Daniel Markchi looks at the camellia with expert eyes. “They will wilt soon,” he says, although it is still in March. “But it is very dry, and nature is already well developed,” said the gardeners of Locarno, near Lake Maggiore.
Spring starts a little earlier
The canton of Ticino is in the southernmost part of Switzerland and is the lowest above sea level. There, spring usually arrives early, which is why the area is perfect for escaping the gray days of winter.
Camellia is a plant with singer’s air, it does not like cold very much. This is why they are rarely seen in the North, Marcacci says. It has been tending to the flowers, trees and plants in Langensse for decades, and the German-speaking Swiss call it the lake on the border between Switzerland and Italy.
The palm trees, which give a Mediterranean touch, are what the curly-haired gardener calls “the herbs”. They are not original, they were brought. But here, in southern Switzerland, they add their contribution to the landscape.
Premium tea at Monte Ferretta
Camellia also grows in Monte Ferretta, in the upper part of Ascona, a few kilometers south. But there they have neither a scent nor a flower, only green leaves. “We grow tea,” says Corinne Denzler, who and her husband tend more than 1,400 plants. The tea plantation consists of camellia plants.
The couple worked for a long time in Asia and there they discovered their craving for tea. In the end it was found that the plants can also be grown in Switzerland. “The weather suits them well,” he says.
However, harvesting plants from your “zen” garden does not produce much. The leaves are harvested in the spring, processed, and converted into green tea. “Between one and two kilograms a year,” says Corinne Denzler. The tea is packaged in small 20-gram bags that sell for around 40 CHF (about $ 43) for tea lovers, of course.
Hill of free thinkers
Monte Ferretta is not only interesting for its tea plantations, esotericists consider it a lively place.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, the 321-meter-high mound was a colony of naturalists and home to those who subscribed to alternative theories and wanted to break away from “the institution,” among them reformers, artists, and writers.
Like almost everything that surrounds Lake Maggiore, the “Monte de la Truth” can be traversed by a well-designed network of trails.
Walkways also lead to the shore of the lake and its sunny waterfront, with numerous cafes and restaurants lining up one after the other. The landscape of snow-capped mountains over the lake appears drawn, and Ascona has become the most elegant setting in all of the region.
Jet set and sobriety
The place comes to life when the Jazz Festival takes place at the height of the European summer. Something similar happens in Locarno, when a film festival takes place, but during the rest of the year the atmosphere is calmer. Walking and cycling became preferred activities.
The Karuna artists’ village was chosen a few years ago as the most beautiful village in Switzerland. In the spring it is no longer necessary to wear thick winter clothes there because the sun in many places is concerned with raising the temperature.
Magnolia and red woods
Robert Eisenhout has owned and cared for “Parco Botanico” on the eastern shore of Lake Maggiore for many years. There you can find the largest collection of magnolias in the world, according to the gardener.
Not only do the garden adorn these plants with their gorgeous white, yellow, pink, and purple flowers. The redwood tree grows there, which also seems to like the climate of Lake Maggiore.