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  • Villa Borghese | Terrimago

    SHORT STORIES SET A reconciling walk Text e photographs by Cristina Archinto She went out and the door slammed, more due to the draught from the stairs than to any specific will of her own, but that act certainly reflected her state of mind. Suddenly she found herself outside the house with no clear plan or purpose; she was furious. She looked around, upset and undecided as to what to do; she was certainly not in the mood for a museum and lacked the ability to concentrate on learning something. She cross ed the street almost without realizing it, avoiding being run over by mopeds, scooters and bicycles, unbearable in that city. She had already entered through that gate a few days earlier only to stop almost immediately and lighten up in front of works such as Bernini's Rape of Proserpine or Caravaggio's Cut of Lights at the Villa Borghese Museum, but this time she went straight ahead and entered the park. She walked along a boundary wall where low boxwood hedges and autumn flowers could be seen between steps. As she reached the end, she was attracted to the left by strong autumnal tones of majestic trees. As she approached, she immediately realised that she had arrived in the Platani Valley, a wonderful valley of ancient trees. Once rural, it was tamed into a garden in 1603 by Cardinal Scipione Borghese, the favourite nephew of Pope Paul V. At that time it was a forest of more than forty oriental plane trees with a central basin and two small islands intended for the resting place of ducks and fine birds, including swans that the Cardinal had specially brought in from Brussels. Now there were only nine beautiful specimens left, which had survived for more than four hundred years and seemed to look sternly and wisely at you through their twisted branches and trunks. He continued along the valley with his gaze upwards, admiring these wonders but also keeping an eye out for the dogs that were running wild in this part of the garden. She approached a particularly curved specimen with a large slit in its trunk and looking at its gnarled branches reminded her of that 'Sensei' who a few years earlier had given a special Aikido lesson at his dojo. Two hours immersed in silence with only the rustle of the hakama, his words light, breathing wisdom. Of course now she was a little sorry that Jan was not there that day, they would have reminisced together. The anger was already fading as always, but this time she was more determined to hold on, she would not give in so easily that day. She continued along the valley looking up admiring those wonders but also keeping an eye out for the dogs that were running wild in this part of the garden. She approached a particularly curved specimen with a large slit in its trunk and looking at its gnarled branches reminded her of that 'Sensei' who a few years earlier had given a special Aikido lesson at his dojo. Two hours immersed in silence with only the rustle of the hakama, his words light, breathing wisdom. Of course now she was a little sorry that Jan was not there that day, they would have reminisced together. The anger was already fading as always, but this time she was more determined to hold on, she would not give in so easily that day. She continued along the valley, where she also passed some black walnut trees and horse chestnuts with a certain lift, only to be astonished again by a majestic specimen of hackberry tree with its fluttering leaves that were gradually leaving the branches and its broad, almost perfectly round crown. He, too, reminded her of someone. The art teacher at her high school, round and always smiling, who had taken her under his wing and had not only taught her how to draw but also some philosophies of life that she still used in difficult times. Beautiful person, who knows what had happened to her. She climbed the small hill to reach the small lake of Villa Borghese. A small pool of water embraced by a variety of remarkable trees. It was in 1766 when Prince Marcantonio IV Borghese, a descendant of Scipione, decided to expand the family park by creating the Giardino del Lago with a temple dedicated to the god of medicine Aesculapius. Like all the Borghesi, he too devoted himself, thanks to his huge family fortune and, it must be said in this case, especially that of his wife Princess Anna Maria Salviati, to the pleasures of the Roman aristocratic life, patronising new artists and works, thus enriching the family collection previously squandered by his father. It was he who had a poster put up in the park that read 'Whoever you are, O stranger, provided you are a free man, fear not here the fetters of laws. Walk where you will, seize what you desire, retire when it pleases you. Everything here is arranged for the enjoyment of the foreigner before the owner'. Indeed, the park, although private, had always been the scene of festivities and balls and was often open to citizens from all walks of life. He began the work of embellishing the park of the villa and his son Camillo, known perhaps more for his marriage to Pauline Bonaparte, finished the work. Of course, who knows what the pond must have been like in those days; gossiping ladies strolling under clear parasols, poets extolling their prose, lovers in the throes of love gushing their hot tears into the lake, or artists in the shade of oak trees portraying the beautiful panorama of the 'Villa delle Delizie'. In the meantime, she was enjoying that beautiful autumn landscape of tall pines, some bald cypresses already in warm tones, and that majestic cedar of Lebanon, all making themselves beautiful by reflecting in the lake. Even the little temple had that something. On one side there was also a centuries-old Quecia ilex that stood out for its height and broad foliage. She had never liked holm oaks, she found them sad and gloomy, like Christoffer, her lifelong melancholic and gloomy classmate, who had unnerved her with his grey aura for years. But certainly this was a spectacular specimen that perhaps made her reconsider. She also noticed an elderly lady giving bread to the ducks. She could never get over the unquestioning fascination of feeding animals, nor could she understand how Jan had not been able to remind his boss this morning that he was on holiday. It had taken them months to organise this Roman period, she was going to take a sabbatical, he was going to take his back leave and they were going to go to Rome for the autumn to discover the Eternal City, a dream in both their drawers, but in the end, he had left her alone again today, pass the other days, but not today! She wandered around the lake area again until he reached Piazza di Siena, a huge oval lawn surrounded by cypress trees as straight as spindles. The area was once occupied by a large 17th-century ragnaia, a grove of tall trees where nets were spread to catch small birds. Beautiful cypresses, he thought, they are linear! He smiled to himself at the stupid joke. The anger was definitely waning, surely the credit also went to this somewhat magical place, intrinsic in history made of stones and trees. He continued with his game, Björn no, Erik neither, Astrid? Yes of course, she is a cypress! Obviously tall but with that strange look, silent, because cypresses are certainly silent trees, but happy even if they don't show it. When I get back I'll tell her, who knows how her new project is progressing. Maybe I'll write to her later. After resting a little on the steps at the side of the square, she headed south and found herself in an amazing pine forest. Very tall trees, up to 20 metres tall, with bushy, umbrella-shaped crowns. The high sun intruded between the pine needles, making them almost transparent and silky, and the shadows of the straight trunks created abstract paintings on the green lawn. What a vision! Here, domestic pines were certainly trees that he valued highly, as did the ancient Romans, who spread them throughout the empire! Even today, the pine is considered a symbol of Italy, not least because the English call it Italian stone pine and the French call it Pin d'Italie , and it has even won the prestigious Royal Horicultural Society award. She wandered among the trees enraptured by such beauty. Who did the pines remind him of? Beautiful, tall, majestic but not arrogant, with beautiful bearing, also nice and generous with their pine nuts, and certainly honest, determined and robust. Who knows. She thought for a few minutes. Several names floated through her mind until Jan. Wow, that's really him. Moved and without even realising it, with a big smile on her face, she headed home, having already forgiven the love of her life; her beloved Pinus pinea GALLERY Photo ©CRISTINA ARCHINTO Other SET STORIES AND PARKS TO VISIT Priorato d'Orsan Parco Villa la Grange Parco di Sicurtà Jardin des Plantes Nantes Parco del Flauto Magico Parco di Bercy Parco del valentino

