7/31/2012

A Vegetable Garden in Anacapri

Are you wondering what the "orti" (= vegetable gardens) look like here in Capri ? These are pictures were taken from a vegetable garden as it looks like at the end of July, situated along Via Axel Munthe in Anacapri, at just five minutes walking distance from the famous garden and villa of Axel Munthe. Last week there was one day here giving respite from the heat: With the sun disappearing momentarily behind a thick wall of damp mist, a few drops of rain came down on the surprised passers-by but the brief shower was not able to provide relief to the parched darkish brown soil. The unrelenting sun in July makes the leaves of the vegetable plants yellow prematurely by mid-summer.
Zucchini plants and tomatoes growing profusely in the background, with a view of the sea towards Ischia

Stone and brick walls separate the gardens from each other

Vines line the garden towards the street, these grapes will be ripe at the end of August

7/14/2012

Lush front gardens along Via V. Emanuele

It goes without saying that Via Vittorio Emanuele is one of the most renowned "shopping miles" in the old town of Capri, leading directly towards Via Camerelle. But here we take a look at this crowded place from another angle: what visitors focusing on shops might overlook is the surroundings, the blend of old-Capri Style (white-washed houses looking oriental) and lush tropical plants lining the declining street towards the Hotel Quisisana at the next bend below.
Old Capri style, white and pastel colored houses, with a side view of Santo Stefano

In summer, the steps leading up to Santo Stefano are surrounded by a "small garden" located in pots directly up from the Piazza

to th left, you can see the front garden of the Hotel Palma, with its banana trees and shrubs

The huge cactus on the front terrace of Hotel Palma

7/08/2012

Evergreen oak wood remnants in Capri

This is the backbone of Capri flora, the endemic evergreen plants also present in the small world of private gardens: Going up by chairlift to Monte Solaro, you can see the remnants of mediterranean wood, consisting first of all of evergreen oaks (quercus ilex), that covered the island before the Romans settled here in about 60 BC. Then again, in the Middle Ages and at the onslaught of modern tourism in the 19th century, the woods gave way to macchia, also due to fires. The wood then does not come back but the soil is settled by the macchia - low bushes such as strawberry trees, junipers, sage, growing thickly to keep the humidity even during the hot summer months. In very sunny and dry spots the soil is settled by garrigue plants - many aromatic herbs are part of these, such as rosemary, lavender, cistus roses and thyme.


So the natural flora in Capri depends on the location and exposure to the sun. Remnants of the ancient evergreen oaks that once covered the whole island can be seen best taking a ride to Monte Solaro (589 meters), that can be reached by a chairlift from Anacapri. Watch the ride here.