Thursday, December 25, 2008

Italy Gardens – Assisi

Assisi is one of those hill towns that we have been talking about. It is known as the home of St. Francis and St. Clare. St. Francis is the patron saint of the environment and St. Clare became the patron saint of TV, a perfect combination for a visit from a garden show! St. Francis has lots of ties to gardens and gardening.

One of the most interesting garden sites is the rose garden in the lower part of Assisi (seen on the right) where it is said that St. Francis threw himself when he was tempted. The roses, recognizing who he was, dropped their thorns so he would not be hurt. According to legend, they remain thornless to this day. You can even buy a leaf from one of these rose bushes in the gift shop.

On the grounds in front of his basilica you will find this topiary of the word ‘Pax’ which means ‘peace’ and the greek Tau symbol, the symbol he choose to represent his redemption.

A walk through the upper town took us by one of the most interesting uses of containers we have ever seen (on the right). In the corner of a Franciscan office building we saw a climbing variegated ivy and an assortment of terra cotta pots containing cyclamens, geraniums, and petunias. Very beautiful!

A couple of blocks away we saw this large oleander outside of a clothing store (on the left). Look at the base. It shows you how you can grow a large plant in a small space.

As with the rest of Italy, we found a lot of people with containers on their decks, patios and balconies. The one on the right contains oleander and citrus in containers and further down the street there was this established garden (pictured left) at the top of the ancient brick city wall.

The view from Assisi shows the large groves of olives that you see in this region. This area is loaded with farms and as you can see, they make use of all the land.

Next stop a special winery tour…

Jeff Gustin
Garden Time Producer