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A Garden in Venice

Garden art & lifestyle

Harvest time and how residents perceive October in Venice

Beans are now coming into season .. greetings from the Rialto market ..
Rialto market bursting with loads of vegetables coming in from the Venetian campagna, canals taking on bright colors against a leaden sky, a definite change in the season plus a favorite corner of Venice evocating Renaissance times: This is what comes to my mind when I try to describe what October is like in our town.
Let's start with gardening topics: Did you know that it is not so easy here to find trees whose leaves take on Indian summer colors? By the beginning of October, the leaves of deciduous trees in Venice SHOULD turn  yellow and red, in case sufficient rain has fallen so far that year. This is the case with wisteria, whose leaves turn from golden-green to red and brown in late October and early November, but also with creeper plants like American vine that covering many courtyard facades in Venice. 
Some early Ocober afternoons may be tinged with the reflection of summer - prolongation of Merceria S. Salvador, overlooking the confluence of Rio de la Fava (to the left) and Rio di San Zulian (to the right)
In case you expect to find a range of autumn colors with plants, you need to know that many trees and shrubs don't reach that stage in Venice in particularly dry years. 2013 was rather cool and wet, so there is a chance that from now on we will see how leaves turn yellow and red. It was not the case, however, in 2003, 2005, 2010 and 2012. Leaves fell off their trees prematurely at the end of August as they simply dried up.
Early October day on Campo SS Apostoli
It even happened to evergreen plants like pittosporum. I remember checking out the plants on the Lido in 2003, and it was really bad. Many gardeners that year feared that their pittosporum plants would definitely die. There had been practically no consistent rain fall from the end of April through late August, when a heavy thunderstorm broke the intense heat, as it usually does a few days before the Regata Storica begins on the first Sunday in September.
A touch of autumn red in an otherwise green environment: View from our herb-fringed terrace upon the garden plot below and the acer japonicum tree (its red leaves are bright all year round, but even more so now it seems)
To introduce you to autumn in Venice, take a look at the picture series below, showing the area around Campo Santa Maria Nova and one of my favorite churches here in Venice, la Chiesa di Santa Maria dei Miracoli. Finalized in 1489, designed by Pietro Lombardo, it is a favorite church with many Venetians and famous for its marble facade. It is part of the Venice Chorus Church Walk, and if you enter, look out for the mirror on the pew located on the red carpet in front of the main altar, from which you can take in this unique and barrel vault decorated with fifty wooden panels. When you look down upon the mirror, you get the sense of falling down from one moment to the other into a "huge vault opening up under your feet". But then there are many mirrors in Venice that work miracle reflections ..
Slightly brownish foliage at the beginning of October - Chiesa di SM dei Miracoli 
Overcast by the typical October foggy blankets, but it is a calm afternoon to rest on Campo SS Maria Nova
So on the first day of October, autumn has "unofficially" started in Venice: To understand this, you need to know that for Venetians, seasons go more or less like this: Spring, in our mind, starts on 1 March, a few weeks after Carnevale or a few weeks before the Holy Week, and goes until mid-May (Festa della Sensa / Voga Longa). Summer starts exactly at these rowing events and lasts until late September. Then autumn takes over on 1 October and lasts until Festa della Madonna della Salute on 21 November. The time between 21 November and Carnevale in February is considered winter. But it can be a very mild winter. I remember many sunny days (not in a row, though) of November and December sitting in a wind-still and sunny place on the Piazza at the outdoor tables of Caffè Lavena, or even on our terrace, or going to the market in late November and taking off my coat at noon because it was simply mild spring-like weather.
Dark waters - the church borders directly on the Rio dei Miracoli
Not so many flowering balconies, some leaves have turned brownish, also due to the past summer heat. 
Ponte dei Miracoli - greenish water contrasting with the overcast & foggy sky
Ponte Giacinto Gallina leading onto Calle Giacinto Gallina which takes to straight to Campo San Zanipolo
A picturesque Sotoportegho (archway) built alongside Rio di San Canciano, from which two narrow calli take you to Campiello Widmann
Looking back towards the Miracoli Church, the dark green sunshades announce one of my favorite pasticcerie, Bar Ai Miracoli
A few steps farther away from Campo SM Nova, with Bar Ai Miracoli on the corner, breakfast there will be described in my Blog "Colazione a Venezia".
The archway near the bridge of Giacinto Gallina, named after the Venetian commedy writer
In October, chrysantenum plants of all sizes and with flowers of all the colors of the sun (golden, orange, red, whitish ...) are on sale. October is the time when on the terrace, the mandarine, pomegranate and kumquat tree fruits are being to ripe .. It also means that the creepers on the house facade are getting thinned out as leaves turn brown and gradually fall off ..
Near Campo Sant'Aponal ..
At the Rialto market, you can see the change in season ushered in by a great variety of squash and violet-red beans coming in from the campagna veneta .. but also quite a variety of new potatoes and grapes ..
Rialto vegetable stalls are now selling squash ..
Apple delights ..
Plums are sold next to potatoes ..
Personally, I prefer lush green garden landscapes, and I am always SAD when the foliage starts turning brown at the beginning of autumn. Still, autumn and winter are the fitting background to seasonal feasts like Madonna della Salute, Christmas or Carnival. A big "consolation" to me is that we have many evergreen plants here, from laurel bushes to magnolia trees and pittosporum. So there are lots of green patches all year round...
Pittosporum: green patches reminscent of summer all year round ..

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