The History of Italian and French Gardens

The Italian Renaissance saw a dramatic development in the whole concept of gardens. In the early fifteenth century, as trade started to flourish again, merchants in the hot city of Florence began to build villas or farms on the surrounding vineyard hills where it was cooler. The earliest Renaissance gardens were at first in the formal, enclosed tradition but gradually a view was allowed into the garden through a hole in the wall. As a natural view became more important the enclosures were swept away and the hill side gardens were allowed to stride down their sites through olive groves and vineyards.

During the sixteenth century the initiative passed to Rome, where the architect Bramante designed a papal garden within the Vatican. This was forerunner of the High Renaissance style, with a magnificent arrangement of steps and terraces, which became a prototype for everything which became followed. From then on gardens became even more ostentatious in design, with terraces at different levels retained by walls and interconnected by grand staircases. Water again became a major feature, as it was in Islamic gardens. It was pressurized and used spectacularly, progressing down an incline or displayed in an elaborate fountain. While these Renaissance gardens were still places for cool retreat, with shade and water of great importance, they were also showplaces where the site and its vegetation were deliberately manipulated. The Italians were really the first to make decorative use of plants, with hedges, for example, used to link the house and garden structurally.

The Renaissance movement originating in Italy spread northwards, together with increased knowledge about plants and their cultivation. In France the small formal gardens within the walls of moated chateaux moved outside, becoming much grander in scale and scope. Unlike the Italian hill side gardens, the French ones were flat and straight, most of them situated in the flat marshy areas to the south and west of Paris. The style was still very geometric, as the original pattern of formal beds within a grid system of paths was simply repeated in order to enlarge the garden.

In the seventeenth century Andre le Notre changed French garden planning significantly. With the opening of the chateau garden at Vaux-le-Vicomte in 1661 he established a style which was to influence the whole of Europe for a century. His gardens were still basically formal and geometric in character but they became much more elaborate and interesting with long magnificent vistas, pools or rectangular canals and grand parterres. Parterres were both larger in scale and more intricate in detail than earlier knot gardens. Another distinctive characteristic was the hedge lined avenues which fanned out through the surrounding forest known as pattes d’oie (goose feet). Le Notre was appointed royal gardener to Louis XIV and the garden at Versailles is probably his best known creation. In concept it was a vast outdoor drawing room, intended for the entertainment of a court of thousands.

Though most of Le Notre’s gardens were unashamedly for show they were still not places for colour or floral display; canalized and playing water, clipped and trained vegetation, statuary and elaborate parterres provided the visual interest, along with people walking about in them. This stylized layout, originally designed for large chateaux, was adapted to quite manor house. Like the grand Italian gardens, as they became out of scale with the use of the individual, a smaller secret garden had to be created within them for family use.

At this stage garden design was fairly international in character and more or less uniform throughout Europe. The Germans imitated the Italian Renaissance style but readily switched to the grand geometric French style when it became dominant. The main historical contribution of Germany has been a numerical one – in the sixteenth century there were more gardens in Germany than any other country in Europe – and a certain exaggeration of the elements in any style they adopted. The French formal style of gardening also flourished in the sandy soil of Holland, on a smaller and less sophisticated scale but with more emphasis on hedges, fantastic topiary and decorative planting. Their box-edged formal beds were filled with tulips in the spring, brought back from the Middle East. The Dutch were responsible, through their trading and through their rise as a colonial power, for the introduction of much imported plant material – from China, America, South Africa and many other countries. They introduced the lilac, the pelargonium and the chrysanthemum into Europe and popularized tulips and many other bulbs.

In the same way that English medieval gardens remained pale counterparts of the elegant and colourful enclosures found in Europe, the gardens of English royalty and aristocracy developed on the lines of Italian and French Renaissance layouts during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. They were, however, less rigorously formal, since the English climate is more conductive to mixed plating. There was also a developing interest in horticulture and a new emphasis on flowers grown for their appearance rather than for culinary and medicinal use.

One of the first gardens in the grand formal style was Hampton Court Palace, later emulated by all Tudor nobility. The flower beds were laid out in a knot garden pattern and other characteristics included mazes, labyrinths, gazebos or pavilions, topiary, sundials, trellis and arbours. Vegetable gardens were usually walled and separate from the main garden. After 1660 the influence of Le Notre made itself felt briefly: grand parterres replaced simple knots and vast lakes and canals replaced gentle fountain, while broad beech-lined avenues stretched out to the horizon. Though the English could not match the Italians or French designers, not the Dutch as growers, the closely-cut lawn was one feature of English gardens which attracted international admiration.

