Lucca’s Green Walls

Today is the last day of Verdemura and as it is a day forecast to be free of rain and as bargains are to be usually had on the last days of garden festivals it’s definitely the time to go if you haven’t been there before. I was inspired to go yesterday by Debra Kolkka’s post at and would certainly rate this garden festival as good as the City’s autumn “Murabilia” and certainly rather more useful as spring is really the time to get the garden into shape.

There were many things about the show, which is laid out on the city’s northern walls around Porta Santa Maria, that took my fancy and not all to do with flowers. The animals made out of scrap metal by poor communities in Zimbabwe organised by a French charity were enchanting. Didn’t like the ants too much, however, and I’m sure those snails could become a nuisance!

Other garden equipment was made by alienated italian youth and this social focus was encouraging. The garden equipment and machinery were also technically interesting for me. I was particularly charmed by three new varieties of Camellias on show in the caserma including the luscious “Bella di Lucca” which should be on sale next year.

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Plants make music! There’s no need for royal princes to talk to them. I heard the divinest sounds coming from the leaves and roots of plants which were linked through a transponder to enable mere mortals’ ears to hear the transcendent sounds of completely natural things.  Smetana and Messiaen I’m sure knew about this ethereal phenomenon.

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Many of the stalls were creative masterpieces especially the lavender one.

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 And for Pinocchio lovers there was even a suitable rocking horse (don’t forget, Pinocchio became a donkey at one stage during the story),

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I dug into the cheese from Val Camonica, which is near Brescia, for two amazing varieties which I never find in Lucca: a really good taleggio and that rarest of blue cheeses, the blu di Adamello. How long they’ll last in fridge is anyone’s business. Their smell can get a bit overpowering but they’ll provide an excellent cheese platter for Easter!

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To relax from all the glorious colours, perfumes and varieties I spent some time at the Japanese tea ceremony and thought how much more civilized the Japanese are when taking their beverage when compared to the often frenzied morning rush into a typical Italian bar to gulp down your espresso.

The ceremony, which I had never previously witnessed, was truly inspiring, indeed noble, and gave peace and respect to all those privileged to attend it. I gather that there are various schools of Japanese tea ceremonies and this one was taught by a select community in Florence. Indimenticabile!

It was a great afternoon and one in which I met several friends without any recall to cell phones. Birds of a feather meet together and here one certainly knows who among one’s mates are keen gardeners (the majority I suspect!)

Apart from the cheese, I bought a coriander and marjoram which, no doubt, will scent my kitchen garden for years to come.


4 thoughts on “Lucca’s Green Walls

  1. Pingback: The Flowering Walls of Lucca | From London to Longoio (and Lucca and Beyond) Part Two

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