Probably the last article about Galeazza Garden…
La Stampa – Friday 24 August 2012 – page 23
A Green Paradise: Ten years ago the garden was reborn around a circle of water, and it grew into many concentric ripples of vegetation.
The Move: The plants that weren’t crushed by the rubble will find a new site in nearby Mantova.
In Memory of a Broken Garden
Clark Lawrence is forced by the earthquake to abandon Galeazza di Crevalcore
By Paolo Pejrone
White rabbits, according to an antique legend of Romagna (The writer Carlo Flamigni tells us in his “Yellow Egg” published by Sellerio) change color before an earthquake. At the Castle of Galeazza on the 20th of May the only thing white was a big cat, who wasn’t able to save himself, and died under the ruins. His owner, Clark Lawrence, after three months, has begun to move to a new location. And he’ll be taking with him seven dwarf goats and all he can save from “his” garden, which, after the earthquake, can no longer be cared for or cultivated: the plants, at least those that aren’t buried under the rubble, will be moved to a new location near Mantova.
Clark, American from Maine, went years ago to live in the great Castle of Galeazza of Crevalcore, located between Modena, Ferrara, and Bologna, and turned it into a famous and very “talked about” place, especially for its garden of special plants. It was all done with great fatigue, effort, and intelligence, restoring first the parts that were most in need of help: Clark made it a living and breathing sign of his love for his adopted land, transforming it into one of the many warmly adored (and by us often neglected) jewels of our beloved Italy. His association “Reading Retreats in Rural Italy” became, both for its originality and quality, one of the most popular places for creating, exhibiting, performing and discussing the arts and the stimulating world that surrounds them.
When Clark arrived here the garden, almost ten acres, was a thick jungle of briars, brush and elders, and it was only thanks to his stubborn will and his free and intelligent use of chainsaw, axe, and pruners that it became a large cultivated lawn of botanical rarities from around the world. Seven little goats, a handful of Japanese Totenko fowl, and the big white cat, Malvolio, were his full-time companions; two pianos, and many books and paintings remind us of the once lively and appreciated activities of this popular place.
A noteworthy castle, antique and proud, and able to stand up with success to the appetites of late medieval invaders who appreciated its strategic position in the fertile plains of Emilia. A strong castle, especially the famous and invincible tower, crowned by parapets of merlons; Galeazza, named after its heroic constructor, Galeazzo Pepoli. Now the tower has been beheaded and has crumbled to half its original height.
Incredible how a place, after centuries, managed to find (in less than ten years) a new reason for living, and then, in just a few seconds, it became a ruined memory: a hard, cruel mockery of the castle and its new garden, made of lightness, irony, and refined taste. Reborn almost by accident around a circular pool of water that became the fulcrum of that new world, lively and innovative.
The Garden of Galeazza was welcoming, linear, embracing; born with a simple design, repeated over and over again, little waves of vegetation. Clark has been through and continues to live through very difficult times, made up of privation and of disadvantages, but with courage and serenity he is trying to understand what future might be possible for him and most importantly his garden.
Difficult, and often without answers, is the confrontation with reality of the towns and areas damaged; with their victims, the large and small industries destroyed, the emptied barns, the famous monuments crumbling and falling. How should one behave, and what should one do in the face of a tragic end to such an historic monument and its garden? Isn’t this pile of bricks in Crevalcore, in the end, just another useless castle and its garden only a garden: a group of green areas in which only plants grow?
With a 10 euro contribution, people may become members of the association and help
Clark Lawrence face the costs of moving to a new location. www.galeazza.com
In ruins: The photos above illustrate the disasterous effects of the earthquake on the castle and its garden, located in Galeazza, Crevalcore, in the province of Bologna.