Italian Villas and Their Gardens


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(1903)


To Vernon Lee Who, Better Than Any One Else, Has Understood And Interpreted The Garden-Magic Of Italy.


INTRODUCTION:

Italian Garden-Magic

Though it is an exaggeration to say that there are no flowers in Italian gardens, yet to enjoy and appreciate the Italian garden-craft one must always bear in mind that it is independent of floriculture.

The Italian garden does not exist for its flowers;
its flowers exist for it: they are a late and infrequent
adjunct to its beauties, a parenthetical grace counting
only as one more touch in the general effect of enchantment.
This is no doubt partly explained by the
difficulty of cultivating any but spring flowers in so hot
and dry a climate, and the result has been a wonderful
development of the more permanent effects to be obtained
from the three other factors in garden-composition—marble,
water and perennial verdure—and the
achievement, by their skilful blending, of a charm independent
of the seasons.

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