Friday, September 29, 2006

SUMMER HOLIDAYS, day 09: ... the flowers and the trees

tuesday, 22 august. another lovely day, and thanks to alex' parents, also not a very expensive one: being guides at the botanical garden, they get us in for free!

the gardens of trauttmansdorff castle are relatively new. in fact, they celebrate their fifth anniversary this year. the whole world in one garden, plants from asia, the americas, various deserts, africa, all over europe, as well as local plants are gathered together in a beautifully situated, terraced 12-hectare enclosure surrounding trauttmansdorff castle.

it's a gorgeous day, very warm and sunny, perfect for a good, long look around the gardens.

we start in the forests of the world section of the gardens. one of the highlights is a plant called wollemia nobilis. a little over 10 years ago, this tree was discovered in new south wales, australia, after having been presumed long extinct. the oldest known fossil is about 90 million years old, which makes the wollemia one of the world's oldest trees.

the special exhibition about ginkgo trees is quite interesting, it even includes poetry, eg a poem by johann wolfgang goethe.

we make our way up the serpentines to one of the viewing platforms, stopping at some olive wood sculptures by gianfranco timossi - they are his take on dante's divina commedia (inferno, purgatory, paradise). olive wood is so beautiful, and the artist certainly did a wonderful job, as if what he wanted to express, what we wanted to show, had been there all along, merely asking him to make it more obvious, to lay it open.

the view from the platform is stunning. and the parrots in the background provide an unusual soundtrack.

we enjoy the sun gardens, with plants of the mediterranean including italy's northernmost olive grove, and all their lovely smells. we are amazed at the beautiful cacti and other succulents.

we make our way across the terraced and water gardens, with an english style garden, an italian style garden, etc as well as a water lily pond full of fat fish and tortoises. there, we sit for a while and enjoy the sunshine, and some peace.

finally, the landscapes of south tyrol present regional plants: flowers, shrubs, vegetables, trees. parts of it seem to drown in colours and are swarming with bees, bumblebees and butterflies.

basically, we spend the whole day there. we even bump into alex' parents who are doing a tour for german tourists.

before we leave, we also check out the touriseum which is devoted to the history of tourism in the area, before and after empress sissi. it's incredibly interesting to be taken back to a time when travelling was something hardly anybody did for pleasure, to see how people travelled 150 or 200 years ago, and how tourism changed the world. i think we spend over an hour in there!

if you ever find yourself in the merano area with a few hours to spare, make sure you go and visit the gardens, they are just too amazingly beautiful to miss.

pictures of day 09


SarahJane said...

thanks for the tour! lovely gardens. of the photos, i love that water lily most.

Arlene said...

wow, that's an impressive castle, milky.

enjoyed goethe's ginkgo biloba poem — sounds like a great sales pitch for selling it, too!

and yikes, that's one huge cactus. i had a feeling you'd be immediately attracted to that. **snicker**


michi said...

sarah - it's a beauty, isn't it?

anglene: i chose that cactus because i knew you'd love its length. and shape. and prick-liness. *tee-hee* *oops, naughty*


ericat said...

Lovely I like a blog with photos and desciptions, and these are good. I would love to be there and see the garden. I have plenty photos on myblogs, Namibia and the Karoo garden if you would like to visit.
aloe blog