RESTORATION OF A ROMAN VILLA GARDEN IN THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE OF ELEUSIS
A study was carried out regarding the surrounding area and gardens of a Roman villa found in the archaeological site of Eleusis. The Sanctuary of Eleusis was one of the most important idolatrous centres in the ancient Greek world, where the Eleusinian mysteries were taking place. In our days, the site is of great archaeological and historical importance and is visited by more than 20000 people yearly. The restoration proposal resulted from the study of the types of Roman gardens, and from the need to attract the visitor towards the villa, which is hidden by the hilly landscape. The design was inspired by the two types of gardens, atrium and hortus, and for its realization we selected species that were used by the Romans in their gardens and do not require high maintenance. The atrium was the center of activities of a roman house and its main functional purpose was to gather rain water. It was often transformed into an ornamental garden with pots and statues which surrounded the impluvium. In our proposal the impluvium is surrounded by pots of myrtles. The xystus or hortus of the Roman villa was the area where fruiting trees and vegetables were cultivated. So in the hortus of this villa we suggest to plant one row of lemon trees (Citrus limon) and two rows of pruned boxwood (Buxus sempervirens). We chose boxwood instead of vegetables in order to keep the maintenance low. Furthermore the pruned shrubs remind the visitors that the Romans were the ones that developed in particularly the topiary in order to give formal shape to plants. In order to emphasize the passage towards the villa planting of small trees and shrubs is suggested, which are pomegranate (Punica granatum), myrtle (Myrtus communis) and oleander (Nerium oleander).
Papafotiou, M. and Kanellou, E. (2010). RESTORATION OF A ROMAN VILLA GARDEN IN THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE OF ELEUSIS. Acta Hortic. 881, 1011-1014
atrium, historical gardens, historical plants, hortus, Roman gardens, xystus