Places of interestWednesday 19 October 2016

Libereso Gugliemi, the famous gardener who loved to cook using fresh flowers and wild herbs

Libereso Guglielmi was an internationally acclaimed botanist, gardener, naturalist, writer, sketcher, author of numerous articles and essays on nature and plants who recently died in Sanremo at age 91.

Libereso Gugliemi, the famous gardener who loved to cook using fresh flowers and wild herbs

Libereso Guglielmi was an internationally acclaimed botanist, gardener, naturalist, writer, sketcher, author of numerous articles and essays on nature and plants who recently died in Sanremo at age 91.

Born in Bordighera in 1925, he was known by all as Libereso - name chosen by his Tolstoyan anarchist father and student of Esperanto - which means "freedom."

When he was 15 years old, thanks to a scholarship, he worked for Professor Mario Calvino at Sanremo’s Experimental Station of Floriculture, where he met Italo Calvino – the world-renowned  Italian journalist and writer of short stories and novels - with whom he became great friend and lived together for ten years.

After managing a large floricolture company in the South of Italy, he moved to England where he became head gardener of the Myddleton House Botanical Garden and researcher at the University of London. Married with two children, he returned to Italy, where he restored 40 hectares of park in Villa Gernetto in Lesmo. He toured many European and Asian countries and Indonesia.

Libereso Guglielmi edited several publications and wrote on the most important Italian and foreign magazines dedicated to flowers and gardening. While retired, he continued to travel and lecture explaining the value of herbs, conveying his love for plants coupled with his extraordinary knowledge of botany and floriculture.

Third generation vegetarian and promoter of vegetarian and healthy balanced diets, Libereso Gugliemi also wrote many recipes - all vegetarian, based on the use of flowers, herbs, and seasonal and local produce. His unique recipe books also contain his own illustrations and drawings, showing his instinctive style which began as a child during his botanical studies and perfected later on with painter Antonio Rubino.

 

Deborah Bellotti

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