Friday, June 14, 2013

Enlightenment in the garden

Buon giorno!
We arrived in Florence, passed the most beautiful cathedral, a copy of the statue of David and crossed the Ponte Vecchio Bridge. Once on the other side of the Arno River we entered the Boboli Gardens. The Medici palace and gardens came to life as we curved back and forth through the garden pathways. The pictures we had seen before we left for Italy were nothing in comparison to real life.

View of the Arno River and the Ponte Vecchio Bridge.

Over looking the Pitti Palace.

We made our way to the top of the hill where Eleonora of Toledo had her private rose garden. While the heat left the roses slightly wilted, the wildflowers were not shy and grew up wherever they pleased. The colors and fragrances of the wildflowers were just as satisfying as an acre of roses. Wild snapdragons took root in the stone wall that separated the garden from the 50 meter ledge to the valley. Wild poppies sprinkled throughout the sidewalk cracks and vines grew like a trellis over the garden entrance. I ventured over to a gated doorway were I took a peek through two of the steel bars. On the other side was a path to an unexplored garden. As I watched the light twinkle through the leaves I imaged life hundreds of years ago in the Boboli Garden. The garden had been a gift to Eleonora from her husband. When I tied to comprehend such a magnificent gesture part of me became envious of the ancient history of Florence and the Medici family. I was brought back to reality by a butterfly that crossed my line of vision. As I stood enclosed in the rose garden I was reminded of the beautiful gift I had received by being able to walk the paths of Italy and my envy quickly turned to thankfulness.

Snapdragons on the wall of the rose garden.

Gate to the hidden garden.

 The garden gave me a new view of Italy, away from the hustle of the streets and the jumble of mixed languages. While others might have just seen plants manipulated into unique shapes I felt a strong confirmation of where my path was being lead. Stumbling into horticulture at A&M has never quite made sense to me, but feeling peace in the Boboli Garden further intrigued me to pursue my future career with God's most beautiful creations, flowers.
Until next time, Ciao! 
Josie E

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