Our garden is submerged in snow today so forgive the retreat to sunnier climes. The warmth and sun of Lake Maggiore seem a dream. We were there for a fortnight in August but the rain was incessant. So it’s back to 2009.

The largest example of a Kashmir Cypress in Europe. After 200 years a storm in 2006 toppled it though efforts have been made to replant the old fellow, offering support in his old age.

 “Madame Bovary” author Gustave Flaubert described Isola Madre as “the most sensual place that I have ever seen in the world’.

The botanical gardens are often described as being in the English tradition. The weather and climate allow the Italian gardeners to be more English than the English.

White peacocks and golden pheasants add to the enchanted feel of the gardens.

Close-up photographs can cheat on the actual scale of a subject but my memory records this as a giant bloom.

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