The museum building was designed as a fifteenth century Italian palazzo, to house a collection of European art. Within the palace is a courtyard garden. It has the charcter of a small Italian garden, not of the typical internal court in a Florentine palazzo. There is a mosaic design in the middle of the courtyard. Nasturtiums are hung from the balconies in remembrance of Mrs. Gardner's birthday (April 14, 1840). There is a rotating seaonal display and other highlights include a display of hydrangeas, Martha Washington geraniums, cape primrose and tree ferns in May; and a holiday-inspired installation of poinsettias, azaleas, cyclamen, winter berries and heather trees in December and January. Outside the palace is the Monks Garden (named after Olga Monks, Mrs Gardner's favourite niece), the South Garden and a formal rose garden.
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