Mediterranean Garden Society

Trip to Lazio / Umbria May 2018

The photograph at the top of this page shows the Basilica of St Francis at Assisi viewed from the rose gardens of the ‘Quando Fioriranno Le Rose’ specialist rose nursery (Photo Yvonne Barton)

This trip was designed as a homogenous mix of visits to gardens (both private and public), nurseries and small, medieval towns. Over a weekend in May 2018 a group of 30 MGS members from around the world congregated at the Hotel Flora in the town of Frascati, situated to the south-east of Rome.

One of the outstanding gardens featured in the programme was that of Ninfa, considered by many to be a contender for the most beautiful garden in the world. Also included was its sister garden of Torrecchia Vecchia, originally designed by the landscape designer Dan Pearson. Amongst the other famous gardens to be visited were La Landriana, created by Countess Lavinia Taverna with the assistance of Russell Page, and those of Villa Lante, with its emphasis on water.

Group being welcomed to Torrecchia Vecchia

These were interspersed by visits to a selection of private gardens that were no less special and spectacular in their own ways.

That of Antje Presti with its forest-like atmosphere provided by the many mature trees she had planted over a 40-year period.

A part of the beautifully shady, secluded garden of Antje Presti (John Joynes)

The amazing collection of over 1,000 species/varieties of roses, many of them ramblers and climbers, growing through the trees belonging to Maresa del Bufalo.

The eclectic mix of roses, perennials and Mediterranean shrubs displayed so naturally in the garden of Gabriella Lizza.

The splendid combination of creative talents, the garden design of Tim Rees blending seamlessly with the unique artistic sensitivity of Gary Gardenhire, that resulted in their wonderful garden.

The stunningly beautiful bio-lake/swimming pool surrounded by such an apparently natural setting, all the work of Yvonne Barton.

Swimming pond. (John Joynes)

Lunch with Daniela Fé d’Ostiani (John Joynes)

Last, but certainly not least, was another garden by a lake, this time Lake Bolsena where Antonella Fiaschi’s new garden displayed many unusual species.

The nurseries on the schedule proved to be no less breath-taking.

A favourite peony at Centro Botanico Moutan

Roses with a view of the Basilica of St Francis of Assisi at Quando Fioriranno le Rose

The rose nursery Quando Fioriranno Le Rose is directly supported by the David Austin company and displays a huge selection of their roses.

A favourite David Austin rose ‘The Poet’s Wife’

Iris Umbria subjected us to an eye-watering sight of irises in a myriad of colours with over 600 different hybrids on offer.

Two smaller, more conventional nurseries that were no less interesting were Salto Del Prete, with its stock of Mediterranean plants, and Vivaio Tara, specializing in unusual trees and hydrangeas.

Favourite iris at Iris Umbria: ‘Starring’

Another favourite iris: ‘Splashacata’

As for the small, medieval towns, Todi, Assisi and Orvieto were well worth exploring and certainly considering for a longer, more leisurely visit on another occasion.

The view over Assisi from our lunch spot

Text and photography by John Joynes

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