Friday, September 25, 2015

Restoration of the Borghese Gardens

The restoration of the Villa Borghese to its seventeenth-century appearance was begun in 1997 and has been based on extensive historical research of numerous documents preserved in the Borghese family archives at the Vatican. Among the most important recent projects has been the refurbishment of the secret gardens known as the Flower Garden, the Garden of Blooms and Views, and the Garden of the Bitter Oranges. (including citron/ etrog

Using this historical information the designs of the gardens were reconstructed with flowers used for the original plantings. Within the three gardens, more than 250 varieties of plants permit three rounds of seasonal flowering that include rare and precious flowers and fruit of the beautiful tree (peri eitz hadar, literally "a fruit of the beautiful tree." - Leviticus 23:40.) that have disappeared from Roman gardens and have been reintroduced for the first time. These include such flowers as fritillaries, numerous varieties of antique tulips, old roses, many aromatic plants, and flowers such as the sunflower, marigolds, and four o'clocks that were rarities in the seventeenth century because of their recent importation from the Americas. The gardens thus have returned to their original state as true living museums. 

The entire Borghese Gardens park was organized on a formal, symmetrical plan with lanes and small squares lined with statues and fountains. The giardini segreti (secret gardens) located on either side of casino were the most important and well-tended of the gardens. Since the Renaissance, secret gardens, whose roots lie in the kitchen gardens of Medieval convents, have been a common garden type. Their name is an allusion to the fact that they are enclosed by walls that form outdoor rooms, thereby creating a private passage from the closed, interior spaces to the open air of the surrounding park. [1] Alberta Campitelli

The Borghese Gardens in Rome were built in 1605, when Cardinal Scipione Borghese converted the existing vineyards into one of the largest landscape gardens in all of Rome. Scipione Borghese was nephew to Camillo Borghese - Pope Paul V - who oversaw the completion of St Peter's Basillica at the Vatican. When you visit Rome be sure to look for the name inscribed at the main entrance portico. It reads BVRGHESIVS - Latin for Borghese. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Happy Sukkot ! Chag Sameach, the Borghese Gardens Etrog from Calabria, Italy

Caravaggio: Still Life with Flowers, Fruits, and Vegetables in the Galleria Borghese in Rome, contains a large citron (Citron medica / etrog). 
The citron is considered a sacred tree to Jews who know the fruit as the etrog, still used for the celebration of Sukkot, the Feast of the Tabernacles.
The Borghese Gardens Etrog: A few interesting things about Etrogs. The word Etrog is Aramaic, which means "delightful." 

The English equivalent word, Citron, is derived from the Greek word "Kedros" -- the same as "Hadar" in Hebrew -- which also means Citrus. Kedros was Latinized as Cedrus, which evolved into Citrus, and then Citron. 

In Second Temple times, the Etrog was the only known Citrus fruit, according to Eliezer Goldschmidt, a horticulture professor at Hebrew University. As such, it was the only choice for the Sukkot ritual, as the Talmud states that every Jew should take the fruit of the Hadar tree. 
Most Citrus species arrived in the Middle East from China and India, with the Citron first, followed by the Lemon and other Citrus species. The Etrog is still grown in Morocco and Italy. The Italian varieties are mostly Yanaverim types, and there are those who prefer the Italian Yanaver species of Etrog to the typical Israeli Etrog. "Some people believe that the Italian Etrog is the ultimate Etrog," Israeli grower Yaakov Charlap says.

The citron in Calabria was celebrated by poets like Byron and D'Annunzio, but is only saved from extinction, thanks to the Jewish tradition of Sukkot. 

A Jewish delegation comes from Israel to Santa Maria del Cedro every year between July and August to choose the best fruit to be used in the holiday for the Jewish community. The selection of the best fruit is a virtual ritual. 

The mashgichim, each followed by a peasant carrying a box and a pair of scissors, go to the citron farms at five in the morning. The mashgiach proceeds slowly looking left and right. Then he stops and looks at the base of the tree, right where the trunk comes up from the ground. A smooth trunk means the tree has not been grafted and the fruit can be picked. The mashgiach lies down on the ground to examine better the lower branches between the leaves. 

Once the good fruit is found, the mashgiach shows it to the peasant who cuts it off leaving a piece of the stalk. Then the mashgiach analyses the picked citron one more time and if he decides it is worthy he wraps it in oakum and puts it in the box. 

