This second itinerary across Lombard nurseries will guide you through the area in the province of Varese, extending from the lake of the same name to Lake Maggiore. This territory is very rich in gardens and nursery tradition and a landscape almost untouched by man: seen from above, it shows a sequence of mountains, valleys, woods, lakes and rivers, historic parks and villages, ancient paths to be discovered on foot, on horseback or by bike. The itinerary will lead you through rare plants, orchids, 19th Century shrubs, irresistible fuchsias, charming perennials and annuals, but also azaleas, rhododendrons and other acid-loving plants whose cultivation characterised floriculture and the great historic gardens in the area, Italian but mostly English.
If you wish, you can connect this itinerary directly to the previous one: Wandering nurseries: from Milan to Padova, along the Naviglio (Lombardy/1)), starting from Cooperativa sociale Cascina Bollate, only 26 km away from Il Giardino delle Essenze Perdute – the first nursery of this second itinerary.
The map indicates the nurseries and the other locations of the suggested itinerary. For each nursery, we indicate its distance from the others, in order to facilitate you in the choice of the ones to visit and their order.
Il Giardino delle Essenze Perdute, Borsano di Busto Arsizio (Varese): it grows scented leaf pelargoniums, begonias, perennial herbaceous, but is particularly specialised in fuchsia, with a collection of more than 400 varieties, one more beautiful than the other.
Distance from other nurseries: km 30 from Floricoltura Coccetti – km 8 from Il Giardino delle Essenze Perdute – km 50 from Floricoltura Lago Maggiore – km 31 from Orchidea di Morosolo – km 26,5 from Agricola – km 28 from Floricoltura Riboni. .
Podere Restelli, Olgiate Olona (Varese): this floricultural farm established in 1885, is now run by Sofia Meda, architect, landscaper e plant breeder of an artistic and introverted spirit, who renovated the old iron and glass greenhouses dating back to the end of the 19th Century, introducing a collection of special shrubs and botanical roses, dahlias, rare irises, perennial and annual herbaceous plants, most of them with big colourful flowers, like sage, zinnia, marigold and Mexican aster belonging to ancient varieties of the 19th Century. Sofia Meda reproduces them through grafting and from seeds and grows them without pollarding them, letting them free and gently ruffled.
Distance from other nurseries: km 30 from Floricoltura Coccetti – km 8 from Il Giardino delle Essenze Perdute – km 50 from Floricoltura Lago Maggiore – km 31 from Orchidea di Morosolo – km 26,5 from Agricola – km 28 from Floricoltura Riboni.
Floricoltura Coccetti, Sesto Calende (Varese): established in the 1960s by Aldo Coccetti, who introduced little known varieties and species from all over the world, it is now run by his daughter Marina, always ready to give advice about plants and suggestive combinations. Here you will find almost a thousand of species and varieties, roses, perennial herbaceous and clematises, with collections of peonies, irises, geraniums, hostas and gentians. What’s more, Marina often organises open days and gardening classes.
Distance from other nurseries: km 23 from Floricoltura lago Maggiore – km 35 from Il Giardino delle Essenze Perdute – km 30 from Podere Restelli – km 27,5 from Orchidea di Morosolo – km 24 from Agricola – km 34,5 from Floricoltura Riboni.
Floricoltura Lago Maggiore – Cerro di Laveno, Mombello (Varese): this historic nursery, now run by the brothers Roberto, Dario and Luciano Piffaretti, reproduces and grows acid-loving plants, camellias in particular – Camelia japonica and its hybrids, C. japonica Higo and Rusticana, camellia flowering in autumn and winter (C.sasanqua, C. hiemalis, C. vernalis), C. reticulata and its hybrids – , and hybrids of other species, also available in big exemplaries. Over time the cultivar selected some cultivar, among which ‘Marta Piffaretti’, small-leaved and small-flowered, in 1974; ‘Cadeau de Noel’, small-flowered and similar to a tiny rose; and ‘Bianco Natale’, double-flowered, white and very small, flowering at Christmas time, in 1985. The view from the nursery is irresistible.
