6 Aug 2013

Italy: maintaining the land - a job well done

In case you might think that my husband, (Mr P),  got lost in the long grass when he was tidying up the garden you can see that he managed to get to the last corner after a few days and the job was completed.
Thankfully, the weather was not too hot and the best time of the day for working in the garden was early in the morning or in the late afternoon.
All the ornamental trees are getting too thick and tall and have to be thinned out every now and again. The box hedge and the bay trees have always looked good, but DH is going to cut the top off the bay trees as it's now difficult to stretch up on a ladder and safely do the topiary.  We planted a different type by mistake (which has golden-coloured leaves) on the left hand side, but it's never done well and is getting more and more sparse.

All the grassy areas got cut three times and underneath the long grass it was very dry.  At least it was possible to get to the fruit and nut trees that mostly grow around the edge.

Our garden is one of grassy and wooded areas, ivy-clad walls, rambling roses and flowering bushes that are left to grow in a natural state.

One afternoon there were rumbles of thunder that echoed around the mountains and suddenly we had a violent hailstorm.  Next day we heard that trees were down in a lane in the village and vegetable plots had been damaged including the developing tomato plants.  Some of our grapes were bruised and split which meant they would go rotten, although most of them are sheltered by the pergola structure and the canopy of vine leaves.

These photos were taken before the storm.  There are grapes (Trebbiano and Malvasia) grown for producing white medium-dry wine for our household consumption.  It's similar to Frascati wine which is grown in the Alban Hills south of Rome.
We also have some white table grapes and some black/red strawberry grapes, which I've mentioned before, that smell and taste like strawberries.  The problem with the strawberry grapes is that they are small, have thick skins, lots of pips and leave a purple stain on the hands and the lips. However the perfume is wonderful and they are delicious!