Revisiting my past travels through my digital library has been a small respite from my current daily grind which now includes cleaning, purging, organizing, packing, moving, and dispersing my mother’s effects. Four thousand square feet and eighty years of memories need to be carefully and thoughtfully dealt with. And at times it has been overwhelming. So here’s my latest jaunt down memory lane.
Japanese Anemone. It’s now the last few days of October and it’s just now beginning to bloom. Usually this flower blossoms at the end of August through mid-September, and I am stumped as to what caused it to be so tardy. The only reason that I can think of is perhaps our summer was just too brutally hot for it to start producing its buds on schedule. Other than that, your guess is as good as mine.
The last post linked you to Wikipedia’s page on the Visconti crest. Since that post was strictly about fig ivy, I didn’t want to include the above photo. So I’m showing it to you now. In it, you can see how the Visconti crest is interpreted on Villa Balbianello’s balustrade. It seems to me that the artists, rendering the crest in both locations, had problems creating the baby, and both figures ended up resembling a “man” child. Which is probably a good thing.
I joined The Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America in September of 2007 on a two week tour of the Northern Italian Lakes, where we visited numerous villas and gardens. I could not pass up this experience knowing that a lot of these places are not usually open to tourists and that seeing all of them as an individual tourist would be next to impossible. This was the chance of a lifetime. The lakes we visited were first Lake Maggiore, then Lake Orta, third was Lake Como, fourth was Lake Lugano, and the last stop was Lake Garda.
I’m not posting this for its view and history. I want you to notice those huge snaking coils of fig ivy all of which belong to one single plant. Just one. I don’t know how many years it took to train it to its current shape. Speaking of snakes, the Visconti family owned this villa at one time, and their emblem/crest, which is carved onto the stone balustrades, shows a huge snake devouring a child. How they came up with that design is a mystery to me. Perhaps the Viscontis are responsible for training the fig ivy into its current serpent shape. But probably not.