Wednesday 29 August 2012

Giardini Botanici Villa Taranto devastated by freak strom

The Daily Telegraph reports that the famous botanic garden of Villa Taranto on the shores of Lake Maggiore was hit by freak, 70 miles per hour winds last weekend.  Not least of the damage is the loss of a third of the trees and shrubs.

Image from Villa Taranto
The botanic garden, which as a result of the damage is now closed indefinitely, was the work of a Scot, Captain Neil Boyd McEacharn (1884-1964.)  A passionate botanist who fell in love with Italy at the tender age of eight, McEacharn was the scion of a wealthy shipping family.  

In 1930 after a two years search to find the perfect spot where he could establish his garden and plant collection, McEacharn saw an advertisment in The Times purchased the La Crocetta estate and set about his transformation.

Interrupted by the second world war McEacharn (who in 1952 opened the gates to the public) continued to develop the garden until his death, and until last weekend the 40-acre botanic garden which is considered on of Europe's finest contained about 20,000 taxa of plants from around the world, from the Amazon to the Himalaya.

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