Distance from other nurseries: km 22,5 from Orchidea di Morosolo – km 55 from Il Giardino delle Essenze Perdute – km 50 from Podere Restelli – km 23 from Floricoltura Coccetti – km 23,5 from Agricola – km 30 from Floricoltura Riboni..
Orchidee di Morosolo, Casciago (Varese): they have been growing orchids for two generations, and the third is already learning the ropes in the greenhouses. Created after the war as a small floricultural company, it soon found their present vocation thanks to Edmondo Pozzi, son of the founder, the fell madly in love with these fascinating plants when he was very young. Edmondo, friendly and knowledgeable, produces now, with the same passion he had at the beginning, countless orchids: almost 2000 botanical species (some very rare), the most common hybrids, miniatures no bigger than 1 cm flower included, and amazing specimens for display. The greenhouses of the nursery are more similar to a botanical garden than to a floricultural company, therefore, it is worth the visit also for people who are not orchids-lovers.
Distance from other nurseries: km 6 from Agricola – km 37 from Il Giardino delle Essenze Perdute – km 31 from Podere Restelli – km 24 from Floricoltura Coccetti – km 22,5 from Floricoltura Lago Maggiore – km 6 from Floricoltura Riboni.
Agricola Home & Garden: situated at the gates of Varese, it is a very particular garden centre. Established by Giacomo Brusa, besides offering the usual departments arranged differently (Home&Flowers, Garden&VegetableGarden, Animals&Cuddles, Green&Solutions), it also produces a large part of the plants they sell and is also dedicated to the education of their employees (all with a degree in Agriculture or agriculturalists) and of their clients through gardening classes, plant exhibitions, and the phytosanitary service. Vases and furniture are tasteful and varied; there is also a large choice of pesticides and organic fertilizers, among which cards to buy insects and other enemies of pests; rich and unusual the choice plants. Plants, even the smaller ones, are mostly locally sourced, therefore they present a plug with evenly distributed root and have the correct nomenclature. It is also possible to buy vases and boxes with bulbs and other plants.
Distance from other nurseries: km 6 from Floricoltura Riboni – km 31 from Il Giardino delle Essenze Perdute – km 26,5 from Podere Restelli – km 34,5 from Floricoltura Coccetti – km 23,5 from Floricoltura Lago Maggiore – km 6 from Orchidea di Morosolo – km 15,5 from Floricoltura Riboni.
Floricoltura Riboni/Orchideria Riboni, Varese: this nursey-garden centre is specialised in orchids, among which botanical species and hybrids, but also in tillandsias and it sells all that is necessary for their care and set up. Among the rarities, black orchids (species of the genus Fredclarkeara and Cycnoches): small, as dark as night, alluring and easy to grow, says the owner Alfredo Riboni, who will give you all the necessary information.
Distance from other nurseries: km 32 from Il Giardino delle Essenze Perdute – km 28 from Podere Restelli – km 34,5 from Floricoltura Coccetti – km 30 from Floricoltura Lago Maggiore – km 9,5 from Orchidea di Morosolo – km 15,5 from Agricola.
At the end of this second itinerary among Lombard nurseries, you can continue by connecting to the itinerary Andar per vivai: Como e Lecco, la via dei Laghi (Lombardia/3), reaching Vivaio Baradel, only 44,5 km away, or you can follow the itinerary Andar per vivai: Monza e Brianza, alla corte di Teodolinda (Lombardia/4), and visit Floricoltura Fenix, only 23,5 km away.
Gardens in the province of Varese
They are so many and so beautiful that it is really hard to tell you about them all. We only indicate one, and advice you to find the others on www.luoghi.italianobotanicaltrips.com/dimore-storiche-con-giardino and www.luoghi.italianobotanicaltrips.com/giardini-e-parchi storici in Lombardia; otherwise, you can also look at those in the province of Varese, or go through all the fact sheets about Varese, alphabetically ordered: you might wind something interesting.
Villa Cicogna Mozzoni, (Varese): this amazing villa dating back to the second half of the 15th Century, is situated within a great Renaissance garden divided into seven terraces and a romantic English park. Absolutely not to be missed, the villa is now inhabited by the heirs that run it, together with the nearby small farm.