I’m not a gardener. I find it difficult to water the only two flowerpots that sit on our doorstep. That’s why I love succulents. But I also love to visit gardens and envy all master gardeners. In almost every town I’ve lived in there are public gardens and arboretums, and garden tours during Spring. Now is the perfect time to forego indoor museums and enjoy nature’s art outside.
Two of my favorite gardens from our time living on Lago di Garda (Italy) come to mind.
Held at the grounds of Palazzo Bettoni Cazzago in Bogliaco di Gargnano, these gardens are candy for the eyes. There are breathtaking views, colors, and – above all – Amazing Garden Architecture set behind the backdrop of Italy’s biggest and (although the Como/Maggiore fans may not agree) most beautiful lake. This is one of those try-not-to-compare-to-what-you-have-back-home places. And-yes-we-did-live-10 minutes-from-here-and-please-don’t-ask-me-again-why-we-ever-left-such-a-wonderful-place.
Mediterranean climate plants are on display on multiple levels of the garden, and available for sale to the public. From the web site, it looks like the exhibitors are now selling fruit, herbs and olive oil. There are music concerts, guided visits and gardening workshops. If you find yourself in this part of Italy this month and enjoy garden touring, it’s being held the 21st and 22nd of May this year. Go!
Here I am very pregnant at Il Giardino di Delizia. Look behind Giant Tummy and you’ll see the beautiful palazzo and lake.
2. Heller (sometimes referred to Hruska) Botanical Garden
This is another favorite garden. It is located in Gardone Riviera on Lago di Garda next door to Italian writer Gabriele d’Annunzio’s Il Vittoriale villa (merits its own post). The garden features artwork with sculptures ( my newest love and the direction I want to take our own little garden) by internationally known artists such as Keith Haring. The gardens, owned by the ‘André Heller’ Foundation since 1998, was created by Arturo Hruska, who collected approximately 500 species of plants, also recreating their natural environments and microclimates. I especially loved the tropical aquatic plants decorating Japanese ponds (there is a huge variety of succulent and subtropical plants), and a forest of bamboo – something that looks out of place at the lake, but is part of the appeal for me. Unlike the first, this garden is open year round.
Have you toured a garden recently? Do tell.