The seventeenth century was a time for pioneers on the English gardening scene. The first gardening text books appeared, the interest in horticulture increased and a great search for new plants began. The earliest botanic gardens were opened and there was an increasing use of orangeries and conservatoires to protect tender plants. Men like London and Wise set up the first commercial nurseries and began selling plants throughout the land.

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California Auto Insurance Laws and Car Insurance Requirements

California auto insurance laws, just like those for most other states, have been put in place to ensure that all roads and highways remain safe for users. Due to the fact that California is not a no-liability state, drivers without adequate cover who then cause accidents can be liable for paying large sums of expenses to cover injury and damage. Having proper insurance protection can help mitigate such expenses.

All road vehicles with exception of trailers, off-highway vehicles and vehicles that are registered to a government entity are required to carry insurance. California auto insurance requirements stipulate that minimum liability insurance is required and that drivers must carry proof of coverage with them at all times while operating their vehicles.

California auto insurance laws stipulate a minimum coverage of $15,000 for injury or death of one person, $30,000 for death or injury of more than one person and $5,000 for property damage maximum for one accident. Drivers are required to secure coverage within 30 days after first registering a vehicle. If a driver change or cancel policies, he or she has 45 days to get replacement insurance. Drivers you fail to meet these deadlines can expect to face penalties including fines, suspension or termination of their registration and impounding of their vehicles.

In California, the auto laws also stipulate that drivers show proof of insurance at the scene of any accident, when pulled over for a traffic stop by a police officer and when they renew their registration. Under California law, all insurance companies are required to report private vehicle policies to the local state authorities. This gives the state information as to whether or not your vehicle is properly covered and the expiration date of your coverage.

California auto insurance requirements also stipulate that when drivers fail to provide proof of insurance when pulled over by a police officer, they are liable to receive a traffic ticket carrying a fine of $1,000 or more and their vehicles can be impounded. Drivers who receive a traffic ticket will need to go through the court system in order to get their violations cleared and their driving privileges reinstated.

In addition, if you fail to replace their insurance policy within 45 days of expiration or if your insurer fails to electronically notify the state of your policy within 30 days after its issuance, your registration could be suspended. An initial first offense for failure to carry proper insurance normally starts at $200.

The provisions of California auto insurance laws stipulate that drivers must be able to prove financial responsibility, meaning that they are able to cover any expenses incurred as a result of an accident. This can be done with a valid auto insurance policy. You can also prove financial responsibility by making a cash deposit of $35,000 with the DMV; or putting down a surety bond for $35,000 or a certificate of self-insurance.

Traffic safety is considered a very serious matter by the authorities in California. It is extremely important that all vehicles are properly covered to ensure the well being of all road users in the state. Negligence on this issue can result in a lot of trouble. By simply making sure your car meets all the statutory insurance laws, you will be able to drive with confidence.

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Print Your Own Book? A Look at Print on Demand

For small book sellers, authors, companies looking to cut down on back stock, or sellers who want to offer options when it comes to out of print or out of stock books, print on demand can be an excellent resource. In many ways, print on demand technology has revolutionized the way in which the publishing industry operates. If you have plans to print your own book, here are a few things to think about.Consider what happens among books sellers with traditional printing options. Most publishers have a minimum order requirement with any particular printing, which of course makes printing more cost effective. However, what happens when those books get to the sellers? They end up as back stock, taking up valuable space. And then, if they do not sell well enough in that particular market they end up as bargain books and wind up being a lost investment.With print on demand, you as an author will be able to much more effectively manage risk by printing smaller quantities of books as they are required. This is a much more beneficial arrangement especially if you’re a beginning author who must fund the cost of printing out of pocket. It allows you to get started on a reasonable budget, begin to generate book sales, and then scale up keeping pace with demand.One of the advances in technology that has made print on demand possible is the availability of compact print machines, such as the Espresso book printing machine from Lightning Source. Such machines, stationed within a book store, offer the opportunity to booksellers to print books on demand from a catalog. These machines are small enough to fit in an office and allow you to print your own book in less than two minutes and in a wide range of sizes. The machine handles everything from printing, to binding to trimming. It can even print the cover and provide you with excellent library quality paperbacks. The catalog provided by Lightning Source and the Espresso Book Machine offer instant access to hundreds of titles.From the perspective of an author, the development of POD machines is fantastic because it means that you have the potential for wide and even global distribution without having to print hundreds of thousands of copies. Frankly, this will likely change the landscape of the publishing business forever.Print on demand can be a great way to publish small quantities of your book at a time, and can even handle your needs as your book sales and distribution require that higher quantities be printed. POD providers like Lightning Source can also ship to any location and require less turnaround time than standard publishers. Print on demand can be a great way to publish your books, obtain professional quality books for your business, or simply ensure that you never run out of copies when you need them most.

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