The Pomario is the oldest section of Villa La Pietra’s garden and grounds as we know them today. The Pomario is the only area that still maintains its original agricultural purpose: aromatic, juicy, sweet-flavored pears and lemons grow in pots during summer and fall, surrounded by a few bitter orange trees.

Take a look at the walls surrounding you. The columns are covered by unpolished rock stripes from the bottom to the top, interleaved by walls covered with pebbles mosaics and inlaid shells in geometrical forms, known as rocaille decoration, which was a popular technique during the 18th century in France and Italy.

At the north end of the Pomario is the Limonaia, decorated on the outside with rocaille and grapevines. The Limonaia is the indoor space used in the spring, summer, and fall for NYU’s academic, cultural, and leisure events. In winter, it houses the potted citrus plants until mid-April. Gino and Dino Morgenni, gardeners at La Pietra, recalled it took 5 to 6 men to put each enormous pot into a wooden car to move the lemons to the Limonaia. Gino and Dino, gardeners employed first by Hortense Mitchell and later by Harold Acton, picked vegetables for the house every day.

As part of NYU’s restoration of Villa La Pietra’s garden, in Spring 2021, Nick Dakin-Elliot, Horticultural Associate at NYU, started the bio-active vegetable garden to reduce the climate change impact of climate change on the produce and produce more nutritious vegetables at the Villa. Tomatoes, green onions, corn, and squash were recently planted, just as recreating the Pomario used to produce.

Return to Garden Voices home