THE USE OF LABIATAE OF ORNAMENTAL INTEREST IN THE DESIGN OF PARKS AND GARDENS
The family Labiatae includes numerous genera, species and cultivars of great ornamental interest, extensively used in the planning of parks and gardens and lately also in the planning of urban green areas. The use of lavender plants holds a great interest in the English tradition together with other ornamental plants for the creation of mixed flower borders. The famous English landscapist Getrude Jekyll used lavender extensively in her mixed borders. In recent times lavender has found an increasing use also in the planning of public green areas. A few years ago a possible alternative to Lavender was represented by Perovskia atriplicifolia, having a coloration of inflorescences in part similar to Lavender, but with an overall less pleasant aspect. Another Labiatae of great ornamental value is Stachys lanata for the extraordinary grey coloration of its foliage. Stachys has found a broad use in the planning of English monochromatic gardens. Another very interesting Labiatae for the nice marble grey coloration of the foliage is Lamiastrum galeobdolon. It is a ground cover species adapted to shady sites, such as under trees, that has been more and more used in recent years in green planning. The genus Salvia comprises a great number of species and cultivars of a great ornamental value. Concerning the species Salvia officinalis, it includes various cultivars characterised by very decorative foliage colours: in the yellow tints (cv. Jecterina), in the white-violet-green (cv. tricolor) and in the green-purple (cv. Purpurescens). Still the most famous and used Sage by far in parks and gardens is Salvia splendens with lively deep red colorations of the flower ears. In Liguria (Italy), the most famous example for the use of Sages in green planning is represented by the Hanbury Gardens in Ventimiglia. Among the Labiatae of ornamental interest for the lively coloured foliage we can remember Coleus blumei that has found an interesting use both as a potted plant, and above all for urban green designing. In conclusion, it is possible to assert that the family of the Labiatae offers a broad number of species and cultivars that are very useful and appreciated in the planning of parks and gardens and, in recent years, above all for the planning of urban green areas characterised by serious pollution problems and reduced maintenance possibilities.
Devecchi, M. (2006). THE USE OF LABIATAE OF ORNAMENTAL INTEREST IN THE DESIGN OF PARKS AND GARDENS. Acta Hortic. 723, 51-58
ornamental Labiatae, parks and gardens, urban green areas, design, ground cover plant.