Fragrant greenery is back again this Sunday as our tour of the most beautiful gardens in Italy reaches Sicily.
We return to Palermo, which we visit this time from a more idyllic perspective. Let’s go straight to the Botanical Garden, where untold numbers of rare plants from different continents allow us to tour the world without stepping outside the city!
The climate makes it all possible, as it truly is favourable all year round. The vegetation here is not just abundant: it is lush.
Can you picture plants when they have myriads of leaves, large and small, with countless shades of green? When a profusion of little buds are ready to unfurl and increase the number of green hues exponentially...? That's how it is here! ♥️
Like all other botanical gardens, this one was designed to teach others – in 1779, it was brought into being by the Royal Academy of Studies. In two and a half centuries, the plants have multiplied, but amid the 19th-century greenhouses and pools of water lilies, the atmosphere seems unchanged, timeless.
As I was saying, it’s like taking a trip around the world... Wandering around these avenues is like hopping from tropical Africa (with its Manioc plants) to India (with its soapberry trees), and on to South America (among the sugar cane and bottle trees)...
But what attracted me here was the “sensitive plant” [Mimosa pudica], which takes its name from an odd feature: if you touch the leaves, they retract so quickly that in the blink of an eye they’re completely folded up! That’s right, it’s painfully shy... In truth, this is a defence mechanism against insects or excessive wind – less exposure means fewer risks. Brilliant!
And then we have the gigantic Ficus, monumental in size. It’s been here since 1845. It is a mighty tangle, growing not only in height but also in width. The large branches run almost parallel to the ground, supported by bundles of aerial roots, like large vines anchored to the ground. Obviously, it is forbidden to climb on it – and yet the temptation is strong... But I already tried my hand at climbing last week...
So I keep my feet firmly anchored to the ground and walk under this natural pergola: a dive into greenness that never ceases to intoxicate me.