There is something about Italy that stirs the heart and soul; making Tuscan inspired gardens a thing of beauty. Whether it is the rolling hills of Tuscany, the food of Florence, the canals of Venice, or maybe a respect for the glory of ancient Rome; people have a real love for the area and its natural wonder.
Due to Italy’s natural geography, its plants tend to be very drought resistant, beautiful, and very fragrant. Normally, a Tuscan garden has several key features. First, you must have some kind of sculpture, something pleasing to the eye and maybe even inspirational. Many people love to put up a small statue, something classical looking. For that, check your local phone book or go on the Internet; there are plenty of places that sell such things, and you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg getting a genuine antique.
Normally, you will want to make that your centerpiece, the focal point of the garden. So, find a nice statue and the clear the area where you want to center your garden. Of course, you can go with more than one piece of artwork, but it really depends on the size of the area you’re planning to work with. Use your judgment as to whether or not you overcrowding it.
You want the garden to back up to some sort of high wall, that’s best at making it feel like a nice, intimate setting. Next, get a variety of plants, ones that grow to different heights. You’ll want the high plants in the back (to help mask the wall), and then you arrange the remaining foliage to create a graceful layering effect.
You go from the high plants in the back, and then down and around to the low ones in front. If you want to throw in some rosemary, lemons, oregano (or other herbs), they will not only add a nice fragrance to the garden, but be useful later in your cooking.
Next, prepare the area. If it’s dry and barren, then use a hoe or shovel to break up the soil, and maybe even throw in some fertilizer. Be sure to clean out any nuisance species like crab grass, poison ivy etc. It also doesn’t hurt to wet the soil down if it is particularly dry. Do that the day before you plant, so you won’t get all soggy wet while you work. After all, you are going to get dirty; no sense adding to the mess.
Types of Plants
Of course, there is the question of which plants to plant. It is a good idea to talk to the people in the garden center of your local home improvement store. They can give you suggestions, and as they are in your area, they’ll know which plants are best suited to survive there.
Not that this is set in stone, mind you, but here is a basic list and layout.
First, some nice Compact Gold Coin Daisies arranged along the front. Add to those some Lavender Cotton, and maybe some French Lavender. Behind that first row, you can put in some Tuscan Blue Rosemary, and a little Brilliancy Rock Rose.
And finally, run some Little Ollie Dwarf Olive plants all around the back. Of course, your statue will be somewhere toward the center of the garden. Your planting should be casual, in big swathes, rather than structured rows, giving a relaxed, informal feel to your garden. Follow these simple steps, and any Tuscan inspired gardens you create will be a feast for the eyes.
Photo by JackiePix