Friday, July 12, 2013
1:10 PM | Dana Kaplan, Stresa Sights | Edit Post
Last August a terrible micro-tornado devastated the beautiful, almost one-hundred-year-old gardens of Villa Taranto (read here). In the immediate aftermath of that storm the damage seemed so vast that initially it was thought the garden would remain closed indefinitely. I'm so happy to tell you that instead of an indefinite closure, Villa Taranto opened this season on its normal opening date of March 16. I visited recently, and to be honest, I am in awe. There is (almost) no sign at all of the storm. (Almost) nothing to indicate it even occurred. I cannot imagine the works and organization that must have taken place all during the winter to make this happen. Huge kudos to everyone at Villa Taranto ... this is one job extremely well done. Following are some photos from my visit there last week.
( continued ... )
I had heard that more than 300 trees had been lost, as well as countless smaller plants. I didn't know the garden well enough to recognize what is different now. All I noticed is that it looks as perfect as it ever did.
The Putti Fountain and Italian Garden were immaculate as always. Grass that my friend Jane described as looking like velvet. And not a blade out of place.
The Dahlias are growing, only about 1 foot tall now, but the sticks they'll grow up on were taller than 5'3" me, indicating how tall they will be by September.
The Amazonian water plants were lined up like large pizzas in the Victorian Greenhouse.
We witnessed the interesting process of aerating this one long stretch of lawn. Man in background pokes holes in ground with a tool that lifts up the plugs. Man in center gently rakes plugs together and carries them away with a shovel. Man in foreground sweeps the completed area clean with a real broom. Time-consuming... Two other men (barely visible) on the right were weeding. And that was just the maintenance in this one spot at this one time.
Gorgeous drooping Itea Ilicifolia blossoms.
You know, it hadn't been my intention to show so much and give away too much about the gardens. But everything was so beautiful! The arbors ...
The massive water lily and lotus ponds ...
The roses ...
Delicate vines climbing up stone walls ...
The charming little fisherman and the terraced gardens...
So why, at the start of this post, had I said there was almost no signs of any damage? Because, scattered throughout Villa Taranto, just here and there, a downed tree had been deliberately left. As sort of a memorial. All around them cleaned and pristine. Perhaps they will become the base of some future planting design? Perhaps to be carved into a bench? It seemed perfectly fitting. A garden is an always evolving place, and we loved how even in that time of despair and devastation, they could see how to make something beautiful from it for the future.
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