  • Botanical Gardens of Europe | Terrimago

    Shop on line Libreria Oolp Terrimago edition BOOK ON SALE EUROPEAN BOTANICAL GARDEN A Journey through History, Science and Nature by Cristina Archinto Born from the modern need to classify, to understand and expand the knowledge of nature, the first botanical gardens were cultivated by Italian universities: first came Padua in 1545, then Florence, Pisa and Bologna followed suit in 1568 with a prime interest to study and the growth of medicinal plants. With the discovery of the New World, these botanical gardens became half “Horto dei semplici” and half “wonders of the world” gardens; places where one could observe, study and acclimatize all the new species that had been collected and discovered. Since the 1600s all the Royal Houses sought the prestige of having their own private collections, and whilst on the streets of London, Paris or Madrid, botanists and explorers converged and conversed, it was Amsterdam that in 1638 sealed the deal of “The Golden Age” trading with the most distant lands of the Far East. From that moment on, all the botanical gardens were enriched with marvellous greenhouses, particular water gardens and hanging terraces. Now monumental historical plants celebrate together the journey of past discoveries, and of modern scientific speculations in magnificent sites. If today Kew Gardens concentrates the largest collection, with 95% of known Genera, each botanical garden has its masterpieces, and works towards the conservation of our botanical heritage: seeds or specimens, that allow one to experiment with the most diverse latitudes, with specific temperature and light conditions, and also to examine the characteristic flowering and resting periods, and to protect rare or endangered species, which is of fundamental interest for biodiversity. This book is a visual and inspirational journey through the most relevant and fascinating Botanical Gardens in Europe. Each chapter will include a short introduction and the many photographs will guide the reader where botanical beauty intertwines with history and science to create magical and enchanting places. ​ INTRODUCTION Anyone venturing into a botanical garden is amazed by the countless colours, scents, shapes and forms of the plant kingdom. This book tells the story of a passion that drove men towards uncharted lands, exploring the frontiers of knowledge. It tells of how science was developed by understanding the laws of nature, and the methods used to share its discoveries. Cristina Archinto, through her work as a photographer, takes us on a journey through different European Gardens in search of the deep bond that unites people to Earth, and makes the environment a heritage to be preserved and looked after. How were vegetable gardens born? Who were the real protagonists? And what events marked their progress? Renaissance herbalists, who were also known as the "Semplici" collected medicinal herbs. Explorers hunted for plants in the New World and enlightened naturalists studied herbs in the surrounding meadows. Botany has seen many alternating schools of thought and clashing rivalries. And yet, botanical gardens were the keepers of a knowledge that broadened horizons and promoted free exchange; enriched by contributions from vast communities in which we are now able to investigate the ecosystems. It is because of the Gardens, that we have the tools to reproduce and preserve, the methods to classify, compare and disseminate knowledge. These gardens built structures to house exotic species, and devised biotopes to protect endemic and threatened species. ​ Table of contents Introduction The Botanical Garden of Padua - Gardens: The Beginning Hortus Botanicus of Amsterdam - The Golden Age of Exotic Species Jardin des Plantes - The Botanical Revolution Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid - Discovering the New World Botanical Gardens of Rome - The Beauty of a Spontaneous Flora Kew Gardens - The Masterpiece of English Greenhouses Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin - The Legacy of Linnaeus The Hanbury Gardens - The Grand Tour Gardens Brussels - Meise Botanic Garden - Vegetable Gardens and Nurseries Botanical Garden of Dublin - The Green Road, Nature Between Past and Future ​ Title: EUROPEA BOTANICAL GARDENS A Journey through History, Science and Nature Autor: Cristina Archinto Text: Alessandra Valentinelli Photographs: Cristina Archinto Transalation: Stefania Bellingardi Beale Text: Italian and English Size 24 x 23 cm 110 photographs 144 pages Soft cover Cost 26.00€ Isbn: 979-12-200-6912-0 ​ ​ Shop on line: Libreria Oolp Terrimago edition ​ REVIEWS Giardini in viaggio Viride blog

