Gardens Near and Far episode 31 – Hanbury : Out on cape Mortola – between Menton and Ventimiglia – the Hanbury garden will mesmerize you with its beautiful landscapes. This classified site protects the Italian coast on about 6 kilometers. The splendor of nineteenth century botanical gardens combines harmoniously with exotic species imported from the world over.
In the middle of the nineteenth century, the Brit Thomas Hanbury and his brother Daniel – coming from a family of botanists – buy the estate. They were raised by devout Quakers who taught them a deep sense of respect and love for Mother Nature through botanical sciences. Thomas Hanbury acclimatized and collected plants from the whole world. He enlarged the villa and the estate became his main residence. Between the top of the garden and the sea, there is close to a 100 meters drop – which makes for a spectacular view.
Landscape architect Jean-Philippe Teyssier takes us on a discovery of the most beautiful gardens in France and the world. The gardeners, landscapers, horticulturalists, architects, historians and estate managers he meets unveil the art of gardening. They show us how gardens have been designed, planted and maintained over the centuries. The exceptional gardens Jean-Philippe Teyssier visits make up a myriad of passions, journeys, colors and shapes.
Gardens Near and Far episode 31 – Hanbury
The gardens were established by Sir Thomas Hanbury on a small, steep peninsula jutting southwards from an altitude of 103 meters down into the Mediterranean Sea. He purchased the extant Palazzo Orengo property in 1867, and over decades created the garden with the aid of pharmacologist Daniel Hanbury (his brother), the botanist and landscape designer Ludwig Winter, and scientists including Gustav Cronemayer, Kurt Dinter, and Alwin Berger.
In 1912 the Hortus Mortolensis, the catalogue of the garden, contained 5800 species, although the garden itself had more. Hanbury died in 1907, but energetic plantings and improvements resumed after World War I under the direction of his daughter-in-law Lady Dorothy Hanbury.
The gardens were severely damaged in World War II, when they became a no-man’s land and in 1960 Lady Hanbury sold them to the State of Italy. Initially its care was entrusted to the International Institute of Ligurian Studies but when they withdrew for lack of adequate funds in 1983 responsibility was passed to the University of Genoa. Restoration has been gradually proceeding since 1987 and it was declared a nature preserve in 2000.
On 1 June 2006 the Ministero dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali submitted a proposal for the inclusion of the gardens on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. In 2007 and 2011 Villa Hanbury was included in the list of the 10 most beautiful gardens in Italy.