The Italian Almanac

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Italian News - May 8

Gardening is a growing passion among Italians, attracting city high-flyers and business executives, as well as pensioners and homemakers, according to a new survey. A poll of nearly 1000 Italian city-dwellers between the ages of 25 and 60 found that a third were passionate gardeners who devoted regular time to the plants on their balconies and terraces.

Gardening has traditionally enjoyed the greatest following among women in Italy, particularly housewives, who spend more time at home. But according to the health monthly that conducted the survey, Salute Naturale, this is no longer the case.

Typically, gardening is now most popular among professional males between the ages of 35 and 45. In this category, a third say they spend some time each morning on their balconies, before setting off to work, while a quarter do their gardening at weekends.

Combining gardening with a busy job leaves gardeners less time to devote to demanding plants, such as orchids and roses. Consequently, "balcony gardens" now usually include cactuses, ficuses, and herbs such as basil, sage and rosemary.