  • Zurich Botanic Garden | terrimago

    SWITZERLAND ZURICH BOTANICAL GARDEN AND THE MADAGASCAR'S GREENHOUSE By CARLA DE AGOSTINI Zurich's botanical areas are divided into two parts: on the one hand, the botanical garden and, on the other, the vast Madagascan greenhouse at the zoo. The former is situated on a hillock not far from the city centre and does not lose its charm even in winter. Established in the 1970s and initially private, the Zurich Botanical Garden is now part of the Department of Natural Sciences at the University of Zurich. The garden has three glasshouses that can be visited in half spheres with different climatic zones: the tropical mountain forest, the tropical dry wind area with a showcase dedicated to carnivorous plants and the tropical lowland rainforest, where the humidity is 90% and the temperature is around 26 °C in both summer and winter. The greenhouses, designed by Hans and Annemarie Hubacher, Peter Issler and Hansulrich Maurer, were completed in 1976 but have been renovated several times in Plexiglas because, over time, they had lost much of their transparency, creating harmful effects on plant growth. The main entrance is from Zollikerstrasse, and as you climb the stairs you can already admire the attention and care characteristic of the Mixed Border: a style developed in England at the end of the 19th century, which allows plants to be enhanced during every season. Annual flowers, perennials and small shrubs are selected so that something is always in bloom. In spring the geophytes stand out, and in winter there are grasses with faded inflorescences, which get covered in frost and are a very special attraction. The aim is a didactic one and the interest is to highlight planting as a harmonious and natural process. At Zurich Zoo , around 4,000 animals of 380 different species, with the oldest inhabitant being a giant Galapagos tortoise over 70 years old, are joined by more than 5.5 hectares of greenery with over a million species of plants from all over the world. The Madagascan greenhouse is 30 metres high and is made of EFTE "bladders" mounted on a metal structure, a material that simulates sunlight, insulates and allows the over 11,000 square metres of surface area to be covered in a light manner. Thanks to these cutting-edge, light-sensitive, highly insulating materials, since June 2003 it has been possible to immerse oneself in a dense tropical forest, populated by more than 20,000 plants and 45 species of tropical vertebrates, including animals left in the wild, such as lemurs. Here you can experience the Masoala forest, with temperatures ranging from 20° to 30° C and its very high humidity, with an average rainfall of 6 mm per day. This tropical rainfall is achieved through an interesting system of reusing rainwater, which allows an equivalent irrigation of 80,000 litres of water per day. The coexistence of fauna and flora is designed to help preserve the biodiversity of Madagascar's ecosystems. Through the Masoala project, the Zurich Zoo has decided to support the Malagasy government in the conservation and protection of one of the world's most endangered areas. Despite the fact that Madagascar represents only 1% of the earth's surface, it is one of the richest areas in terms of biodiversity, home to around 3% of the planet's animal and plant species. Unfortunately, at least 70% of the primary plant cover has been lost. Flora and fauna can also be appreciated from above, where aquatic plants, ferns, lianas, bamboo and animals can be admired. This focus is in line with one of the main tasks assumed by the garden for the 21st century: to promote and strengthen the relationship between vegetation and mankind, seeking to convey and enhance the increasingly evident interconnection between plants, the environment and health. GALLERY Photo ©CRISTINA ARCHINTO Info: Official website more botanical gardens and nurseries Giardino Botanico Nuova Gussonea Orto Botanico di Catania Orto Botanico di Ginevra Centro Botanico Moutan Orto Botanico di Palermo Roseto di Roma Chicago Batanical Garden Parco Botanico Villa Rocca

