Get an insight into two amazing gardens with the exclusive interviews with their gardeners.
Alessandro is Park Keeper and Nursery Worker at the Parco San Grato, located behind the majestic Monte San Salvatore on 690 meters on the charming peninsula above the Lake of Lugano.
What are the unique features of the Parco San Grato in Carona?
The park is renowned for its collection of azaleas, rhododendrons and conifers. Its elevated position offers a wonderful view over Lake Ceresio and the surrounding mountains.
Furthermore there are five trails to discover around the park. The Botanical Trail is about 1.7 km long and visits the most unusual plants and the information boards. The 1,5 km long Relaxation Trail winds its way around the easiest and most level paths in the park. The Panoramic Trail is almost 2 km long and leads to some of the most beautiful spots overlooking the surrounding view. The path is lined with information boards pointing out the most famous peaks. The Fairy-tale Trail is just 500 m long and includes panels with a children’s story explaining the significance of the azalea. The 200-m Sensory Trail, created this year, enables us to rediscover our senses by walking barefoot through different materials.
Are there any particularly important plants in the park?
The park is home to a unique collection of Araucaria araucana. In 2017, to celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the Parco San Grato, a collection of Irises, Hydrangeas and Daylilies was also planted. They will produce some stunning flowers in a couple of years’ time.
What time of year do you recommend visiting it?
As well as spring, when the azaleas and rhododendrons are in flower, the best time of year to visit the park is autumn/winter because of the beautiful colours in the surrounding woods and in the deciduous trees in the park, and also because of the opportunity to admire the surrounding view without too much luxuriant vegetation in the way.
Can you tell us about some of your personal experiences in the park?
One evening, when walking with my family through the park, a fox popped out from behind some bushes, stopped just a few steps away from us, looked at us and then continued calmly on his way, without turning tail and running.
One December evening, in 2014, we watched the local Animal Protection Association release a tawny owl called Camillo. Two passers-by had found Camillo in a dazed state near the entrance to the park. The Association took care of him at the birds of prey centre in Gorduno-Gnosca and two weeks later he was returned to his natural home in the park.