What do you know about Italian gardens?
I've heard a little about Italian Gardens...are there any fans or experts out there that can tell me more? What do you think of them and is it a style that is attractive to North Americans? Are they currently "hot" or "not"?
The classic book on this topic is Edith Wharton's "Italian Villas and their Gardens." I spent a fair amount of time in Italian gardens last summer and I think at their purest they are probably too rigid for North American tastes, which does not mean there are not ideas from them that could be happily incorporated here. Tracy di Sabato-Aust, whose "The Well-Tended Perennial Garden" should be on every gardener's bookshelf, has some ideas on her blog: http://www.tracylive.com/2008/10/lessons-from-italian-gardens-for-american-gardeners/
I have heard it said that it is in Italy, not in England, where gardens reached their fullest potential - because Italy is where art (sculpture and architecture) reached its highest potential. Since I have not seen either in person, I will not offer an opinion. But I have also heard that the most beautiful garden in Italy is La Ninfa, which is a wild garden that has grown over an entire medieval village. http://pinterest.com/wmgardener/ninfa-italy/
Also see this UK video of Ninfa: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGEjoVlCj6A