Friday, June 21, 2013


Imagine maintaining a 22-acre garden.  

It keeps 12 Ligurian gardeners busy, but having a job that affords this view every day wouldn't seem like work, rather a privilege.

Hanbury Botanical Gardens is located in Ventimiglia and its 45 acres occupy all of Cape Mortola.  The land was purchased in 1867 by Sir Thomas Hanbury, a wealthy British businessman who earned his fortune trading in silk, cotton, tea, and property.  Over the next several decades, noted botanists planned and cultivated this amazing garden.

This is the entrance portal to the garden, which was built at the end of the 19th century.  At the bottom of these steps, you begin your journey downward to the sea, obtaining quite an education in horticulture along the way.

This garden is at its peak in May, but there is still much beauty to enjoy.  There was signage indicating the plant/flower genus, but I won't attempt to pass those names along.  Rather, just walk with me and enjoy nature with minimal comment on my part.

Tall, elegant cypress everywhere.

Pincushion cacti.

The tall spindly flower of agave--when it dies, so does the plant.

Riccardo and Marina framing a Chinese bell in the garden behind the palazzo.

A fresco of Marco Polo near the entrance door of the palazzo.

In May, the roses would have been blooming overhead.

Sunbathing turtles.

The Hanbury family tomb.

We paused for lunch at this snack bar after two hours of wending our way downward through the gardens.

You can see the stone wall behind the snack bar above that acts as a barrier to accessing the rocky coast. I took this picture through a barred window.

And this one was courtesy of a missing stone.

The climb back up was arduous, and it was a very warm day.  There were many rest stops, but fewer photos.

Fountain of the Faun.

A cupola served as a lovely rest stop with a great view of the sea.

And a view of the palace 
as well.

You can see part of the city of Ventimiglia as you ascend back upward.

And I eventually made it back to the top, but as Marina says, I wouldn't make a very good Ligurian with my distaste, and lack of stamina, for uphill climbs.  Walking on "flat as a pancake" southeastern Michigan terrain does not prepare you for this!

If you are ever in Liguria in the spring, I recommend a few hours in this incredibly beautiful garden by the sea.

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