Florence Travelyan’s Garden in Taormina, Italy

By Alexandria DiPerri

On the east coast of Sicily, Italy is a beautiful place called Taormina. Within Taormina is one of the most beautiful gardens I have ever seen. Pictured above is the owner of the garden, Florence Travelyan a woman who gained an interest in the creation of what is known as “pleasure gardens”. The garden explained here is called Hallington Siculo which is now known as Villa Comunale; public garden.

Florence’s Garden History

The beautiful Hallington Siculo garden is a beautifully organized with a horticultural arrangement. Florence planted native species in which interspersed with other exotic and tropical ones. She also had beautiful structures including this Victorian Folet (pictured on left). This garden was created in memory of all the times she gardened with her mother.

Dragon Tree

According to our tour guide of the garden, this Dragon Tree was imported from North Africa in what used to be a private British garden. Dragon trees are very common indoor plants but can also be outdoor. They have medium water needs, only need a lot of sunlight if left indoors, and can help purify the air as well as being super easy to grow. Sometimes the leaves can brown which hints that the air might be too dry, putting the plant next to other houseplants, in the bathroom or even with some pebbles and water can help.

Drunken Tree

This Drunken Tree was imported from Argentina and comes from other places in South America. This tree gets its name from its very visibly swollen trunk. It is swollen due to its natural ability to store water. Younger trees have thick and sharp horns covering the bark and hang from the branches. As summer approaches pink flowers bloom.

Coral Tree

This Coral Tree came from South America and is a part of the Legume family. Coral trees are outdoor plants and can range from 35 to 65 feet tall. They need very little water as too much can cause weakness and breakage. Overwatering can cause the tree to be too soft causing the tree to pull itself out of the soil come dry season. Pruning the tree in the spring can help prevent the limb loss. These trees are of great quality and can be sometimes used to make surfboards!

Silky Oak

These Silky Oaks were brought here from Australia. These trees can live up to 100 years old! It used to be native to Australia but now grows everywhere. It is very adaptable and can survive through both drought and frost. It is fast growing and a popular choice amongst gardeners because of its straight trunk; this helps avoid the spread of growth. Its shallow roots grow towards water so be careful not to plant close to buildings or pipes!

(All pictures taken by Alexandria DiPerri except the first one)

How The Aero Garden Made Gardening Possible

Do you ever want to start gardening, but feel like you don’t have the skills to keep up with one on your own? The aero garden is the perfect solution! Living closer to the city, having space for a garden has always been a challenge. Most of the yards in my neighborhood are shared among neighbors and usually tend to be very small. My mom and I always wanted to try and grow our own vegetables, but always struggled with finding the room and proper sunlight. After a few failed attempts, my mom came across the aero garden. 

These are the tomatoes we have started to grow!

The aero garden allows one to grow plants using aeroponic technology. The plants are grown without soil and it uses just the air and water to grow plants. The kit has a base that you can pour water and the nutrients into and it has lights so that the plants can grow indoors. This was a huge benefit because we could grow tomatoes all year round and we could start a little garden in our kitchen! If you get the seed kits that come with it, they can start to germinate within 24 hours. Not only can you start a garden whenever and wherever, but they even start to grow super fast. The aero garden is so convenient and made it possible for my mom and I to actually start a successful mini garden. The aerogarden makes a basically perfect environment for the plants by having their roots grow towards the air and the water in the basin. It gives the roots a lot of humidity and lets them grow quicker than they would in the ground. The device adjusts the water and nutrient levels and amount of light based on the plant, so it doesn’t take an expert to be able to grow what you want! It has been perfect for my mom and I because we aren’t at home a lot and have busy schedules and it has made it so easy for us to grow our tomatoes. Although expensive, I think the convenience and quality of the plants is beyond worth it. 

An up close picture of the tomatoes under the lights!
The plant food used to grow the plants!

By: Hannah Brennan