The old concept of an “English style garden” is totally unsuited to the natural environment and climate in central Italy. Water wise gardening is fundamental: the cost of water can only rise and water resources are becoming ever more scarce.
We want to preserve the ‘spirit of place’ and create a garden in harmony with the natural landscape. The answer can be found in the surrounding countryside: we should imitate these conditions and seek out the native species that grow here to guide us to what we should plant. To follow the wise words of Beth Chatto we should put “The right plant in the right place”.
There are no hard and fast rules - the essence of a garden is the unique character that the gardener imparts to it - but here are some thoughts you may want to consider when designing your garden in Umbria:
The photo at the top of this page shows a view of the gravel garden in June which uses only
drought-tolerant plants native to Mediterranean climate regions and is never irrigated
Many of these articles first appeared in the Castiglione del Lago monthly newsletter “Qua e là” edited by Priscilla Worsley
All text and photographs © Yvonne Barton unless stated otherwise