"Come into my garden.
I would like my roses to see you.”
These words, by Richard Sheridan, the Irish-born eighteenth-century dramatist and politician,
are engraved in a marble plaque set in the stone wall surrounding the house at the
Roseto Botanico Carla Fineschi.
A delightful invitation to all who visit.
|Roseto di Cavriglia, now called Roseto Botanico Carla Fineschi in memory of the founder's wife|
He was something of a local legend. In the words of someone who met him:
"Fineschi was a little like Galileo in that he was a scholar, humble, empirical, unaffected, practical and well connected at every level of Italian culture and society. His interests numbered four: orthopedics, roses, sport (meaning soccer) and classical music.
"He was very close to John Paul II, on whom he operated twice ... including when [John Paul] was shot. He always wore and treasured a silver crucifix that was a gift from JPII. His love of roses manifested itself in collecting, cultivation, breeding and literature. ...
"His histories and descriptions were eloquent, almost lyrical, ... we listened in wonder to him for several hours with him as devoted to us as we to him. I especially remember his historical account of yellow roses, which did not appear in the West until the beginning of the 20th century when Chinese species were crossed with plants in the West. Every yellow rose has Chinese parentage.
"I cannot say much about his love of sport and classical music except that he was the head of the classical music society in Figline for nearly fifty years. ...
"The railroad car you see [at the Rose Garden] was meant to be a rose book library. The car and track on which it sits were a gift of gratitude from the head of the Ferrovia dello Stato on whom he had successfuly operated. The train chuffed all the way to his house on tracks that were later removed. ...
"He corresponded with gardens all over the world; historical gardens, like those of the National Trust, often asked him to supply cuttings of unavailable species. The old retainers who work at the garden have either known or worked with Fineschi for most of their lives. And the animals.... The cats and dogs were all strays that he welcomed, fed and cared for."
For the keen rose gardener or the simply curious, the garden is an astonishingly rich treasure trove. The rose garden really merits several visits during the flowering season: early, to enjoy the old roses which flower only once; in the middle to enjoy the hybrids and many others and later to admire the climbers and late flowerers. The organizers even recommends returning in autumn for the spectacle of the rosehips.
Thanks again are due to Explicit for the biographical details about Professor Fineschi
|the gardens are populated by cats, dogs and peacocks; the cats and dogs were strays that Professor Fineschi welcomed and cared for.|