The bounty of Sicily

CorkscrewAnnie
3 min readNov 9, 2023

A photo journey through the fruits and flora of this Mediterranean gem

A market stall with bushels of cherry tomatoes, chestnuts and peppers.
A street market stall in Siracusa, Sicily (author’s photo)

Having spent more than 65 years living on the fringes of a North American rain forest, I’ve become pretty used to being surrounded by tall trees, evergreens that creep down to the seashore on one side and up the mountains on the other.

The plants that are familiar to me are cedar and hemlock, salal and salmonberry. The orchards feature apples and pears, and if you go inland a bit, peaches and cherries.

So I was particularly aware of the very different landscape during a recent visit to Sicily: the arid, colourful, tropical world of the Mediterranean.

As a gardener, I seem to take a mental inventory of all the unfamiliar flora that comes into view. Well, it starts out as a mental inventory, but soon it turns into a photo opportunity. Here are a few from Sicily.

First, there were the flowers. In late October, the hibiscus were blooming everywhere.Having spent more than 65 years living on the fringes of a North American rain forest, I’ve become pretty used to being surrounded by tall trees, evergreens that creep down to the seashore on one side and up the mountains on the other.

First, there were the flowers. In late October, the hibiscus were blooming everywhere.

Closeup of three hibiscus flowers in bloom — red, yellow and white
Hibiscus in Sicilian gardens (author’s photo)

Then there were plants I’d never seen in their natural state (several of which are apparently imports, if not invasive species. These included a cotton bush; eucalyptus; and a spectacular blossom called a “Dutchman’s Pipe” which the Internet tells me is native to Brazil.

Photos of a cotton plant with white puffs; yellow stringy flowers on a eucalyptus tree; a huge magenta flower that looks quite otherworldly.
Cotton, eucalyptus and something called a Dutchman’s Pipe (author’s photo)

The one that surprised me the most was the prickly pear cactus: these tree-sized cacti were everywhere on the roadsides, in the gardens, for sale from roadside vendors, and their fruit turned up frequently at the breakfast buffet.

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CorkscrewAnnie

Recreational writer, collector of antique corkscrews, urban gardener and retired management consultant to social profit organizations. Proudly Canadian.