  • Botanical Garden of Madrid | terrimago

    SPAIN BOTANICAL GARDEN OF MADRID Discovering a New World Photographs of Cristina Archinto Text Carla De Agostini and Alessandra Valentinelli I n the centre of Madrid, there is a secluded place where it is still possible to enjoy nature and calm, in the shade of large trees and away from the urban chaos: the Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid in Plaza de Murillo, a stone's throw from the Prado Museum. Full of evocative corners covering more than two centuries of history, the Botanical Garden is a living encyclopaedia open to anyone who wants to discover its plant treasures, with a collection of more than 6,000 species, most of which are of Mediterranean origin (southern Europe and North Africa) and from other areas with a similar climate, such as California, Argentina, Chile, South Africa and southern Australia. The Garden has always been a reference point for botanical research and knowledge, and under the aegis of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas , the Spanish Higher Council for Scientific Research, it was declared a National Monument in 1947. The Garden was opened in 1755 and initially placed on the banks of the Manzanares River by order of Fernando VI, a botany enthusiast. Then, in 1781, Carlos III moved it to the Paseo del Prado where, designed by the architects Francisco Sabatin and Juan de Villanueva, to whom we also owe the Prado Museum and the Astronomical Observatory, the Real Jardín was arranged in different terraces inspired by the Paduan quarters: On the orthogonal plan of the Orchard, Sabatin and Villanueva placed circular fountains at the corners, then built a greenhouse pavilion, now the Villanueva Pavilion, the Herbarium, the Library and the Botanical Hall, as well as the Royal Gate, once the main entrance, in the classical style with Doric columns and pediment. Since its inception, the Real Jardín Botánico has been a privileged place for research and teaching. In fact, it has an immense cultural heritage, the fruit of scientific expeditions carried out during the 18th and 19th centuries, preserved in the Herbarium, Library and Archives. In 1755, Charles III of Bourbon decreed that the Real Jardín Botánico should be the place where all the materials from the scientific expeditions he promoted would converge. In ten years there were four such expeditions: to Chile and the Viceroyalty of Peru in 1777, to Colombia and New Granada in 1783, to New Spain in Mexico and Guatemala in 1787, and to the coasts and islands of the Pacific in 1789. The Garden became the final destination of a network of experts, technicians and researchers who brought drawings, herbaria, seeds and sometimes plants to Madrid. One of the last expeditions was that of Alessandro Malaspina, a captain in the Spanish navy, who sailed from Cadiz to Montevideo in 1789, touching Chile, Peru and Panama, and going as far as Vancouver, Manila and Macao. Returning to Spain in 1794, without the defence of the now deceased Charles III, he ended up imprisoned for his ideas of brotherhood between nations, and then exiled. In fact, Malaspina's philosophy transcends political and military conflicts, and he promotes an exchange of measuring and navigational instruments, books, observations and naturalistic knowledge, which is why he used to leave with a mixed crew, including Germans, French and Italians, accompanied by the best English and Bohemian instruments. Convinced that there is no 'land to discover but a world to know', the cartographers who map coastlines and islands with him then share them with the hydrographic offices in Paris and London. His naturalists, crossing the Andes, inventoried fossils and species with direct analyses that would later perfect the Linnean system. To date, the plants on display are organised on four terraces that take advantage of the irregularities of the terrain. At the corners of the quarters, i.e. the smaller squares inscribed in the geometric design of the individual terraces, are tall, towering trees that serve to refresh and distribute the plant groups. The first terrace is the lowest and most spacious of all, the Terraza de los Cuadros, where the collection of ornamental rose bushes, ancient medicinal and aromatic plants stand out, impregnating the air with unexpected scents along with the fruit trees. Here, the first plants to bloom in January are hellebores, followed by daffodils and crocuses. In April and May one can admire lilies, peonies and roses, and in the warmer summer months the beautiful dahlias appear, colouring the whole garden. The Terraza de los Cuadros is a catwalk of blooms, among the most pleasant in terms of scent and view, where one is always accompanied by the chirping of colourful species that, depending on the season, find solace in their favourite foliage. The second terrace, smaller than the previous one, houses the taxonomic collections of plants, which is why it is called Terraza de las Escuelas. The vegetation is arranged phylogenetically by families, so that the order of the plants can be traced from the most primitive to the most recent. Then there is the romantic-style Plano de la Flor, which houses a great variety of trees and shrubs planted in random order. The terrace is bordered by a wrought-iron pergola, made in 1786, with different varieties of vines, some of them of remarkable age. On the eastern side is the Villanueva Pavilion, built in 1781 as a greenhouse and currently used as a gallery for temporary exhibitions. It is an important centre for bringing the public closer to science and biodiversity through the creative and alternative languages of ever-changing artists. Many exhibitions seek inspiration in the Garden's own Archives and Herbaria, with the aim of creating a plant culture through the dissemination of a scientific didactic heritage as broad as that of the site. Finally, there is the Terraza de los Bonsáis, which houses a collection of bonsai trees donated in 1996 by former Prime Minister Felipe González, consisting of Asian and European species, mainly of Spanish flora, and expanded over time. On the north side is the Graells greenhouse, also known as Estufa de las Palmas, a wrought iron and glass greenhouse, built in 1856 under the direction of Mariano de la Paz Graells, the then director. This room mainly exhibits palm trees, tree ferns and banana specimens of the Musa genus. FEATURED PEONIES BETWEEN LEGEND AND REALITY Peonies, or Paeonia , have always been prized for their beautiful flowers that fill borders in shades of white, pink and red from late spring to mid-summer. Since antiquity, the Peony has been known for its miraculous virtues: its name derives from the Greek paionía, meaning 'healing plant', in reference to its roots with important healing, calming, antispasmodic, sedative and even pain-relieving properties, an etymology it shares not coincidentally with Paeon, Peon, the Greek God of Medicine. A well-known Greek legend has it that it was Zeus who transformed Paeon into a beautiful, immortal flower, to save him from the wrath and envy of the master who had seen himself outwitted in the treatment of Hades. The peony has been competing for millennia with the rose for the title of most beautiful in the kingdom, and in China it is officially the winner with the appellation 'Queen of Flowers'. The story goes that more than 2000 years ago, Empress Wu Tutian, who was very beautiful but also very despotic, ordered all the flowers in her kingdom to bloom one winter morning. Fearing her wrath, the flowers agreed to comply: all except one, the peony. Furious at this proud refusal, the empress gave orders for every specimen to be uprooted and exiled to high, snow-covered mountains. The plant withstood the frost and bloomed magnificently in the spring. At that point, Wu Tutian recognised its strength and revoked its exile, giving it the royal title. The peony referred to in the ancient Chinese legend is the shrub peony, which is very rare in nature, and culturally for the Chinese, rarity coincides with preciousness. This is why a supernatural origin is attributed to it: in the Huashan Mountain Nature Reserve, 'Mountain of Flowers', from hua flower and shan mountain, in the Chinese region of Shaanxi, there are pavilions depicting the birth of the peony as the fruit of the union between a farmer and a goddess who gave him one as a pledge of love, before returning to the heavens. In antiquity, it was the exclusive privilege of the imperial family and the mandarin nobility to be able to cultivate it in their gardens, whereas today its aristocratic beauty is within everyone's reach. In European gardens it arrived in 1789, after a long voyage on an English ship only five plants managed to take root in Kew Garden for the first time that year. Links Moutan Botanical Center GALLERY Info: Official website Photo ©CRISTINA ARCHINTO more botanical gardens and nurseries Orto botanico di Amsterdam Orto botanico di Napoli Orto Botanico di Zurigo e la Serra Malgascia Giardino Botanico Nuova Gussonea Orto Botanico di Catania Orto Botanico di Ginevra Centro Botanico Moutan Orto Botanico di Palermo

