The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 3: European Gardens (500AD-1850)

Italian garden workers

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144.The operative part of gardening in Italy is performed more by labourers than by regular apprentices and journeymen; and thus good practical gardeners are more the result of accident than of design. The great defect of both is the want of a taste for order and neatness. The Italians are particularly unskilful in the management of plants in pots; and especially of such exotics as require protection by glass. These are put into houses with upright, or slightly inclining glass fronts, and opaque roofs; there they re main during a winter of from three to five months; want of light and air renders their leaves yellow and cadaverous; and when they are taken out, they are placed in the most exposed parts of the garden, often on parapets, benches, or stages. Here the sudden excess of light soon causes them to lose their leaves, which they have hardly time to regain before the period arrives for replacing them in the conservatory or hothouse. We know of few exceptions to this censure, except at Monza and Caserta, where the plants are kept in winter in glass-roofed houses, as in England, and placed out in summer under the shade of poplars, or high walls. Dr. Oct. Tozetti, professor of rural economy at Florence, who lectures in a garden, in which specimens are displayed of the leading sorts of Italian field and garden culture, acknowledged to us, in 1819, the justness of this remark.