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Diggin' It

Garden 'siteseeing' in warm climates

A visit to garden blogs in Portugal, Brazil, and the south of France.

By / October 23, 2008



As the wind whips around my turned-up collar and temperatures continue to fall close to freezing -- but not quite there yet -- I long to see flowers blooming and vegetables growing. And thanks to the Web, I can do that with just a few clicks. Won't you join me?

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First stop on today's tour of gardens is Bulbs in Flower in Lisbon, where Cris Bolbosa has all sorts of fall bulbs in bloom - autumn crocus, petticoat daffodil, rain lilies, and many others.

It makes me question why I don't grow more of these (although most wouldn't be in bloom now, since my climate isn't nearly as mild as Portugal's).

In  Brazil, Beatriz, a retired teacher who lives in São José dos Campos, São Paulo, loves flowers and pictures of flowers such as orchids, roses, and all sorts of flowering tropicals that you may have seen only as houseplants, not growing outdoors.

As I scroll down, more and more orchids -- all different kinds -- are blooming, and all of a sudden, I feel warmer and warmer. I can almost imagine I'm there to enjoy springtime in Brazil.

You know it's warm and sunny in a Mediterranean Garden in Spain. The Oct. 19 entry is hilarious: This was an ad on Craigslist: "Non-functional organic lawn mower. Free to a needy yard, one, two year old grumpy, mean and annoying so called miniature goat, needs work, It won't eat weeds but will eat your shrubs and flowers, Is anti-social..." Pictured is the goat, with his head caught in the fence (a daily occurrence).

Olives and artichokes -- those delightful foods call to mind the Mediterranean, don't they? This garden, in the village of Gabian in the Languedoc region of France, is maintained by a couple originally from Wales.

Currently blooming: passionflowers, morning glories, salvia, geraniums, and dahlias. In a brine, soaking, are shiny, dark olives. Tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant are still bearing.

Many jars of tomatoes have been canned. Raddichio will be harvested all winter. There's good eating ahead. Because food and eating are passions, recipes -- and ideas for serving fresh produce -- abound.

The local market offers fresh squid, fresh anchovies (which were eaten with salsa), oysters from Italy, and mussels to be combined with fresh vegetables from the garden.

Ah, the Mediterranean life!

In chilly Boston, that's delightful to contemplate. It will keep me going until next week when we visit more gardens around the US and the world. Do come back and join us.

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