  • Villa d'Este | Terrimago

    LAZIO TIVOLI ​ Villa d'Este Villa d’Este, masterpiece of the Italian Garden, is included in the UNESCO world heritage list. With its impressive concentration of fountains, nymphs, grottoes, plays of water, and music, it constitutes a much-copied model for European gardens in the mannerist and baroque styles. The garden is generally considered within the larger –and altogether extraordinary-- context of Tivoli itself: its landscape, art and history which includes the important ruins of ancient villas such as the Villa Adriana, as well as a zone rich in caves and waterfalls displaying the unending battle between water and stone. The imposing constructions and the series of terraces above terraces bring to mind the hanging gardens of Babylon, one of the wonders of the ancient world. The addition of water-- including an aqueduct tunneling beneath the city -- evokes the engineering skill of the Romans themselves. Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este, after the disappointment of a failed bid for the papacy, brought back to life here the splendor of the courts of Ferrara, Rome and Fontainebleau and revived the magnificence of Villa Adriana. Governor of Tivoli from 1550, he immediately nurtured the idea of realizing a garden in the hanging cliffs of the “Valle gaudente”, but it was only after 1560 that his architectural and iconographic program became clear—brainchild of the painter-architect-archeologist Pirro Ligorio and realized by court architect Alberto Galvani. The rooms of the Palace were decorated under the tutelage of the stars of the late Roman Mannerism, such as Livio Agresti, Federico Zuccari, Durante Alberti, Girolamo Muziano, Cesare Nebbia and Antonio Tempesta. The work was almost complete at the time of the Cardinal’s death (1572). From 1605 Cardinal Alessandro d'Este gave the go-ahead to a new progam of interventions not only to restore and repair the vegetation and the waterworks, but also to create a new series of innovations to the layout of the garden and the decorations of the fountains. Other works were carried out from 1660 – 70; these involved no less a figure than Gianlorenzo Bernini. In the XVIIIth century the lack of maintenance led to the decay of the complex, which was aggravated by the property’s passage to the House of Hapsburg. The garden was slowly abandoned, the water works-- no longer used--fell into ruin, and the collection of ancient statues— enlarged under Cardinal Ippolito, was disassembled and scattered. This state of decay continued without interruption until the middle of the XIXth century, when Gustav Adolf von Hohenlohe, who obtained in enfiteusi the villa from the Dukes of Modena in 1851, launched a series of works to pull the complex back from its state of ruin. Between 1867 and 1882 the Villa once again became a cultural point of reference, with the Cardinal frequently hosting the musician Franz Liszt (1811 - 1886), who composed Giochi d'acqua a Villa d'Este for piano while a guest here, and who in 1879 gave one of his final concerts. At the outbreak of the first world war the villa became a property of the Italian State, and during the 1920s it was restored and opened to the public. Another, radical restoration was carried out immediately after the Second World War to repair the damage caused by the bombing of 1944. Due to particularly unfavorable environmental conditions, the restorations have continued practically without interruption during the past twenty years (among these it is worth noting the recent cleaning of the Organ Fountain and also the “Birdsong.”) Gallery 1/1 Photo ©CRISTINA ARCHINTO Info: more gardens and parks Parco del Paterno del Toscano Villa Lante Labirinto della Masone Giardino dell'impossibile Giardino di Ninfa Villa Pizzo Castello di Masino Parchi di Parigi

