Plant suppliers for gardeners in Umbria
So much for me telling you what to plant, it is far from easy finding these varieties in our area where most ‘vivai’ seem only to have geraniums and azaleas. These are the suppliers I usually turn to, some local and others further afield.
Over 650 varieties of Tall Bearded Iris. They do mail order and have a fantastic catalogue. But why not go to the magnificent display grounds in the Niccone Valley in May and choose your favourite.
Azienda Agraria Mezzasoma Patrizia
Top quality pot plants: a huge range of well rooted geraniums and other flowers for the terrace and balcony. They also do very good vegetable seedlings. All at unbeatable prices. They have the poly tunnels by the lakeside near Sant’Arcangelo.
My search for plants that are able to adapt to the climatic conditions in Umbria and that are small specimens, grown – if possible – in square pots, has taken me to Olivier Filippi near Montpellier, France. They ship to Italy and are not too expensive, considering the quality of the plants and their rarity.
Roses I used to buy bare root from Peter Beales in Norfolk UK, but sadly with Brexit they are no longer allowed to ship to Europe. Beales have over 1,000 varieties, many of them the antique types that do well here, so their online catalogue is worth browsing for ideas.
Quando Fioriranno le Rose
David Austin has an Italian branch at Assisi where they offer a big range of Austin roses under the wonderful name of Quando Fioriranno le Rose (which derives from an ancient legend about Saint Francis and Saint Clair). They will supply bare root plants by mail order, but it is well worth a visit to see the sensational display gardens in spring and autumn.
Bulbs I buy from Peter Nyssen in Manchester, who have a huge range of high-quality bulbs at very reasonable prices, even taking account of delivery charges. Their dispatch warehouse is in the Netherlands so no problems delivering to Italy.
Vivaio Salto del Prete
If you prefer to look closer to home, then Salto del Prete at Città della Pieve has perhaps the best selection of suitable plants to be found in our area. The plants are often available as small specimens in square pots. They do online sales but it is always nicer to drop round there and see the plants ‘in person’.
Botanical Dry Garden
There is also Botanical Dry Garden vivaio near Grossetto who do online sales, but they can work out a bit expensive. They have very interesting display gardens for alternatives to box hedging and grass lawns.
Priola at Treviso has a good selection and good online sales service, very useful when you can’t find what you are looking for elsewhere.
Museo Giardino della Rosa Antica
For antique roses in Italy I would suggest you try Museo Giardino della Rosa Antica at Modena who will send plants by post. Their website contains an absolute mine of information.
S’Orrosa has an astonishing collection of classic roses south of Rome but since the untimely death of Sergio Sardù it is not clear if they continue to sell roses by mail order.
I am trialling this year for the first time Maurizio Feletig, a family run vivaio for classic roses and fruiting shrubs near Turin. They do online orders and supply bare root plants in November. So far their service has been friendly and efficient.
Bavicchi Sementi is a Perugia-based firm with a famous range of seeds and other garden paraphernalia.
The photo at the top of this page shows Vivaio Salto del Prete preparing orders for customers during the Covid lockdown (Photo Salto del Prete)
Many of these articles first appeared in the Castiglione del Lago monthly newsletter “Qua e là” edited by Priscilla Worsley
All text and photographs © Yvonne Barton unless stated otherwise