Public Gardens Photo Tours forum: Siena and Florence, Italy, Botanical Gardens

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Name: June
Rosemont, Ont. (Zone 4a)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Native Plants and Wildflowers Cat Lover Birds Cactus and Succulents Butterflies
Dragonflies Garden Ideas: Level 1
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JuneOntario
Dec 21, 2013 11:41 AM CST
Although I spend most of the year attending to my first passion – gardening – I also love to travel, especially in Italy. I try to fit garden visits into my itinerary. I find that botanical gardens often have few visitors, and are usually tranquil places full of interesting plants.

In 2007 I was in Italy from late March to early April. Starting in Rome, I traveled by train to Orvieto, and then to Siena, and finally to Florence. I spent a few days in each city, and I sought out the botanical gardens in both Siena and Florence.

On a Saturday, I spent the morning exploring Siena. My first stop, since it opened early in the morning, was the Giardino Botanico, which is on Via Pier Andrea Mattioli, near the church of Sant’Agostino (not at the end of Via di Porta Giustizia, where the tourist map shows an Orto Botanico). The gardens are small, but charming; terraced onto a hillside and packed with plants.

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Name: June
Rosemont, Ont. (Zone 4a)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Native Plants and Wildflowers Cat Lover Birds Cactus and Succulents Butterflies
Dragonflies Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
JuneOntario
Dec 21, 2013 11:47 AM CST
So early in the season, only a very few perennials and shrubs were blooming, such as Ruta, Euphorbia, Prunus, Chaenomeles, Camelia, Erica arborea.
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Name: June
Rosemont, Ont. (Zone 4a)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Native Plants and Wildflowers Cat Lover Birds Cactus and Succulents Butterflies
Dragonflies Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
JuneOntario
Dec 21, 2013 11:49 AM CST
Under the trees, spring bulbs were flowering: white Allium, blue Muscari, and pink Cyclamen.
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Name: June
Rosemont, Ont. (Zone 4a)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Native Plants and Wildflowers Cat Lover Birds Cactus and Succulents Butterflies
Dragonflies Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
JuneOntario
Dec 21, 2013 11:56 AM CST
The gardens contained a small tropical greenhouse, and a much larger cool one housing an impressive assortment of tree-sized succulents and a caged collection of about 50 potted Lithops specimens.
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Name: June
Rosemont, Ont. (Zone 4a)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Native Plants and Wildflowers Cat Lover Birds Cactus and Succulents Butterflies
Dragonflies Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
JuneOntario
Dec 21, 2013 11:59 AM CST
At the bottom of the slope, a display area for aquatic plants was under construction.
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Name: June
Rosemont, Ont. (Zone 4a)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Native Plants and Wildflowers Cat Lover Birds Cactus and Succulents Butterflies
Dragonflies Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
JuneOntario
Dec 21, 2013 12:03 PM CST
Now we’re in Florence. After visiting the Natural History and Mineralogy Museums (the latter a real “gem” with some breathtakingly beautiful crystal specimens), I made my way up the street and around the corner to the Botanical Garden. Entry was through a building, and a notice invited me to ring the bell and open the door, after which I was required to put all my bags into a locker and pay admission. Clutching only my camera, I was allowed into the actual garden. Unlike the Botanical Garden in Siena, the one in Florence was laid out all on one level, and showed signs of neglect. Weeds and lawn grass had invaded the plantings. Of a row of greenhouses, only one was open for viewing. In it I found carnivorous plants, mostly Drosera (sundew) species, but some pots seemed to contain only moss and algae.
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Name: June
Rosemont, Ont. (Zone 4a)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Native Plants and Wildflowers Cat Lover Birds Cactus and Succulents Butterflies
Dragonflies Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
JuneOntario
Dec 21, 2013 12:10 PM CST
The floral highlights of the garden were a massed display of pink-and-white potted Azalea bushes on the central walkway, and a row of herbaceous peonies blooming next to the weed-infested rock garden.
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I hope that the Florence botanical garden has improved since 2007, and that visitors taking the trouble to find it are now better rewarded.
central Illinois
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Plant Database Moderator Garden Ideas: Level 2 Photo Contest Winner: 2014
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jmorth
Dec 21, 2013 2:25 PM CST
Thanks for the views.
I bet that Mineralogy Museum was something else.
Nothing that's been done can ever be changed.
Name: June
Rosemont, Ont. (Zone 4a)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Native Plants and Wildflowers Cat Lover Birds Cactus and Succulents Butterflies
Dragonflies Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
JuneOntario
Dec 21, 2013 2:41 PM CST
The Science Museums are part of the University of Florence. I took a few wrong turns before I eventually found the courtyard that gave access to the Museums. One ticket gave access to both the Museum of Geology & Paleontology and the neighbouring Museum of Mineralogy & Lithology. In the former, I viewed fossils collected by Florentine naturalists over the centuries. There were some fine botanical specimens, all labeled, although I don’t know how the botanists could determine the species from just one petrified frond or leaflet. Large skeletons of mammoths, and other oversized, extinct animals, dominated the museum. A computer screen digitally simulated the transformations undergone by the landscape around Florence over the geological ages.

Across the courtyard, I followed signs to Mineralogy & Lithology. This Museum contains several curious meteorites, and a small number of exquisitely crafted worked-stone artifacts, but in the main consists of a comprehensive collection of mineral specimens. Many of them are extraordinarily beautiful, and among the lovelies are some of the largest crystals I have ever seen. What the museum calls the “oversized specimens” are a 380-kg amethyst quartz geode, a 135-kg smoky quartz, twin crystals of aquamarine beryl weighing 82 kg, a 151-kg topaz crystal, a 180-kg morion quartz with single crystals more than one meter long, and a tourmaline crystal weighing 150 kg.

Most visitors to Florence don't even know these Museums exist!

central Illinois
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Plant Database Moderator Garden Ideas: Level 2 Photo Contest Winner: 2014
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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jmorth
Dec 21, 2013 2:55 PM CST
Very cool. I'm a rock and gem collector myself.
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Nothing that's been done can ever be changed.
Name: June
Rosemont, Ont. (Zone 4a)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Native Plants and Wildflowers Cat Lover Birds Cactus and Succulents Butterflies
Dragonflies Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
JuneOntario
Dec 21, 2013 3:33 PM CST
Very nice collection, jmorth! I just have a few curious pebbles, the odd crystal, and a fossil or two, that I picked up on my travels.
central Illinois
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Plant Database Moderator Garden Ideas: Level 2 Photo Contest Winner: 2014
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Image
jmorth
Dec 21, 2013 3:42 PM CST
Thanks. I've been at it for 40 years...besides the viewables, I've a basement and a garage full plus those larger pieces that form a border for the garden and a pile of 'leverite' (should have left them there).outside.
Nothing that's been done can ever be changed.
Name: June
Rosemont, Ont. (Zone 4a)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Native Plants and Wildflowers Cat Lover Birds Cactus and Succulents Butterflies
Dragonflies Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
JuneOntario
Dec 21, 2013 4:11 PM CST
It sounds as if you have your own private Museum of Mineralogy! I tip my hat to you.

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