  • Geneva Botanic Garden | Terrimago

    SWITZERLAND THE CONSERVATORY AND BOTANICAL GARDEN OF GENEVA BY LIVIA DANESE The Conservatory and Botanical Garden of Geneva is a major institution for botanical research, conservation and development. It was founded in 1817 and was since then transferred to Parc de l’Ariana and opened to the public in 1904. The Garden hosts over 16000 different species of plants, trees and shrubs which are organized according to their habitat and marked with information panels. Geneva’s Botanical Garden is also appreciated today as a leisure park. The free entrance and the recreation areas allow anyone to rest and enjoy the tranquility of nature, while not leaving the city. The Garden organizes many different activities to introduce the visitors to nature and botany: one of the most relished is the Garden of smell and touch where people can interact with the plants which are chosen for their perfume and tactile interest. Some services, such as the picnic area, the playground and the small zoo, which also aids indigenous and endangered animals, are especially meant for families and children to enjoy. In short, the organization of the Botanical Garden is not only dedicated to the study and conservation of the flora but is also committed to guaranteeing visitors an all-round entertaining experience.The greenhouses too are arranged to show the many different ecosystems of the world and accompany visitors in an ideal journey through exotic surroundings. The Tropical Greenhouses are organized in four sections: the main greenhouse is dedicated to a range of species adapted to high temperature and humidity conditions, such as the giant water lilies. The second section reproduces the Canaries Island’s volcanic landscape with cacti and succulent plants growing on dark soil and lava rocks. The Bromilaceae greenhouse showcases a very interesting collection of Tillandsias which are referred to as “airplants” because they have no roots and derive their nutrients form moist, air and rain. The last section displays plants form tropical mountain areas. The Temperate house with its characteristic neoclassical glass dome contains Mediterranean type vegetation from around the world. A central staircase provides access to a high gallery which offers an impressive overall view. Finally the Victorian style Winter Garden is particularly noteworthy. Built in 1911, its elegant structure testifies the influence of the Industrial revolution on its glass and steel architecture. Today it houses an impressive collection of useful plants and a selection of tropical species. GALLERY Info: Official website Photo ©CRISTINA ARCHINTO more botanical gardens and nurseries Giardino Botanico Nuova Gussonea Orto Botanico di Catania Orto Botanico di Ginevra Centro Botanico Moutan Orto Botanico di Palermo Roseto di Roma Chicago Batanical Garden Parco Botanico Villa Rocca

  • Rome Botanical Garden | Terrimago

    LAZIO ROME'S BOTANIC GARDEN Enchantment of lights Photos and text by Cristina Archinto Since dawn of time, light has always fascinated man because it represents the supreme power to light darkness. First, of course, it was fire that illuminated and defended man, then Edison brought light into homes with mass production of lamps and electricity, although he was not the actual inventor. Today we have somewhat lost the ability to 'see in the dark' and in the absence of daylight we are used to have everything illuminated, but despite this we continue to be attracted by its power and light sources manage to excite like few things in the world. By activating special cognitive abilities, light excites, impresses and generally creates well-being, perhaps also linked to that hidden primordial memory, and brings us to a sense of harmony with our surroundings. Moreover, if a light source, perhaps coloured, is also associated with a sound flow, such as a piece of music, an almost tactile sensation is evoked by 'feeling' the light. This is more or less what happens at the sensory art exhibition at the Botanical Garden of Rome Incanto di luci (Enchantment of light). A one and a half kilometre long light art path conceived by light designer Andreas Boehlke, with evocative music by composer and sound designer Burkhard Fincke; works that tell in an artistic way some corners of this wonderful place. The installations, with LED bulbs for minimal environmental impact, bring us a completely different botanical garden, we can really say in a different light. Trees and plants in sumptuous colours, meadows full of flashing lights or balls that light up in a thousand different shades of colours, stairways carpeted with fireflies or luminous silhouettes of reindeer grazing among the bushes, and more. Certainly for nature or the garden lovers itself everything gives a strange effect, seeing blue palms and green fountains or lawns covered in red lights is extravagant, but it must be said, in certain cases, these artistic works can also amplify certain flavours , as in the bamboo forest, where moving green rays 'cut' clean through, like samurai warrior blades, those marvellous trunks. In other cases, perhaps the enchantment is unnatural, such as the lotus blossoms lying on the pond in the Japanese Garden being unappreciative, but on the other hand the coloured lights all around make the beautiful maples stand out. Some luminescent works mainly enchant children like the tree fairies or Tinker Bell's wings, but in general one breathes mostly enthusiasm and amazement, and the amount of mobile phones one sees swirling in the air ready to spread this into the ether is proof of this. I must admit that I, too, had a lot of fun photographing a place that in theory I knew very well but which was completely turned upside down. Lights appearing and disappearing, changing colours, trees taking different shapes because they were perhaps lit from below and not from above, stimulated my creativity a lot. Of course, for what we can define as 'the culture of greenery and nature', I am not sure that all this will have a positive impact, but certainly the very high turnout gives hope that perhaps even some of them will remember this magical place next spring and return to enjoy it in its most natural aspect. Photo ©CRISTINA ARCHINTO More botanic gardens and nurseries Vivai cuba Orto Botanico di Berlino Orto botanico di Madrid Orto botanico di Amsterdam Orto botanico di Napoli Giardino Botanico Nuova Gussonea Orto Botanico di Catania Orto Botanico di Ginevra

