Il Orto Botanico dell’Università di Genova


Today we ventured out to find a garden—and although what we thought would be a 14 minute walk turned into a hilltop adventure, well, we’re in Italy, so it was all fine. 

Established in 1803, the collection is not as historic or as grand at the one in Padova, but it’s a bucolic place, not well cared after, and overall, still a lot of fun. Since this university is also the owner of a large botanical garden at an estate along the Italian Riviera I will cut them plenty of slack. I cannot imagine the expense of maintaining both this property as well as the other. It alone is 44 acres so kudos to them. 

Along our walk there was much to see.


“Love greetings”


Random Graptopetalum growing out of a wall.


Several levels of gardens. A common sight in many areas in Italy.


Fig tree growing out of a wall. Just random fruit.


Strelitzia (bird of paradise) grow well here.


Citrus aurantium ssp. Aurantium var. Myrtifolia (bitter orange).



Colletia spinosa.


Street trees—literally.


Tecomaria capensis (cape honeysuckle).


Dahlia imperialis (tree dahlia).


Unknown little yuccas.


Fremontodendron californium a long way from home.


Iris japonica.


Pinus nigra.




Not sure.




White rose with Colletia cruciata.


Amorphophallus ‘Konjac’.


Arbutus andrachne (Greek strawberry tree).


Unknown Rhododendron.


Unknown Magnolia.


My favorite bulb: Leopoldia comosa aka Muscari comosum.


Magnolia tulipiflora.


Araucaria bidwillii (Bunya pine).


Weedy Oxalis.


Where they catalog and keep their plants. Many here are historically medicinal ones.


Tamarix gallica (French tamarix) with a bad haircut.


Vitis vinifera with a little green lizard. Can you see it?


Cercis siliquastrum (Judad tree).


Cycas revoluta (female).


Scilla peruviana.


Myrtus communis subsp. Tarentina.


Myrtus communis subsp. Tarentina.


Water plant collection.


And then we wandered back downhill to our apartment, encountering this lovely grotto in the courtyard of a palazzo along our way. 

Houseplant Season and a Few Fried Slugs

Oxalis triangularis.
It’s houseplant season and recently I’ve been busy. I hope to clean up a few neglected plants on Sunday.
Working over 40 hours a week with two part-time jobs is challenging physically but it’s rewarding otherwise.
I’m happy right now and it feels different. I’m adjusting. I’m changing.
I wish I could say more about my caretaking job with the elderly—and the amazing people I continue to meet—but I’m sworn to secrecy due to privacy.
It is safe to say that I’ve met a few green thumbs during the last few weeks. Many are physically too delicate to garden now so I tell them about gardens instead and they tell me about the gardens they’ve known. It is a wonderful way to interact with people whom you don’t know well. One woman used to be involved in an ikebana group. We were fast friends.
We tend to talk about the weather a lot and animals. I’ve heard many great stories. It will be good for me to continue the work—at least for now.
There are two elderly cats here at home. It is not their favorite season. Luckily I’m earning more money now so I can purchase special items for them. Hopefully they’ll be watching me sow some seeds soon.
I keep talking about it. I keep threatening to do it. Working is more important for now. Learning two new jobs is challenging. I at least am very confident about how to germinate seeds. That’s reassuring and it feels good to be confident about something.
Last weekend we went to my parents’ house again out by the coast. It felt like a work weekend because we were both writing NaNoWriMo novels.
This week I stopped writing mine temporarily due to swelling and hand pain. My story is writing itself and I’ve stepped back to better control the time I put into it. Something snapped and clicked inside of me while I was at the beach last weekend. Suddenly I saw how I write. I’ve never enjoyed writing fiction much but it’s clicked with me.
My book has a lot of plants and gardening in it. So I’m kind of writing about plants right now. It’s just not so obvious to anyone here visiting the blog.
John and I really like visiting my parents’ house near Astoria. He enjoys cooking and the stillness while I tend to wander in the woods. This last trip I was working too hard though. I’m looking forward to having more fun next time.
For a break we drove over to Astoria and went out to lunch and then walked the streets of our other favorite town in Oregon.
I should have taken pictures of our meal but we ate it all too quickly. Looks like I have a good reason to go back now, don’t you agree?
John has a relative with a boat moored in the Astoria so we walked over to look at it. There were old Victorians for sale as well and a few of those caught our eye.
But it is houseplant season and I’m back in Portland now. It’s been a long week and in addition to caregiving I’ve been writing a lot of content for a cooking blog. I’m still in awe of the fact that I’m being paid to write quality content for someone else as a ghost blogger. I really like the woman I’m working for and cooking is so fulfilling for me.
I’m still struggling with food photography and am setting up a home studio here for it but I will write more on that later. What’s great is that I can also let some of that food spill over onto this blog too.
Tomorrow I’m off to the Portland Farmers Market to get a wide selection of wild mushrooms. Expect some recipes soon…
In the meantime, enjoy this really interesting blog post from a few years back. The next time I hear someone proselytizing on local foods and how they have a lower impact on the environment I’ll through this mushy little monkey wrench at them: Feral Food: How to Eat Slugs.
I’m such a little stinker sometimes.