This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
The Hell Mouth from the Bosco dei Mostri, built in the mannerist style in Italy in the 16th century. A current-day view of the parterre gardens at Versailles,


ing way—than in Byzantine images of her on a throne. Although cloisters were not open


to the public, this format for a garden became the dominant layout in private gardens. It was proscribed in The Book of Rural Benefits, written about 1309 by Pietro Crescenzi in Bologna. That text was translated into French and had many manuscript copies produced. When the printing press made large- scale publication possible, it was the first text on horticulture printed; that was in 1471.


Italian Renaissance With the Renaissance, a whole new


world of gardening opened up. In the 15th century, the Italians began build- ing private gardens at estates with an eye to classicism—a human-controlled and very precise order and symmetry with the inclusion of statues, grottoes and fountains. The grand style inspired similar movements in France and Brit- ain in the following centuries. For the first time in—literally—ages, unabashed pleasure in the beauty of the surround- ings became the primary motivation for building gardens. They were a celebra- tion of human mastery over nature. One of the more bizarre innovations


to come out of this period was the giochi d’acqua or water trick. Fountains based on simple gravity were first used around the second millennium BCE and the


52 • Fall 2016


Vita Sackville West’s Sissinghurst garden.


Ancient Greeks were inclined to deco- rate them with marble sculptures and such, making the water come out of, say, a lion’s mouth. The Romans mastered movement of water through aqueducts, but the technology was largely forgotten through the Dark Ages. During the Ital- ian Renaissance, literature on mechani- cal water-moving devices conceived by Vetruvius and Hero of Alexandria was rediscovered and a new craze for foun- tains was born. (Fountains did exist


through the medieval period but mostly in monasteries and the gardens of royal- ty, and they required a source of water higher than the fountain to work.) Perhaps not content with the passive


pleasures of watching a fountain, the rich bon vivant had concealed foun- tains through the garden that could be turned on by a hidden servant to drench a strolling guest by surprise. Kinder hosts might only trap the guest surround of jets.


in a localgardener.net


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