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Walk on the Wild Side

A trek through the Garden of the Wind

On a recent visit to southern Corsica, my favorite outing was along a remote seaside nature reserve locals call the Garden of the Wind. The overall landscape is rough, wild and wooly with overabundant scrub vegetation, just as Corsicans like it. We found wild rosemary, myrtle, thyme and juniper as well as broken ground — evidence of nightly rounds made by wild boars searching for roots to feed on.

As we trudged along the balmy, blustery Mediterranean shoreline, the smell of sea air and wild herbs was intoxicating. Shoulder-high hedges of wild rosemary lined both sides of the trail and the sandy landscape was abundant with scrub pine, cork trees, wind blown thyme and prostrated juniper.

The winds were ferocious but a small price to pay for some of the island’s most dramatic panoramas. We followed a footpath for several miles with commanding views of the scenic coastline, including the majestic Campomoro, a 16th century Genoese watchtower.

A thick layer of cork lies beneath the bark of this cork tree and is harvested with a long sharp knife

Along the way, we happened upon relics of prehistoric Corsica as we turned inward to explore the island’s most notable archaeological sites. We discovered the megalithic site of Cauria, where large upright stone menhirs (a variation of stone monoliths) stood undiscovered for 5,000 years until the last century. 

We also came across a dolman, or devil’s tomb, where corpses were left to bake in the sun until petrified, expelled of any evil that lie within.

That night we returned to our hotel in the town of Bonafacio, situated 180 feet atop a white limestone peninsula, for a dinner of wild boar and spaghetti.

Gerard PampaloneGerard Pampalone

I am not a professional garden designer, landscape architect or horticulturalist. I am, for the most part, self-taught.

I don’t garden for a living, I live for gardening.

I came to gardening late in life, so I am making up for lost time.

I hope to share my insights, resources, and gardening experiences in the coming months.

My aim is to educate, enlighten and inspire gardeners to take chances, break new ground, dig deeper and stretch themselves.

As seen in:

Westport Magazine, July 2007
athome Magazine, March/April 2008