The farmer receives the agreed sum for each picked fruit. Then the boxes are sealed and sent to the Lamezia Terme airport with a final destination Tel Aviv 

Most adherent to the Diamante variety of Calabria are still the Chabad's who's late Rabbi's were always in support for this traditional variety. Among the other Hasidic sects it is most used by the Satmars. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Citrus, Lime Dwarf

Citrus, Lime Dwarf
Dwarf Lime trees grow to about two feet in height and produce full-size, bright green juicy limes. They have a delicious, tangy taste. Use in key-lime pies and in cold drinks. Miniature trees add color and fragrance to your home. These Dwarf Lime trees are fun, and the requirements for growing them are few: they need a humid environment and may require misting several times a week. They need direct sunlight and frequent watering. The growing instructions that we send you tell you how to pollinate the trees to help the blossoms turn into fruit. We ship only well-established plants which will set fruit within 12 months. This tree is also available in the Citrus Tree Collection.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Roma Tomato , from Direct Gardening

Tomato, Roma
 These tomatoes have oblong fruits with dry meaty flesh. Skins are smooth and peel easily. They have more intense color and flavor than other tomatoes. One other tomato that fits this same description is the San Marzano. Planting guide: Start indoors 8 weeks before time to set in open ground. Cover thinly, then pack firmly and water. When plants are about 2 inches high, transplant to 3 inches apart in flat or pot. After danger of frost, set 2 to 3 feet apart in garden, but before doing so, harden the plants by gradually exposing them to the outdoor air for about a week. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Borghese Gardens and the Pines of Rome

Stone Pine Trees in the Villa Borghese Gardens: "A species of pine native to Southern Europe in the Mediterranean region, the Italian Stone Pine, commonly called the Umbrella Pine, has been cultivated for its edible pine nuts since prehistoric times. It has a widespread use as a horticultural tree, too. The Umbrella Pine can grow to heights exceeding 82 feet; but the average is height is 35 to 65 feet.

The reason for its more popular name is clear; the characteristic smooth, round, umbrella-like crown is made up of flexible, needle-like leaves that have a mid-green color. Its edible seeds have been the chief reason for its cultivation for at least 6,000 years, even being used for trade since early-recorded history.

This tree has been celebrated in music. Pini di Roma, the Pines of Rome, is a 1924 symphonic tone poem by Italian composer Ottorino Respighi. It is one work in Respighi’s Roman Trilogy, which includes Feste Romane and Fontane di Roma. Each movement portrays the location of pine trees in the city during different parts of the day. First performed under the baton of Bernardino Molinari in the Augusteo, Rome, on 14.December.1924."

Via:Virtual Tourist : Villa Borgheae

Scientific classification—Kingdom: Plantae; Division: Pinophyta; Class: Pinopsida; Order: Pinales; Family: Pinaceae; Genus: Pinus; Subgenus: Pinus; Species: P. pinea

Herb Collection

Herb Collection
Grown inside or out -- they take such little space and give so much pleasure! For cooking and mouth watering taste, nothing beats fresh herbs! Whether you grow them outdoors in a garden setting or indoors in windowsill pots, you can continue harvesting them on an as needed basis. For people who are new to herb gardening, try our money-saving collection so you can sample each variety and find your favorites. Easy-to-grow and a healthful and less expensive alternative to store-bought spices! This collection includes one packet each of all 18 herbs that we offer: They include: Anise, Balm, Sweet Basil, Siam Queen Thai Basil, Caraway, Chives, Coriander (Cilantro), Lavender (vera), Sweet Marjoram, Horehound, Parsley (Paramount), Peppermint, Dill, Summer Savory, Thyme, Oregano, Sage and Leek American Flag.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The "Heaviest" Document in the Vatican's Secret Library ? The Borghese Libri mastri

The Vatican Secret Archives is famous all over the world not only for the antiquity, quantity and typology of its documents (some even dating back to the 8th century AD), but also for the bulk of some of them.
The entirety of documents (nearly 630 archive fonds) treasured by the Vatican Archives is extremely important in reconstructing the political, religious and social history of cities, nations and continents. 

One of these fonds, belonging to the Borghese family, was donated to the Vatican Secret Archives in 1932 by virtue of the strong link that the Borgheses had always had with the Papacy (pope Paul V, the Archive’s founder, was a Borghese), but also due to the higher degree of preservation that the Holy See could offer in those years compared that of the “younger” Italian State. The quantity of items from the vast family archive is in the range of nine thousand bundles, registers or parchments.

Within such great quantity of documents, which offer an evocative slice of early modern and modern Italian and European history, one finds various account books, technically called Libri mastri, volumes bearing the whole administrative life of an institution or, in this case, of a noble Roman family, whose business amount was greater than that of a modern-day large business.