The garden of the Hesperides was where Hercules had to go to find the golden apples, references to it in Italian Renaissace gardens are a symbolic way of comparing the garden to paradise, a way of achieving imortality through hard work. So this garden is, for me, my paradise and certainly the hard work in achieving it will bring its own reward.
We bought the partly renovated casale at the end of 2007 with the intention of creating a garden. The property faces south but is open to the countryside in every direction. Apart from summer drought (there is usually no rain between June and the end of August) our and the plants main problem is the summer wind from the west – the direction of the sea, but not salt laden by the time they reach us; and the bitingly cold winter winds from the north (Tramontana) and north east (Grecale).
My aim is to garden using plants adapted to the environment. Mediterranean climate plants that will cope with our cold winters. The intention is minimum irrigation
1. Because I think it wrong to use such a valuable resource wastefully and
2. The cost of pumping water from the well.
We use water to irrigate the vegetable garden on a daily basis but some parts of the garden receive only rain.
The ground is tufo, a soft volcanic rock that is very fertile, free draining but does retain water deep down.
I am inspired by the wonderful Renaissance Gardens in the area, the superb planting of Beth Chatto and the naturalistic mass plantings of Piet Oudolf. I love grasses and find these very good tempered and beautiful for most of the year. Welcome to my garden of the Hesperides.