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Garden show in Lucca; Murabilia

gente-a-murabilia-2009Dear Friends, it has been a very dry summer, with much of Tuscany in difficulty. In Chianti, water tanks were even brought to some areas. In our region the situation is looking serious, with our oil and wine at risk from the extreme dryness.

Let's hope that it rains soon, as long as it's not during the weekend of 7-8-9 September, when the Murabilia garden show will be held on the beautiful Walls surrounding Luccca. Now in its 12th year, Murabilia is always appreciated by gardening specialists; it improves each year and its fame is international.

My colleagues and I have made our own small contribution over the years, always present to offer our experience to the public, above all the art of planning, designing and creating a garden, and caring for it properly.

Murabilia will take place between the baluardi (bastions) of S. Regolo and La Libertà and at the Botanical Garden and adjacent spaces beneath the Walls, Friday 7 September from noon to 7.30pm and Saturday/Sunday 8 and 9 September from 9.30am to 7.30pm. This year we return to the organization of its early years.

Admission to the Botanical Garden is included in the price of the ticket. There are 3 entrances: one at Baluardo S. Regolo, and the other two at the Cairoli exits, one inside the Walls (entering at Porta Elisa turn immediately to the left) and the other one outside, in front of Via Filzi and Hotel Celide. Among the events are a contest for the biggest pumpkin, contests for fruits and vegetables, displays of orchids and hosta, and a botanical painting exhibit, Botalia.

There will be various conferences at the Baluardo La Libertà meeting point, including the excellent Master Gardener Carlo Pagani, who is having a lot of success with his latest book and his tv program, and Marco Martella, a Roman writer and translator now living in Paris, who specializes in historical and critical writing about gardens.

Among the international guests this year will be Christopher Brickell, an English botanist who specializes in international horticulture and plant names.

He is a past director of the famous Royal Horticultural Society, has participated in various botanical expeditions, and has helped create a monumental encyclopedia containing 8000 plant descriptions and many photographs.

The contemporary gardener Roy Lancaster, well known for his collaboration with famous tv and radio shows, and for the courses and conferences that he holds throughout the world, will be present. He has an institutional role in many English gardening associations and is president of the society for perennial weeds. The Scottish agronomer Jim Jermyn, an expert on Alpine plants who has traveled extensively in the Italian, German and English mountains, will be present. For many years he has managed a nursery that was first created in 1930.

He has written several books and directs the famous "Gardening Scotland" show, which takes place every year at Edinburgh.

On Saturday at 3pm, a panel discussion including the abovementioned experts will compare British and Italian gardening. Among this year's themes this year are the color red, aloe, orchids and hosta.

Hosta are perennials from the East, with beautiful spiked or heart-shaped leaves that range in color from yellow to streaked, to various shades of green, with elegant, perfumed, spikeshaped flowers ranging in color from white to purple.

They are resistant to illnesses and to cold temperatures, and they grow very fast. Generally used for carpeting gardens or for borders, they are also well adapted to cultivation in vases and in Japan are often used as apartment plants.

During the winter, their vegetation disappears, while their root system germinates underground, developing the reserve substances for the plant's development in the next season.

They prefer a rich, organic, acidic soil, with fresh, moist drainage. They thrive in semishade but some varieties (those with light green or yellow leaves) also do well in partial sunlight.

The plant's worst enemies are snails, who find their leaves very tasty.

To protect the plants from these pests, ask your garden center for products to stop these sweet little creatures from dining on your beloved plants. I invite you to visit us at Murabilia.

You can admire a unique fountain that we have designed and built, to emphasize the importance of the water element in our gardens. I hope we can help you in the design and care of your gardens. As always, happy gardening and happy Murabilia to all!


By Simone Lippi


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