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A Garden in Venice

Garden art & lifestyle

What is so special with Venetian gardens in early December?

Golden foliage: the Gingko tree, Giardini Reali, on the first days of December
The first days of December are really specialfor the gardens in Venice: In some gardens, spring flowers crop up, like primroses; you see some hydrangeas and almost all geranium bushes in bloom, like it was summer. Autumn lights flash if you look at the golden foliage of the ginko trees in town. The typical Venetian winter plants like cyclamen and erica are now in full bloom. Plus, a lot of red flowers are now on sale in the flower shops, like amaryllis, flamingo plants and the ominpresent euphorbia (stella di natale). Plus, a subtropical touch comes in: on some Venetian balconies and terraces, the bright orange colors of citrus fruits are glowing, in addition to those young bushes of tangerines and fresh fruit that you find on the market (that come from Southern Italy)..
Freshly matured citrus fruits (tangerines, oranges, bergamots ...) all over town: the grocery store in Calle San Luca
This year we are lucky: in spring and early summer there was enough rain fall to keep the leaves on the trees, so now during the first days of December, we can see the foliage turn golden before the gardens "go into hibernation". With the typical winter flowers now in full bloom, such as holly varieties, chrysanthemum and of course pink cyclamen, the gardens in Venice now reflect all the colors of the sunset over the lagoon.
The Giardini Reali backstage, seen from the entrance of Hotel Luna
Weather permitting, you now find deep saturated reds and oranges all over town. This year, the vines are particulary beautiful: crimson red, they convey flamboyant notes to our town, competing with the bright red Christmas decorations cropping up now in the shop and restaurant windows. Now it is red foliage and red blossoms that usher in the Christmas season in Venice.
Flamboyant vines decorate the rii: Ponte dei Baratteri, Mercerie
Slowly, our town is preparing for the colder season. As we have a lot of evergreen plants in town, it depends where you are going, and you might still imagine it is summer, were it not for the particular december lights of the waters, which you will be discovering in one of my next posts.
Gondolas are "parked" behind the Gardens
It's not only the brightly colored leaves, it is the composition of our winter flowers that give our town so much color. On the other hand, most balcony flowers like geranium are still in bloom, as you can see the red ones growing on the Terrace of Hotel Monaco e Gran Canal. 
December view from the Terrace of Hotel Monac e Gran Canal, with their famous red geranium pots
Now is also the time when the fig trees turn a pale green and then a bright yellow before they fall off their trees.
Figs also lose their leaves in December .. the first yellow ones appear in the last two weeks of November
But with the low temperatures tending towards zero on bright nights, trees are now fast losing their leaves. As a friend of mine put it, during these last years, instead of thick fogs that used to be around some 20 years ago and wrapped our town on winter days and nights, it is now rather acqua alta that becomes a characteristic of winter time in Venice. Still, the Giardini Reali look like this:
Still warm enough to read your newspaper in the Garden ..
Impatiens in full bloom in December, as well as red and white roses ..
The yellow leaves of gingko trees, against a green backdrop
Gingko trees falling off .. but there are gardeners on their way in the early morning with little red machines looking like vacuum cleaners that "suck up" the leaves ..
Sun rays dance between the golden gingko leaves
In the meantime, new herbs like rosemary and laurel bushes, but also pink and violet cyclamen and citrus plants are sold at the Rialto market. I think I'll buy one of these tangerine bushes for our terrace. Still, when it is very cold, my grandmother covers these citrus trees with plastic covers and takes in the flower pots for the night.
Young citrus trees, Rialto market
Campo delle Beccarie - enjoy a morning coffee outside, between the typical December plants
And in a few weeks from now, when the last leaves of wisteria have fallen, there are still evergreen and bright spots, like you see below: cyclamen stay here all winter, intermingled with evergreen shots of ivy, holly, or pittosporum.


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