Il Orto Botanico dell’Università di Genova

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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.

  

Pittosporum.

  

Not sure.

  

Wisteria.

  
  

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. 

Purge, Edit, and Delete

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Right now I should be outside moving more of the unit of rich, warm, and lovely compost mulch I ordered, but instead, I’m indoors recovering from moving a lot of it on Wednesday. Cars can technically move around it so I am not terribly ashamed I’m hogging a parking spot in the street.

It’s been a few months since I’ve taken on such physical work in the garden. It didn’t take long before it was clear why.

Luckily, I had some anabolic steroids to take for my uncommon swelling issues. They’ve helped.

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Working so hard on Wednesday made me realize why the garden has gotten so wild. It’s been a frustrating time for me because I love plants, I really love to garden, and yet I just don’t do it.

Just working out there briefly led to a whole long list of physical issues. I won’t go into detail, but let’s just say that by the end of the day, various parts of my body were swollen, covered in rashes, and were peeling where the skin had dried out. I had no idea how much damage gloves could do to my knuckles. I’d never seen such an epic purple rash all the way across my abdomen. That’s when you know you look swollen.

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Unknown rose. We’d thought it was a ‘Dublin Bay’ but now I’m not so sure.

The garden looks like it does because I’m afraid of the pain. After a day of it, I remember that now. I guess when I was at my worst, it didn’t hurt as much looking at the spectrum of what I was experiencing but now that I’m living nearly pain free, I see things differently.

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The asparagus that we didn’t eat and overgrown chard. Can’t wait to get to this area this weekend.

My husband has committed to helping me more but he’s not a gardener and he has very little experience with the tasks so I will need more patience. I also need to continue to purge, edit, and delete.

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The potting area where I have no room to pot anything up right now.

These parts of the garden have been shown off before and I am doing it again. Even in their overgrown state, I see them as beautiful.

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Some of the seeds I’ve been able to plant this year. I cannot believe how much junk I’ve crammed into this space. Must. Clean. Up.

All of these little corners and spots are safe and fun to me. I’m still really enjoying seeing the garden as it reemerges. Everything I’m doing now is easing the anxiety of the pain gardening can cause, but it’s still really difficult to accept. I’ve become old before my time and I don’t like it. Now I need to find the balance between all of the things I want to have in my life. I also need to embrace and care carefully for my health concerns.

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Working to convert this area into a gravel path and seating area under the tree. Little by little. We’re getting there.

The garden has plans and I am 100% committed to holding a few fundraiser dinners out back in the garden this summer. It’s all a lot of work but it’s how I’ve always wanted to use the back garden.

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The walkway I wish people would use to enter the garden by walking along the north side of the house.

Ripping plants out is the most difficult thing for me. I should practice doing so more carefully. I’d wanted to divide and sell more of it but I just don’t have the energy to do it all. Potting things up really hurts my wrists and fingers too. My fingers were so stiff yesterday with such swollen joints. Luckily the caregiving client I spent time with is incredibly understanding.

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This Rhododendron falconer is one of my favorite plants.

The garden is helping me again, but this time it’s therapeutic in a different way. As I transition once again—to building a life where I’m able to use my mind more again for work and my body less—I hope that I can continue to build the garden into the refuge I need for it to be.

Oh how I want to work from home again but first I must purge, edit, and delete.