Tuscany: What's blooming in May?
It's hard to believe we're 3 months into the flowering season here in Tuscany, and after our February magnolias, March cherry trees, and April wisteria we get to the poppies of May.
I drove past a huge field of them while on tour in the Val d'Orcia last week so had to stop and wade out amidst them, like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz 😍 (as always, click on each one to see it separately if you're viewing this on your computer)
The Val d'Orcia (= Orcia River valley) is also known for its vast fields of winter wheat, that are brilliant green in the spring and were just turning gold while I was there....
It's also popular with photographers for the fields of cypress trees and the tiny chapel of Vitaleta, that I just happened upon at sunset. Much of the area is natural park and is a protected UNESCO World Heritage site!
Even though things start to bloom earlier, it's only May when everything is GREEN:
Below left, a wild Italian Gladiolus, or Sword Lily; middle, just a random field near my house (full disclosure, this was the 3rd week of April!); and right, a joyful field on my Tuscany tour.
It's also time for the iris!
This year, for the first time ever, I went to the famous Iris Garden, which has over 1,500 types!
Also a first for me, I saw the wisteria blooming at the Bardini Gardens (these were also taken the very last week of April and they were mostly gone by May, so come earlier if you want to see them in bloom!)
The Wisteria Tunnel is truly a sight to behold! (it also gets extremely crowded, so the fact that I got here at the tail end of the blooming was probably a plus for taking pictures)
It's also just a gorgeous place to hang out, and get great views over the city (and there's a cool little cafe' too)
We also see new life in our cherished vineyards and olive groves: left, a vineyard near Montalcino with yellow Scotch Broom; middle, a flowering olive tree; and right, tiny grapes taking shape near my house.
And the fabulous trees up at my favorite backyard garden are bearing fruit! Here below, a fig, caper buds, flowers on an exotic feijoa tree, baby pomegranates, walnuts, and a fuzzy young quince.
There's also wild "rosy garlic" (allium roseum):
And these marvelous allium ampeloprasum, that I'm seeing defined as wild leeks, garlic, or onions with various local nicknames. Not sure if they're edible but I'd like to find out!
I espied this crazy purple flower on May 1st and had to find out what it was...
Its Latin name is Leopoldia Comosa and its nickname is the Tassel Hyacinth or Grape Hyacinth. I love the waving tassles but also the compact, geometric base:
I also found out that the bulb is edible AND that I had had them on a trip to Puglia, in southern Italy, years ago! See this link (in Italian, but you can just peruse the photos) to see more about them, called lampascioni in Italian.
I'm fascinated by the odd ones. Here below: the oddly named Bladder Campion, a purple patch of Hairy Vetch, Cock's Comb, a delicate blue flower called Love-in-a-Mist, a wild "Lady Orchid" (Orchis Purpurea), and a spiky Star Clover.
I saw a whole field of the wild orchids while out on a bike ride. Who knows how they got there!
There's also a whole world of succulents that grow right out of the rock, like this Tasteless Stonecrop (why "tasteless"?? did somebody try it?? 😄).
Hooray for the pinks!
And the whites:
I would like to add Honorable Mention to all of the towns who take such care of their home gardens, like here in lovely (and tiny!) Sovana:
It's on the "Most Beautiful Towns of Italy" list!
🌞 🌞 🌞
Only a few days remain in May and it already feels like summer is upon us. The waving fields of green are turning to arid fields of gold and tan, and an unexpected heatwave has brought temps up to the 90sF/30sC, so it's time to say arrivederci, primavera and ciao, estate!
These cool little pods are all that remain of the formerly poufy Tussock Cottongrass, and I had to zoom in for a closer look. Looks like I caught a spider or some kind of insect hiding in there:
Thanks for joining me on this little Nature Walk around Tuscany. I hope you feel refreshed and can smell the fresh flowers wafting in through your window. I am SO HAPPY to be back at work again and have already completed two tours this year and have a few more coming up, along with some fun scouting trips and lots of day-trips (grazie mille to those of you who have passed my name along to travelers coming to Italy). As always, if you'd like to donate to my "what is THAT flower??" research fund, you can toss some coins into my watering can (aka, click on the "tip your guide" tab above, or HERE).
I took this shot the other day at the close of my first tour "for me" as a freelancer. So happy to be back where I belong: feet on the trail, head in the clouds, walking behind happy guests after a beautiful day. Carpe Diem, my friends! 🌸🌹🌻
❤️ ❤️ ❤️