VERONA, ITALY: GIARDINO GIUSTI (PART TWO)

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A few weeks ago I introduced the Giardino Giusti and began to describe our visit there. It’s been just a few months since we left Italy, but it feels like ages right now. As I said before, the garden is simply incredible and the plants found there are all part of what I’d consider the traditional Italian garden. Maybe the photo collage is too small, but above on the far left you’ll see Acanthus mollis, some jasmine, and a hellebore with an Italian terra-cotta planter on a classical Roman-style pedestal. In the middle image you’ll notice the Italian cypresses flanking the perfectly painted Italian building. These trees are used to the extreme in this garden, oh, and that last pic on the far right, the boxwood! Oh, the boxwood! There’s architectural remnants too—but course.

Up the stairs in the lower garden there is an orangerie, although I cannot remember what to call it in Italian. Beyond it there’s an area dedicated to Brugmansia, but they were only just beginning to grow again after having been planted out. (I assume they’re protected over the winter.) Above this area, you can see a lovely structure which you’re able to walk up to in order the sit and enjoy the view below of the garden and town itself.

The flowers in this area were mostly Iris. The many citrus plants were blooming and the scent of their blooms was intoxicating. Along a wall, for the second time during an Italian vacation, I saw caper plants growing.

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Looking back towards the entrance to the garden, I noted this row of statuary lined up above a roof’s edge. My husband recognized the style of dress and the symbols each held and they essentially represent the classes. There’s nobility, military, clergy, and a peasant.  What’s missing is the piece that was up above the other 4. If I had to guess, it may have been religious, but I’m not certain. (My guess at the 4 statues representing the classes is a guess as well, but it’s and educated one.)

Protected in this area is the lovely Citron fruit. These lovely structures are so simple. The fruits were so happy and snug growing against their wall.

Sadly I cannot remember right now what this area had been, but I do remember the little pockets in the walls.

Before heading up the lovely path I had a lesson in Italian. I made the mistake of goofily pronouncing belvedere as we would in English, as I had learned as a kid from watching Mr. Belvedere. My husband lost it. When he lost it, I lost it cracking up at him. Then I had to laugh at how to correctly pronounce the word in Italian—bell-va-dare-aye. I felt so stylish. Of course this led to me talking about Signore Bell-va-dare-aye! It doesn’t take much for me to have fun, now does it? Turns out that to my husband “Belvedere” is somehow sacred. Yes, it means “viewpoint” if you hadn’t figured that out already.

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I guess when you have a view like this, you might want to take it seriously.

Next post, you’ll be seeing a bit more of it.

 

Back in Valdobbiadene and Veneto

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Just about a month ago we were still in Italy and were returning to Valdobbiadene to visit family and friends. Oh how I miss Veneto!

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Valdobbiadene is the town to the far left.

The drive was scenic (as usual) and I was thrilled to have a brand-new FIAT Abarth to drive. Whoa! Those things go fast and I certainly made sure that ours worked properly. We arrived on market day and I was happy to see plant venders and flowers. By this point I was beginning to miss my garden, plants, and cats a lot. IMG_1086
Happily, there was another van vending the most incredible handmade pasta. The hole there in the middle with an egg is where the trofie pasta was before my husband bought it all. You can see the stray ones scattered around. Despite what you might believe, not all of Italy is full of well-dressed beautiful women. Here at the market I found my typical work clothing, and again, I felt a bit more at home. Moving along we saw more flowers, and of course, they were colorful. There were seeds, herb plants, a man in a Nike sweatshirt (which made me miss home), and of course there were many other vendors, but I didn’t want to go on and on. Around the corner from the market I found this lovely garden. Like many smaller Italian gardens, it was in a charming state of disarray.

The ever-present Asparagus fern and succulent combo.

On our way to eat lunch with John’s cousin, I stopped so that I could take a photo of this house and windowsill. Right after that I saw this great back garden with its great outdoor oven. It too was colorful, and I loved the palm and mismatched tulips fluttering here and there. Lunch was wonderful and did I mention that Italy is colorful? I think John’s cousin thought I was a bit odd taking a photo of her tabletop but I think you might see why I did it, right? Look at those adorable chickens—and that red! Oh how I love red!
The red Dianthus, with the orange curtains, and the orange drain pipe. Ahhhhh, once again, color.  There are olive trees and palms everywhere. It’s kind of a Mediterranean thing. But that lion up on its pedestal, isn’t he adorable?We stayed in the same apartment we stayed in 2 years ago. Owned by a family friend, I love the view looking out at the vines. IMG_1127We also ate at the same restaurant as we did during our last trip. Pizzeria Caravaggio is fantastic and I really enjoyed eating there again. This time I ordered a pizza though, and was thrilled that they served it the way I like to eat pizza at home. I love nothing more than a cheese pizza covered in arugula. IMG_1131.jpgThe next morning we awoke to a sunny day and again I relished the view from the veranda as I drank my morning cup of coffee. This is the day we drove to Verona, and here I am putting on my game face. Not to go on and on with another back story, but I’ve been hearing about driving fast on the autostrada since I was a kid and whenever I’m in Italy I like to drive fast. This car helped me to fulfill the need for speed and as far as we know I still haven’t received a speeding ticket in the mail like I did last time.

