Italy. About houses an gardens.

Whilst on vacation in Italy we visited the garden of Villa Garzoni. It is a garden build in1652. It immediately struck me that the symmetrical garden is not situated in connection with the house.

The first thing we saw entering the garden is a large box parterre planted with annuals. There are also two large circular ponds. In one of them lotus flower and the Victoria water lily (Victoria amazonica) grow. I'm a huge fan of these two water plants, so I am already over the moon!

The garden is on a steep hill, so up we go. The view is amazing. In the garden we discover many statues and some exceptional mosaics. At the top of the hill is a statue of an angel the size of a house. The angel spews out water.

"And, are you inspired?" my husband asks me at the top of the hill. "No, but all the time I am thinking about Le Nôtre.” (Le Nôtre was a French garden designer in the period of Louis XIV)

I tell my husband a bit of garden history:

Fouquet, the minister of finance in that time, asked Le Nôtre to design him a garden. Le Nôtre was the first garden designer who centred the symmetrical garden in front of the – also symmetrical - house. In that day it was something totally new. It gave the house and garden a magnificent perspective.

After the garden was finished Fouquet organized a big party to show off his garden. He also invited King Louis XIV ......

About what happened after that party night, several stories are being told. Did Louis XIV turn purple of envy? Or were large amounts of money from the Treasury used for the garden?

Anyway, after the party, the minister was thrown into prison and Le Nôtre was asked to design a garden for Louis XIV. And it had to be much larger than the garden of Fouquet, Louis specifically ordered! The famous palace gardens of Versailles were the result. This became the new garden trend.

And how did it end for Fouquet, the minister of finance?

Poor Fouquet. Despite several appeals for clemency, he was never released from prison!

Overview of the garden.

Box hedges with perennials.

In one of the ponds, Lotus......

........and the huge Victoria waterlily.

It will flower soon. Fainted flower on the right.

Beautiful mosaic. 

Close up, mosaic.

They also used glass in the mosaic.

The view from a parterre upstairs.

Grotto with statues. Even on a -very- hot day it is cool inside.

Large statues on top of the hill.

Look at the size of that statue!

From this side it looks not large at all. 

A bamboe garden that scares me...

How to contain a bamboe garden with stems like that?

I pondered to see the villa on top of the garden...

The garden of Fouquet. (Vaux de Vicomte)

Finally, Versailles. Even the road is part of the garden design.