There’s something in the soil, the air, the water, the light, or perhaps all of them, that makes it impossible for things NOT to grow here. This climbing rose began its life in Liguria as a little branch cut from the climbing roses that cover one side of the house of friends in Piemonte. We stuck it in the dirt and the next spring we had a small rose bush ready to plant; it flowered the first year. Now we have to prune it severely to keep it from running wild.
The jasmine, just fading away behind the rose, is another case in point. It was here when we bought our house, but we enlarged the terrace and were quite sure that we had destroyed the jasmine. We were sad about that, but accepting, because having a larger terrace was worth the cost in jasmine flowers. To our surprise the next year the jasmine reappeared, and it, too, is a wanderer and spreader. It has moved to the neighbors’ walls below us, and it is threatening to hide completely a small faucet/sink on the other side of the steps. There’s no stopping either of these plants.
Italians are famous for their love of life; its true of the plants here too. Especially in spring everything is bursting, flowering, fruiting, promising much and delivering more.
We suffered in New England with our perennial gardens, coaxing and spoiling the plants, feeding, begging them to grow, flower, reproduce. We worked on the soil, took out rocks, added mulch, and in general treated our gardens like spoiled children. Here the soil looks unpromising. It is very heavy with lots of clay and is full of rocks. Evidently it’s just what the plants want. I guess the moral is that the easiest path is not always the most productive (groan… well, there has to be a moral, right?)