Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Italy Gardens - The Amalfi coast

The next leg of our trip took us south through Naples to the Amalfi coast. This is what we would consider the ‘banana belt’ of Italy. The climate here is a lot warmer than the northern part of the country. We also saw larger growing operations. There were lots of these large greenhouses and I was told that they are used to grow flowers and vegetables for the garden centers and stores in the city.
Our first stop was Sorrento which was surrounded by citrus. You can tell this is a major product down here because everything was tied to the citrus. We found citrus based items on the menu, and even in the local liquor, Lemoncello. In Sorrento we even found a garden in the center of the city that had grafted lemon and orange trees together. There was so much citrus that the trees in the street were dropping ripe fruit.

We also found a full seed rack at a small store in town. Check out the selection of seeds they were offering in early November...

We traveled further down the coast and stopped in Positano. These small towns are crowded against the sides of the steep cliffs and so they make use of every space. Check out these gardens squeezed into small spaces on the hill. Also, because of the warm temperatures they can grow plants that we would consider annuals.

This bougainvillea was climbing all over the side of a hotel. We even saw it on bare cliffs in the middle of nowhere.

Finally we made it to Amalfi. Here we were greeted by this tremendous specimen of a Norfolk Island Pine. Very impressive.

I will leave you with our last shot of this tour. I think these locally grown peppers say it all. Gardeners around the world still have a sense of humor!

The final thought I have for you. If you are traveling, take time to look at the plants and how people enjoy them. I found that the love of plants has no boundaries. I also realized that we live in a rare part of the world. We can grow just about anything in the Northwest and that is what makes it special!

Jeff Gustin
Garden Time Producer

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