Friday, September 07, 2018

Giardini di Pomona

Cisternino, Puglia, Italy. Sunday 02-September-2018.

An absolutely fascinating open day at the Pomona Gardens botanical conservancy with a huge collection of over 600 varieties of fig and a guided tour from the amazingly knowledgeable Paolo Belloni.

It started off with an exhibition of figs, of course, in the courtyard plus other produce.

A circle of hay bales with just some of the various varieties on display.

Quite the selection of black and green figs, cut open to show how different they were inside.

Also other fruits on display, a trough of quinces and some speciality apples.

These apples are not only red on the outside but also have red flesh.

Also nuts - hazelnut, walnut, almond, and pistachio of which more anon.

Chris started chatting to Paolo Belloni who then, Pied Piper-like, lead us on a tour acquiring more and more followers as we went. We started in an adjacent orchard with a collection of citrus fruits and some water lilies with water filtration properties.

Across the road into the main arboretum where we met and tasted a range of figs. I was amazed at how different a fig can taste.

We also encountered a pistachio tree. I've never seen a pistachio tree before although I did know they grow on trees.

Close up of the pistacchio.

The final tree was a Kaki, Japanese Persimmon, with a real story behind it.

"The rebirth of time" Kaki tree project 
On 9 August 1945 Nagasaki was bombed with an atomic bomb. It seemed that any living creatures were dead, however, under the rubble, it was noticed that some plants had survived including some kaki trees, although rather battered. One of these, very weakened, returned to good health after being treated of the botanist Masayuki Ebinuma. This tree belongs to the local variety of the area of ​​Nagasaki called "Tongo". 
From the fruits of this khaki tree, which survived the bombing, seeds were obtained.  So "the second generation kaki seedlings" were born. 
In 1994 Ebinuma started to entrust the small plants to the children visiting the city asking them to grow them to become symbols of peace. 
In August 1995, thanks to the contribution of the artist Tatsuo Miyajima was born the project "The rebirth of time"
Following Paolo in a silent meander through a lavender maze we arrived at the tree.

Persimmons on the tree.

After that we went up to yet more fig trees where Paolo was experimenting with a system of micro-terracing using small linear mounds filled with organic materials acting as both reservoir and water run-off control. An absolutely fascinating couple of hours.

A fitting final view, the Kaki tree and lavender maze:

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