Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Italian Garden Construction Update

You may remember my original post about my pal Florence's Italian Garden here. Recently, I stopped by with a few friends for some more what Barry at Teza's Hortus Magnifucum calls horticultural trespassing.  The garden is progressing very nicely.  Florence and her husband Howard never seem to do things in a small way. The new gardens, maintenance of the existing garden, and a large two-story addition to their home are all happening simultaneously. 

Gryphon carvings are now in place in the niches of the gate posts.

This view is quite similar to the way it looked earlier.

Potted roses are blooming beautifully and look, there's water flowing in the fountain which was just being installed at our last visit.

To the left, we see the first terrace and the house addition.

A view of the first terrace from the other side showing the benches that will be placed around the perimeter.
Fabulous details like these terra cotta fountains used to make hose spiggots available on each level are to be found throughout Florence and Howard's garden.

A lion, perhaps awaiting prey,  relaxes above the waterfall.  I wonder if he'll scare away those pesky racoons?

The second terrace now has benches.  Notice the pavers on the table, a sure sign of something else to come.  The fan pattern of the pavement on this level is my favorite.

Steps from the second terrace to the bottom of the garden.

Here we are at the bottom, the fountain, complete with swan, is splashing away. Boxwood has now been planted and the inner circles covered with gravel, benches placed.

The steps seen on the left of the previous photo are nearly complete and gryphons now grace the niches at the bases of the columns which support a sextet  of insturment-playing putti.

Turning left again.  this staricase gives viwes of  the garden from the other side and leads to  the bottom of the new addition.

However, if we stay straight at this axis, the path leads to the secret and more private garden.  Many  of the hundreds of circular pavers  in this area were made for Florence by her friends and family.  Mine's in there somewhere. 

A partial view of the secret garden from above.

And below.

At the part of this area farthest from the house is this beautiful Italian marble gazebo which is now a little obscured by a Cecil Bruner rose.

 Exploring further in the secret garden.  Ah, glorious shade!
 Hey lady, I know it's a hot day, but maybe you should keep your clothes on.  I suppose that would make bathing a little less than pleasureable so I'll just leave you to that mkay?
 Up the wide, gradual, and earth-covered steps of what I call the bamboo walk.
 There used to be more  Asian pieces in this area, reflecting Howard's many years of importing and selling antiques from China and looking quite at home among the bamboo.  Florence and Howard's  latest passion for all things Italian seems to have changed that. 
 This path leads around and up to a more private area.
 Back down we go past this great french iron rail.
 And we're back on the other side of the house, second terrace.
 These steps were built around the base of this Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree) the bark of which is incredible!
 Finally, we've arrived at the front of the new addition  containing a small courtyard.  It's very important to have just the right base for your armillary sphere.  This ultimately leads to the front door of the house.
Much progress has been made since our last visit.  I'm told that the addition and garden will be completed by Christmas.  No one specified a year.  I'll keep you posted!


  1. I think that first photo is my favorite. I love the chunky gate posts and that squared off gate! In my early 20's I was obsessed with a small brick house near my grandparents. It had a nice sized front porch with two concrete lions on either side. Not at all fancy just a simple house but those lions made it special. I wanted to replicate it when I someday owned a house...

    1. Your house would look great with a couple of concrete lions guarding the entrance!

  2. Fancy!!!! But I absolutely am in love with that gate in the first photo!

  3. Nice photo's outlaw, i like the cherubs in the last photo.

  4. Wow, I'm overwhelmed. Overall not my style but I'd like individual elements like the lion, the stone bench, the iron rail ...

    1. There's sooo very much to see in this garden! Not my personal style either but I greatly admire the effect, adore many of the elements, and enjoy visiting, maybe because I have great fondness for Florence and Howard and this garden is reflective of who they are. I would find it difficult to be so wonderfully restrained in plant palette because I'm one of those buy one of whatever strikes my fancy at the moment and try to fit it all together kinds of gardeners. Thus, I have an overplanted jungle that the tastful among us eschew while Florence has an amazing Italian garden replica. The desire to garden, the spark to recreate some sort of eden, to connect with growing things, that's what makes gardens interesting to me. Blah, blah, blah...

  5. Personally, I'd carry off that marvelous twig arbor in the secret garden, given the chance! I love all the paving and natural rock stairs. Thanks for this very dramatic tour.

    1. There are quite a few things that I'd like to carry off from this garden! Glad you enjoyed the tour.

  6. Fine pictures. I like all of those statues and the fountain.

    1. Thanks! The statuary and fountain are eye catching.

  7. Replies
    1. I always feel like a kid walking around the garden of some grown up when I'm there.


Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your thoughts.