being done and winter clean up was occurring. We did see a few crews working and had a few moments of scoffing here and there. They had quiet large crews for work that could have been done with one or two men. But our hosts were telling us about the Italian mentality and work ethic after the fact, and so we’ve realized why this was so… :) But yes, back to the ‘pollarding’. They cut all their trees similarly to what’s shown in this first photo. They didn’t even bother cutting back the trees at the nodes! However, things seem to be surviving fine. Go figure…
The second photo showcases a tree that must have had some value, as they went through great lengths to preserve it in its original form. Pretty neat rigging if you ask me :)
Some Random Fun
Even the laid back Italians have rules about grass! (Now you know how to say it in 4 languages too!) And please do not think that this particular feline is as ‘cute’ as it appears. Evil attack kitty! (It almost successfully ate my friend Dean :))