The Romantic Garden

The Romantic Garden

In 1870, work began on the Romantic and Acclimation Gardens, (with the assistance of the Engineer M.A. Fichera) to the North-West of the Irregular Garden. This section of the garden finds its inspiration in the Romantic Landscape style made popular in Great Britain by such designers as William Kent during the previous century.

It is divided into three sections: The Swan Lake and surroundings, the Artificial Hill, and the Acclimation Garden.

While the Irregular Garden is a celebration of the individual plant and its particular characteristics, in the Romantic Garden the plants are not the stars. Instead, they contribute equally along with changes in topography, sculptures and follies (miniature reproductions of real or imagined classical ruins) to evoke feelings of the Sublime in the viewer.

The Swan lake is bordered by a lush forest of green and black bamboo (Arundinaria japonica, Phyllostachys nigra) and Chamedorea palms. The sprawling Morton bay fig (Ficus macrophylla subsp. colomnaris) dominates one side of the lake area with its perennial shade while a proud Auracaria colomnaris towers on the opposite bank.

Located on a small island bordered by cypresses in the Swan Lake, a marble column with a cross on top references Rousseau's original tomb in the garden of Ermenonville. A circular temple (designed by F. Palazzotto) dedicated to Ceres, the Roman Goddess of agriculture, sits atop the artificial grottos. A waterfall flows from underneath the temple, where the water symbolizes the "panacea aurea", inferring that the true alchemic art, the transformation of material through knowledge, is agriculture.

In the Acclimation garden, opposite this group of follies, we find the temple that held the commemorative bust dedicated to Count Lucio Mastrogiovanni Tasca, surrounded by a semi-circle of cypresses and marked by a large Stone Pine (Pinus pinea). In this part of the garden we can also find a hill dedicated to succulents and dry-area plants including various species of yucca, prickly pear, nolina, and Dracaena as well as a forest of stately Araucaria columnaris.