The garden

The garden is divided into eight areas, plus the terraces surrounding the houses and the swimming pool.

map of garden

garden details garden details

The rose garden

a collection of old-fashioned roses

I planted this part of the garden after the birth of my daughter: the 50 or so old-fashioned roses were a present from my husband.

The roses fill a long border and are interplanted with shrubs and perennials for spring and summer colour: Artemisias, Cistus, Teucrium, variegated Pittosporum Tobira, Photinia, Choysia, Spirea (thriving here, above all the spring-flowering forms) and many self-sowing plants: Fennel, Lychnis, Poppies, Euphorbias, Nigellas. A large, ancient olive tree in the centre of this garden is host to a Rose "Kifsgate".

All in all roses do not grow too well in my garden and undergo a very long summer pause, when foliage is disfigured by black-spot and oidium or just shrivel up. I now favour lax botanic Roses with good hips and interesting foliage.

rose garden
rose garden

The indian garden

a foliage garden in purple and grey

This is an autumn garden. I called it Indian because of the Kashmiri tent on poles placed in the middle. It was given to me by my sister who spends many months a year touring the Far East and brings me back beautiful artefacts: an embroidered parasol from Orissa, lively cushions and dhurries and so on.

There is a long border, partly shaded by an old cherry tree, which is planted exclusively with interesting foliage: purple, bronze and silver (Melianthus Major, Prunus Cistena, Aesculus Parviflora, Ligustrum Variegatum, different Euonymus, Buddleia "Lochinch" and "Arlequin"). I have also planted different Cortaderias in drifts, as I saw them on the Argentinean Pampas. On both sides of the tent, two large Cycas in pots are the only relics of a lovely house in Ibiza where we used to spend our holidays in the 70's.

indian garden indian garden
indian garden

The orchard

a collection of old-fashioned fruit trees

There must have been an orchard on the spot in the past: the only surviving fruit trees are a couple of old plum trees and a beautiful gnarled apple tree which I cherish (Reine des Reinettes). I have planted some unusual fruit trees: Loquat, Poncirus Trifoliata, Quince, Arbutus Unedo, Mespilus, Punicas (I have quite a few: single and double flowered in different colours).

The trees are underplanted with Stachys, Salvia Lavandulifolia, Convolvolus Cneorum, Nepeta, Sedum, Euphrobia Characias and Cyparissias. Roses and Clematis climb on the larger trees. There was a magnificent old olive tree smothered in a Rose 'Banksia-Lutea', which unfortunately collapsed in a storm a few years ago.

A longish border on the right-hand side is planted in pinks and greys. Pride of place goes to a Viburnum Carlcephalum with a heavenly scent in early spring. When we left our Roman flat with its magnificent terrace in 1997 a friend of ours called Carlo extracted it by sheer force from its huge pot: the Viburnum has since then been re-christened 'Carlocephalus'.

orchard orchard
orchard orchard

The Japanese garden

a touch of the far east

I planned this section after a visit to Japan, where I learned that gardens are not necessarily made with flowers, but also with shades, different hues of green, giving the space a special atmosphere. It is a garden made of topiaries, fruit trees, architectural plants, variegated foliages and gravel, the prevalent colour yellow. A yellow paper umbrella gives shade to a bench intended for contemplation.

japanese garden japanese garden

The rosemary garden

a garden hidden by a rosemary hedge

A rosemary hedge flowering for months on end in winter in blue, white and pink surrounds the place where I hang my washing. A Punica hedge on one side hides my precious compost bins. On another side, a crimson-flowering Hawthorn backs a space allotted to my future vegetable garden.


The pergola

a greek statue

Between the Japanese garden and the Rosemary garden there is a pergola covered in pink wisteria and a very vigorous 'Mermaid' rose. At the far end stands a copy of a Kouros (young man) found in the Munich Glyptoteck. This is a homage to my husband, who is a classical scholar.

pergola pergola

The herb garden

a herb for every recipe

A dark red bench on a stone terrace, dark red Oleanders and Origanum in pots, a bed circled with Santolina and old-fashioned rope bricks, some topiary and lots of herbs (Marjoram, Organo, Sage in every colour, Estragon, bronze Fennel, Angelica, Thyme and part of my collection of Sedum). The garden is the perfect place to admire the setting sun behind the hills.

There is a viewing platform hidden by rose "Albertine" on top of an olive tree where my children used to hide away with books, food and drinks when they were young.

herb garden
herb garden herb garden

The ruins

the eastern garden and the mock ancient ruins

The eastern garden slopes down from a terrace at the back of the house, shaded by an old fig tree: that's where we have tea on hot summer afternoons. The top of the retaining wall is planted in a Mediterranean style: spiky Yuccas, some rare creeping Rosemaries and Roses "the Fairy"; also Oleanders, Viburnum Tinus "Eve Price" and magenta Lagoerstremias.

From here, steps lead down to a "Maquis" garden, planted after a holiday on the Argentario peninsula (Phyllirea, Quercus Suber, Lentiscus, Therebintus, Pittosporum) followed by a hedge of Roses "Penelope" underplanted with Abelias, Phlomis. Further steps lead down to a walkway covered with apricot-coloured Roses ("Buff Beauty", "Meg", "Ghislaine De Feligonde") and scented Honeysuckle, flanked by Pittosporum, Phyllirea and Viburnum.

At the bottom of the slope there is a gazebo, covered with white Wisteria and pink Rose "Clair Matin". It is surrounded by pink Ceanotus "Marie Simon" and different Escallonias. The gazebo is surrounded by a bosquet of ten tall Cypresses, two old Olive trees with Roses "La Mortola" and "Bobby James" growing through their branches and a wild meadow covered in white and apricot Daffodils in spring.

As a focal point, some mock ancient ruins surrounded by Tamarix, Berberis, Cotoneaster, of which I am starting a collection, Syringa Microphilla, Sambucus Canadensis Maxima, Forsythia Suspensa and many other shrubs.

ruins ruins
ruins ruins


swimming pool japanese garden pergola rosemary garden orchard indian garden rose garden house herb garden ruins