Here in the Itrian Valley of Puglia, our lives become more and more interesting as we make friends locally. So, just after Christmas, Tom and I were invited by our neighbours, Daniele and Margherita, to visit their home and to have a tour of their vast collection of orchids and exotic plants.
Daniele and Margherita hail from Bologna and have lived here in Puglia for more than five years. On arrival, they purchased two long-derelict, side-by-side trulli and joined them together to create a magical dwelling amongst the olive groves, just down the lane from our new home.
Having travelled extensively all over the world, visiting a multitude of locations to study the plant-life, Daniele and Margherita then set about developing their show-stopping garden, Il Trullo Gambero Viola.
With their great passion for exotic flowers, shrubs and trees in evidence, they carved out a brand new garden and planted extensively. They then built a greenhouse and began to assemble a vast collection of orchids and many other species of plants with their origins all over the world.
Tom and I were spellbound, not only by the orchids, but by the obvious passion that Daniele and Margherita share for these beautiful and exotic plants.
If you run your cursor over – or click on – any of the photos, you will see the correct names of the plants.
What I have learned about orchids is not extensive, but I do know that the orchid family – known as ‘orchidaceae’ – is one of the largest of the many families of flowering plants in existence.
Looked on as the most desirable plant on earth, their flowers are long-lasting and come in just about every colour, size and shape imaginable. Mostly tropical in origin, there are about 30,000 varieties worldwide.
Orchids make an absolutely stunning display and seeing them being so lovingly tended in the greenhouses of our neighbours, was wonderful to behold.
Daniele and Margherita tell me that they have about a thousand species of orchid in their greenhouse. They also have a few hundred bromeliads and several species of Hoya or ‘wax plant’, Lycopodiopsida or ‘club mosses’ and ferns, as well as numerous specimens belonging to different plant families.
As it costs a considerable amount to maintain all these plants, this interesting couple arrange informative guided tours by appointment. Their rates are low and they can accommodate groups of up to ten people. You can contact Daniele and Margherita via their Facebook page. Click on: Il Trullo GamberoViola