Today I feel like a renaissance man (I’m really a renaissance plant, but that doesn’t have the same ring). Why? Because I am sitting in the middle of Renaissance Court.
I don’t visit this garden often and it was a time for me to stop by for a look. This garden evokes a sixteenth-century Italian garden, hence the name Renaissance Court.
“What makes this like an Italian Renaissance garden?” a man of letters might ask.
“Well,” a plant of the old world might respond, “it has many of the elements of that gardening style.” Architectural design was of prime importance and the plants played a supporting role. Order and beauty were the operative words so symmetrical designs included architectural features such as balustrades, statuary and fountains. These gardens were intended to be viewed from a villa overlooking the garden, so that you could be impressed by the magnificence before you.
Here in Norfolk, since there is no villa, the visitor must be content with taking in the scene from the top of the steps leading from the Holly Garden. Here the intrepid garden traveler will see a broad vista of shallow terraces leading to a central fountain. Grand trees surround the entire scene with the exception of the far side where Statuary Vista begins. The wedge of sky between these trees brings your eyes down to an elaborate gate that signals the other end of the garden. Through the garden course classic balustrades punctuated by statues of the four seasons on outside corners and planted pots at interior junctions. Spitting lions are more statuary guarding the main fountain. There are indeed many elements of an Italian garden here.
So as I sit here and review my garden history lesson, I come upon an enlightened thought. This is a very beautiful place and I see why it is popular for weddings and once the home of the coronation of the Azalea Queen. However, it is not a spot for a little dandelion. Sitting here in this verdant lawn, I stick out like a sore thumb. It will not be long before a gardener notices me and comes for my delicate flower. Perhaps it is time to move on. Ciao!