  • Centro botanico moutan | Terrimago

    LAZIO CENTRO BOTANICO MOUTAN The Chinese peonies garden BY GRETA ARANCIA SANNA Hidden in the countryside of northern Lazio is a garden, unique in its kind, that is home to all the species and varieties of Chinese peonies. Here an unprecedented collection of unique rare plants flourishes among holm oaks, laurels, cypresses and autochthonous plants. In April and May this corner of terrain blooms in a plethora of colors and inebriating fragrances. The story of the world’s largest collection of Chinese peonies starts in 1980 with Mr. Carlo Confidati, whose search for an original design for his home garden lead him to be capture by the allure of the flower, prised by so many for its beauty. The center was later founded in 1993 out of a deep desire to know all existing species and varieties of Chinese tree peonies. The aspiration was to find these flowers in the remotest areas of Asia, import them to Europe and bring them together in a single place, to promote their awareness and diffusion. Today the Moutan Botanical Center includes around 600 different varieties and natural hybrids belonging to known botanical species. The undisputed gems of the present landscape are the Rockii species, extraordinary peonies that grow wild on the high plains in Tibet, at an altitude of over 2000 meters, withstanding extreme temperatures that drop below -20°C. The Chinese name for this flower is “Zi ban mu da” meaning “tree peony with flowers at the base of the petals”. this characteristics makes it easily identifiable and very prized. It was discovered in 1925-26 by the American Joseph Rock, a plant hunter. It has a vigorous, wide shrub, 3 meters tall with milky white flowers that present a characteristic black stain at the base. With its elegant and characteristic foliage, the stain on their petals, the late flowering and the remarkable resistance to the cold the Rockii peony is the pride and joy of the garden. Another peony that adorns the garden is the Ostii species. These present single white flowers with an average of 12 petals, with occasionally pink veins. It is further an early and longlasting flower with a delicate scent. The two latter species have been frequently combined in a flower hybrid with an uncommon shading of color: the rockii x ostii. The plants are obtained by natural hybridisation, by way of a long propagation using the seed and selecting the progeny. This makes each one a unique and unrepeatable example which may be distinguished even by just a detail in the flower of the leaves. The hybrid of these two species have intermediate characteristics that make the plants truly particular. They are normally very large, vigorous and resistant, with large single flowers. The undefined purple stain at the base is that of the rockii peony but the color shades upwards towards the petal tips. The hybrid also presents a pink variety usually lighter or deeper pink with vivid purple streaks that origin at its heart. The garden also proudly exhibits a number of Herbaceous Peonies. Easy and sturdy these shrubs, helped by their rhizome roots, are ideal for small gardens dying down in winter and growing back in spring. Their long stems are also ideal to make bouquets whose permeating fragrance dissipates in the fresh breeze. More specifically the peony lactiflora, native to Siberia, produced many cultivars, with flowers measuring up to 20 cm across. It has a sweet fragrance and ranges in color from red to white. Finally, an additional species that irradiates that garden with its vibrant shades of pink is the Suffruticosa peony. Its flower is characterised by a crown of petals rich in color and foliage. It produces numerous flowers and some species, such as the Er Qiao, are a surprising combination of two different colors. This Peony Garden is truly an oasis of tranquility set amidst the colours and fragrances of the peonies and amongst climbing roses, American vines and passageways spelling wisteria that waver in the spring breeze, the noises of the city feel pleasurably distant. Overall, the Moutan Botanical Garden invites us to meander through a place unique in its kind, revealing the particularity and beauty behind the peony and all its existing species. Greta Arancia Sanna photo ©CRISTINA ARCHINTO Info: more botanical gardens and nurseries Orto Botanico di Ginevra Orto Botanico di Ginevra Orto Botanico di Palermo Roma Roseto di Roma Chicago Chicago Batanical Garden Giardino Esotico Pallanca Water Nursery Giardino Botanico di Hanbury

