Birth of a Botanical Garden
At first it was a dream, the dream of a garden, a dream I had at the time when I grew up in a house on the village street. We had neither land or terrace. I realized in the coming years that the dream and the imagination are even more important than the related technique and experience for the creation of a botanical garden and I must say that in most cases the reality surpassed the imagination.
If you decide to grow a garden, you must be able to imagine the final result even before you set the first plant.
It was in the early 1970s, when the then small hotel was surrounded by the first fruit trees and some undeveloped land surrounded by many thornbushes. There were, among other things, many lemon trees that enriched the gardens, because the climate of Sant’Andrea is very suitable for cultivating citrus fruits. On the property were terraces, which caught the slope of the hill and it was crossed by two small creeks where the water also flowed in the summer. The dry stone walls that once held the vines are still there because we have deliberately decided not to change the topography of the terrain.
The first existing plants were the native strawberry trees, heather, cistus, acorns, broom, and near the streams there were alders, elderberry and a wonderful “colony” of the king fern “Osmunda Regals”.
In the course of time the desire to plant new plants became even bigger. After the identification of some nurserymen specialized in exotic and unusual plants, we have begun to enrich the garden. At this time it was no longer enough for me to simply buy new plants and put them on, so I began to be interested in the seeds.
Between the successes and failures, our garden is home to many plants derived from seeds from different countries of the world. There is a climate that allows the tropical plants to live together with native plants. We have pulled some large trees from seeds of South Africa, Asia, South America and Australia.
Today, the park offers flowers and fruits in all seasons.
In the spring, the native broom and cistus bloom together with the roses, onion plants and the tropical “Solandra Maxima” with their large yellow cups and the Japanese mandarins and medlar, then the fifty varieties of “Hemerocallis” embellish edges and late spring and early summer Walkways while the hydrangeas bloom in the form of colorful bushes in the garden next to the large granite rocks.
In summer there are the Bignonia with bougainvillea and hibiscus which give color to the garden, and in the pond water hyacinths and water lilies and the fruits like cherries, plums, apricots, pears and figs. Then, in the late summer and autumn, the Mandelian shows his flowers, which, like the Latin name (hibiscus mutables), already reveal the color mutating from hellrosa morning to fuchsia in the evening. In addition, the grapes, kaki, Brazilian guava, cactus figs and the Chinese jujube are ripe.
The banana palms, with their large leaves are available all year round as are the lemons.
In the winter, the orange peaks of the chasmanthe “Casmanthe Etiopica”, the mountains, the flowering flowers and fruits bear the orange trees, clementines, “Tangelo mapo”, grapefruit, avocado, eugenia, German medlar and kiwi.
In the park, there are more than five hundred varieties of cultivated and wild plants.
The garden of Osmunde is far more than ten thousand square meters and is visited by many guests.
Each of our guests can find a corner only in the large garden, perhaps under the majestic “Metrosideros” tree or in the forest under an alder or in the shade of the pine forest. It is a pleasure to see how children play in the garden and jump around from the garden “Caifa” through the garden “Imboden” to the house “Casa sul sass” and hide behind the bamboo or between the big leaves of the elephant ear “Zehrwurz”.
In the botanical garden of the Hotel Cernia, no poisons and pesticides are used, so the park is animated by many animal inhabitants, such as lizards, frogs and tree frogs, eels and many varieties of birds as well as brightly colored butterflies. In the evenings between May and June we are still happy by the presence of fireflies.
Maria Lonia Anselmi