Tour of The Parterre Gardens
Welcome to the Tour of The Parterre Gardens at Mezzacello. These gardens which run between the pond and the main house (see map) are formal on initial observation, but that formal boxwood parterre hides a deeper reality. Each of those triangles is a different soil structure and the boxwood provides shade shelter and a microclimate for delicate herbs and flowers.
An Old Idea Made New
The idea of a parterre knot garden is NOT a new idea. It dates back to Mesopotamia, Rome and medieval monastic gardens (see The Cloisters in NYC). What is new is the nature of the triangular gardens in the parterre. Each triangle is a different soil type with a barrier that prevents different herbs from growing out of their specific soil.
The boxwood serves another purpose other than creating a neat and tidy parterre knot. The boxwood protects the herbs from winds, cold, and allows tender herbs and flowers to grow well into January. This is a very nice feature that comes in handy on cold winter nights.
Culinary and Medicinal Parterres
Remember that three of the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals deal with food, health, and innovation, and access to fresh food. This is a very important aspect of Mezzacello. We take our responsibility to and care for our health very seriously here, and you should as well.
Some of the parterre beds are poor soil. Some are sandy soil or Mediterranean soil. Others are rich and sweet with rich humus.
These triangles are designed to grow very specific herbs and flowers. All of these have either culinary or medicinal value. They are either used fresh, dried, or used in a tonic.
So what is the value of these parterre ecosystems?