  • Caño Cristales | Terrimago

    Colombia THE FIVE COLOUR RIVER The Caño Cristales (literally "crystal channel") is a river in Colombia located in the Serranía de la Macarena, in the department of Meta, and is a tributary of the Guayabero River, which is part of the Orinoco basin. The river is commonly known as the River of Five Colours. The bed of the river in fact from the end of July to November is coloured in five different colours: yellow, green, blue, black and above all red, the last colour is caused by the Macarenia clavigera an aquatic plant present on the bottom of the river. It is considered one of the most particular rivers of the Earth so that the National Geographic has described it as coming from the "Garden of Eden". The mountain complex of the Serrania de la Macarena on which the river flows is characterized by the presence of very ancient quartzite rocks dating back to about 1.2 billion years ago, extreme western extension of the Massif of Guyana in Venezuela. Being a minor waterway, the Caño Cristales does not reach 100 km in length and never exceeds 20 m in width. It is a fast flowing river with many rapids and waterfalls. In many parts of the river bed there are circular wells called giant potholes that are believed to have been formed by pebbles or pieces of rock harder than the one in which the river flows: if trapped by the current obstructed by any obstacle, these fragments of rock scrape the walls around the obstacle creating a cavity. Over time, other fragments of hard rock fall into the cavities already present and, rotated by the current of water, continue to affect the wall, increasing the size of the well. The Serranía de la Macarena is located on the border of three large ecosystems, each with a high diversity of flora and fauna: the Andes, the eastern Llanos and the Amazonian rainforest. Plant and animal life is struggling with the lack of nutrients on the solid rocky surface of the plateau and has developed several adaptations. The representative biome of the Serranía de La Macarena is the hydrophytic rainforest: hot, warm and cold. The plateau is home to about 420 species of birds, 10 species of amphibians, 43 species of reptiles and eight of primates. The Caño Cristales has a great variety of aquatic plants. The river water is extremely clear due to the lack of nutrients and small suspended particles. Almost unique is the bright red-pink colouring of the river bed that is observed after the rainy season, at the end of June until November. This colour is caused by large quantities of endemic Macarenia clavígera plant species. This plant can only be found in a few other local rivers, such as the Caño Siete Machos. These red plants adhere firmly to the rocks where the river has a faster current. Load More Photo © CRISTINA ARCHINTO MORE ENVIRAMENT AND BOTANY Grosseto Palmeti Palmeti Caldara di Manziana Terra Scoscesa Le Palme Luoghi d'Acqua Conoscere gli alberi

  • Bomarzo | Terrimago

    LAZIO Bomarzo By LIVIA DANESE The Sacred Grove of Bomarzo is notoriously enigmatic and fascinating. Conceived by Prince Pier Francesco Orsini, it was inaugurated in 1547 and dedicated to his wife Giulia Farnese. Abandoning all prejudices and convictions at the door, one is transported into a surreal context that combines esotericism and mythology with the placidity and beauty of Viterbo’s countryside. The garden, also known as "Parco dei Mostri" (Monster Park), basks in its fame as a hermetic and mysterious place but represents more than just an expression of the Mannerist style’s taste for eccentricities. Nature is not accessory to the artistic caprices. On the contrary it produces the sensations of estrangement, alienation and fascination aroused by the park. The statues, the fountains and the architectures, all of which were sculpted directly in situ, seem to emerge from a natural environment that accentuates their ambiguity. The artworks therefore not only coexist with the ecosystem but also interact with it: a giant turtle that has to defend the female figure on its back, seems to takes advantage of the dense vegetation to hide and approach a whale immersed in the stream. Visitors are invited by the sphinxes at the entrance to concentrate on the wonders of the place, suggesting that the senses, as well as the mind, will guide the way. Perhaps the phrase "every thought flies" on the Orc’s anthropomorphic head represents an invitation to abandon total rationality? Enigmatic inscriptions and riddles, apparently overabundant nature, everything seems to be designed to make one lose balance, as the leaning house perfectly demonstrates. At the same time the park is scattered with reassuring symbols, such as the statue of the Ceres, maternal goddess of fertility, and the dancing nymphs. Today the itinerary through the park is different from the one designed by prince Orsini because of several changes that occurred in time. This makes the interpretation of the symbols along the route even more challenging. However, the encouragement to contemplation is very clear; now all that remains is to immerse oneself in this intricate garden, composed of verdant nature, petrified follies and sibylline verses, absorbing its charm, the mysteries and the enchantment. GALLERY Photo ©CRISTINA ARCHINTO Info: Official website Highlights Male fern - Dryopteris filix-mas Ferns are the oldest plants on our planet and are estimated to have been present for 350 million years. Its scientific name Dryopteris derives from drys oak and pteris fern, as it is very common in shady chestnut and oak forests. Ferns have always been used as dyes because of their tannin content, and were also used to make mattresses and pillows, and their good smell kept fleas away. Ferns are also the subject of many legends and myths throughout Europe, one of which tells us that on the night of 23-24 June, the feast of St John the Baptist, the fern produces a snow-white flower that has the power to make you invisible, like its seeds. Even Shakespeare was aware of this and quotes it in his Henry IV: 'We steal as if we were in an iron barrel, perfectly safe, we have the recipe for fern seeds, we walk invisible'. more gardens and parks Parco del Paterno del Toscano Villa Lante Labirinto della Masone Villa d'Este Giardino di Kenroku-en Giardino dell'impossibile Giardino di Ninfa Villa Pizzo

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