With this kind of success, I think that next time I will wear driving gloves. I’ve earned them.

And next time we’ll talk about the amazing garden, or maybe it will be the post after that…

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Not sure what this adorable little window box plant is but I admired it at our host’s house.

Valdobbiadene and Villa Barbaro

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During the last week we took two trips to Valdobbiadene and San Vito di Valdobbiadene to see family and family friends. It’s the hometown of my mother-in-law and where my husband would spend time each summer for 3 months as a boy.  This post is from our first trip there, a day trip.

Sitting at the base of the foothills of the Dolomites this is an incredibly beautiful area.

 

Can you find the Italian word for smoothie?

 

Posters showing local college graduates.

After a brief visit to make plans to return in a few days we headed over towards Maser and Villa Barbaro. We’d failed to visit this Palladian villa during our last visit and I’d really wanted to see its nymphaeum. Sadly, I couldn’t take photos of it, but I took exterior images. (You can look up the interior online. It’s really quite impressive considering its age.)

The chapel was built later and is the last building designed by Palladio.

Not sure if this is a maple used as hedging, but it looked like it to me.

The courtyard where we entered had lovely wisteria in bloom.

Workers were tending to the grass.

A single potted plant graced the covered walkway to the main entrance. Since this is a working vineyard, a grape vine makes sense.

A working cat.

After our visit we drove down the road a few kilometers to the hilltop town of Asolo.

Wild snapdragon or bocca di leone.

  The views there truly were quite incredible. 

This hotel (we think) had a patio full of potted Agave.

The King of his Castle watched me as I took photos through a fence. This guy clearly is in charge on this small street.

We returned to Vencie, took a nice slow walk back to the apartment, and then I tended to the needs of this poor sage plant. Left for us by our hosts, the last thing I want to do is kill it.

Merry Christmas

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Hope you had a lovely holiday full of laughter and love. We filled the house with food and friends and feasted on The Feast of Seven Fishes. I’m ashamed I didn’t take more photos, but I can assure you I was busy for several hours and nothing was left on a single plate. It was delicious.
These are a few of our handmade spinach ravioli with Dungeness crab filling. This was a huge win for us because we’d never made them.
After the guests had departed I received my presents. The first was the book above. We’re planning a trip to Italy in 2014 so I need to get my green hat on again soon. This book will help me. I’ve never been, and John is taking me to see places from his childhood. He wanted to take me to Sicily too, but I’d rather see friends, so we’re thinking about alternatives. I’m excited, but traveling is always hard on my body so I have a lot of planning and special physical therapy exercises in store for me.

My second gift was this pearl necklace. No one has ever given me anything like this before and it means a lot to me. I can only afford the basics within my budget so this is a true gift. I feel a bit grown up wearing it. Last night I wanted to fall asleep with it on. I felt like a little girl playing dress up and that made me happy for some funny reason.

I’m pretty sure I’m not allowed to garden with it on, but the thought did cross my mind.
I am getting John a kitten. This is crazy since we already have 3 cats, but it is what he wants. (More on that new arrival soon. We are being very careful with our choice.)
So, the future looks bright and my garden is waking up and I’m looking forward to revising it in the coming months. There will be more shared meals and laughter in this house. I hope to meet new people and have more creative energy and ideas. Best of all, I want to continue to help people and share my thoughts about what I’ve learned through managing my own chronic illness. I’ve built up more and more strength and I am ready now. It was rough to revisit where I was in my life but I’m truly supported and encouraged now by those around me.
The only immediate issue I currently have is about continuing my education. Part of me wants to study again, but I will need more strength and endurance. What to study? Horticulture, garden design, writing? I don’t know, but I’m open to developing my potential again. I want to dig in, get involved, and become more of the professional I know I am.
With that, I must bid you all adieu!
Merry Christmas!
(More from the garden soon!)