As part of my PhD exploring the influence of Ovid in Italian Renaissance gardens I am delighted to be working in partnership with Grade II listed Arts & Crafts villa Winterbourne House & Gardens to recreate an Italian Renaissance garden based upon plantings inspired by Ovid’s botany, which has been designed by acclaimed landscape designer Kathryn Aalto.My research explores how Italian Renaissance gardens were designed to impart a narrative, retelling the mythology of Ovid’s Metamorphoses and Fasti through the use of landscaping, fountains, sculpture and crucially, botany. This garden will form an essential part of my research and enable me to explore the sensory experience of the garden, particularly through the practical uses of its plants in both Roman and Renaissance perfumery, medicine and cooking, as well as demonstrating the symbolism and literary allusion central to the design of Italian Renaissance gardens.
Each tree, shrub, flower or herb in the garden has been chosen for its significance in Ovid’s narrative and the Italian Renaissance garden, whether it had a practical or symbolic function.
Once the garden is planted and growing I will be giving talks and running workshops at Winterbourne, exploring the properties and uses of these plants from ancient times to the modern day, offering a hands-on, interactive experience of plants including food demonstrations, concocting medicines and even making perfumes, so keep an eye on the blog for details nearer the time!
After a long planning and funding application process, we’re now ready to start implementing the design at Winterbourne and digging begins next Tuesday. Follow the blog to receive regular updates on the progress of the garden and feel free to drop into Winterbourne on Tuesday to find out how we’re getting on! Watch this space for Ovid’s Garden…