Friday, June 23, 2017

Beauty is in the Eye of the Horticulture: Assisi, Italy

As my adventure in Italy begins and class has started, I am starting to put pieces of the horticulture puzzle together. As I walked along the streets of Florence, Arezzo, Assisi and Castiglion Fiorentino, I noticed that nearly every business or home has flowers either on their patio or in front of their house. When I think about this compared to homes in America, these plants are much more noticeable, and they seem to unify the entire community. After studying the benefits of plants previously in other horticulture classes, it is no wonder the Italians are so happy all of the time. Perhaps it is because they surround themselves with plants (and maybe it’s the pasta too.) While visiting Assisi, I noticed that most of the homes and businesses have bright colored flowers conveying a particular mood with the colors they select. Throughout this trip, we visited several basilicas and were shown around by our tour guide, Maura. While walking the streets between the sites we visited, the most common color flower I saw was red. I remember discussing in a lecture that red can embody feelings of warmth and comfort. I also saw a combination of this bright red with pink and white, creating a monochromatic color harmony. This color combination is demonstrated in the following photo taken in Assisi on a local business's balcony. The gardener, in this case, used red and various shades of pink and white flowers to decorate their balcony. The jasmine in the back also brings these flowers together enhancing the color harmony. The flowers shown in this photograph includes some of the flowers we learned in lecture including the Zonal geranium (Pelargonium), Ivy geranium (Pelargonium) and Star jasmine (Trachelospermum). Zonal geraniums, Ivy geraniums, and Star jasmine are native annuals in Italy. Since these plants are native to Italy and do really well in this climate, I decided to do some research on the climatic conditions of Italy in which these plants thrive. Italy has a Mediterranean climate with dry, warm summers and wet winters. This climate is ideal for these plants to bloom in late spring. 
Overall, these flowers with their bright
colors stand out and create a contrast against the dark and neutral walls of the city. I hope to see more of these outdoor flower gardens/ arrangements and more as I continue to venture across Italy.
Until next time!
Julia Schrank

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