|Mediterranean Garden Society|
La Mortella: A Life’s Work
by Maurizio Usai
Photographs to illustrate the article published in The Mediterranean Garden No 81, July 2015
The 2015 Mediterranean Garden Society General Assembly is to be held at La Mortella, Ischia, the garden created by Susana Walton, the Argentinian wife of the English composer Sir William Walton.
“As the years passed the aspect of the valley changed ever more drastically. In particular, the introduction of the fountains and of the canal, together with the constant irrigation and the growing shade of the trees, by now impressive specimens, created an unusually damp and cool microclimate. The garden acquired an atmosphere of deep peace and a contemplative dimension in sharp contrast to its original state, or even only to the more recent areas of the garden which were developed on the hillside.
The designer Russell Page was involved in making the garden from its beginning until his death. During this time Susana Walton herself became a remarkable plantswoman.
“Others, such as the Temple of the Sun, the Nymphaeum and the Greek Theatre, as well as the Victoria Greenhouse in the Palm Court of the lower garden, were precisely planned… these parts of the garden are as straightforward and spontaneous as their creator.
“In her garden Susana expressed her devotion to life and to William, her eclectic joie de vivre, and her exuberant vitality. Together they both created a living tribute to William’s memory and, incidentally, to her own. What they created is an exceptional composition consisting of spaces endowed with great poetry, a musical progression of elements that exalt one another, foliage, rocks, fountains, flowers, rills: a luxuriant, harmonious simplicity.”