One Thing - Ninfa

Is Ninfa, as is so often claimed, the most romantic garden in the world?



  1. Isn’t that interesting – water is not the one thing I would have picked for Ninfa, although I can relate to your ideas about it. And I wondered, just like you, why the garden tour had not started there. To me, Ninfa has that sense, mostly found in tropical gardens, that nature is waiting, just behind you, ready to take over. A sense of danger almost – that you are here under its sufferance and might linger over those roses and crystal waters at your peril. I guess that’s not a design ‘thing’ in the same sense as using elements and shaping spaces but the power of it lingers with me still. Perhaps that’s why people think it’s romantic. Romance is beautiful but also has a subtle but thrilling underlying current of danger about it too.

    1. And I think that it must be an historically recent thing – that idea of the romance of the crumbling – the romance of nature taking back charge. I can’t help but think that the appeal of nature being finally dominant is only available to those who have been alarmed by a sense of their own dominance… That having tamed nature, that we now want to know that she’s bigger than the prison we’ve prepared for her.

  2. Love your videos! No one else ever stops themself 5 seconds in and says ‘Ok, I’m going to shut myself up there because I’ve said a couple of stupid things’. Just great.

    In my ignorance I’d never heard of Ninfa until I saw this.

    My main two takeaways: water in a garden, especially natural running water, would have to be one of life’s greatest pleasures. (I can appreciate the grandeur of Versailles and Ville d’este etc but it doesn’t touch the soul compared to this).

    And secondly, yep, every time I see a garden I love I think this is it, this can’t be surpassed and then wadda ya know…

    Will be taking a lottery ticket in hope of joining you!

    1. I agree with you about the running water. And that static water, as much as I love it as well, doesn’t impact like the running water. But it’s also that the water is so ridiculously clear, and looks so, so drinkable – and is! – and that its not recirculated, but runs through once, and is then gone. There’s a similar sense at Villa d’Este – it’s all so profligate, but that’s part of its charm.
      Imagine what it was like when all those fountains in Rome – the Trevi, the fountain of four rivers in Piazza Navona – had fresh spring water running through them, as they did for centuries. I love – though the word is inadequate – that Rome is running with those simple water fountains, providing drinking water from the ancient aqueducts, to this day. I don’t know of any other element that one could include in a garden that is so physically and psychologically life-giving.

    2. Off topic but meant to say, I bought 3 Daphne Eternal Fragrance last month (ish) due to your March 2015 post. I wouldn’t have looked at them much less bought, especially at around $16.00. (No flowers, small pot, no come hither…) They’re doing a treat especially given the weather so looking forward to good things.
      Plus, and I hope no one else reads this, there are still some left. Can I be so lucky that others don’t know the treasures in store? Might they end up on the bargain trolley???

Leave a Comment

More Videos

One Thing - Het Loo


One Thing - Sissinghurst


One Thing - Fiona Brockhoff's Garden

Another video.  This time one of the most game-changing gardens in Australia I’ll add a pic, just to entice you.. ...