Well I was back there last Saturday morning. A different clerk was at the desk. I asked if I could see the garden, and he answered "Of course, I will call the guide".
The only people in the garden were the guide and the gardener, and both were most helpful, answering questions (as far as we could manage since my Italian and their English were at similar, rather low levels).
I took this opportunity to ask them about the dates on the clay pots I had seen at the Giardino dei simplici. The answer is that, yes, these dates, from the 1850s and 60s correspond to the dates these pots were made! The gardener at the Archeological Museum pointed out to me some of their own old pots with markings. They do not have dates, but they have the maker's name.
Interestingly enough, the told me their oldest containers were recycled objects, a kind of clay roofing tile. He showed me a neighboring roof at the top of which was one of these, but I could not figure out what it was for. They make good plant pots (the manufacturer's name is indicated...however, what is the bottom part in the garden now, is the top part on a roof, so the writing seems upside down when you use the object in question as a planter).
These days, the gardener is mostly worried about the fact that the weather is so mild. Past mild winters have brought on problems for olive trees, and one recent mild winter all the boxwood was defoliated. Their irises that bloom at the end of February were out (the yellow ones below, the blue ones were from an other garden, but both pictures were taken the same day). Roses were still sporting quite a few blooms.
Of course something like this would never be done nowadays. Now they cannot move the tombs back where they came from, so they are stuck with a garden full of rare artifacts that have lost much of their significance because they have been dismantled when they should never have been moved. This is no doubt why you can find a lot of information on the museum, but very little on its very attractive garden.
|Prehistoric container in front of the remains of an Etruscan tomb|
|These big stones are prehistoric funerary urns|
|Clay pots are spending the winter in cold frames and lemon trees are in the greenhouse|
|The gardener pruning his standard roses around 2,200 year old amphora|