2 May 2016

Our Italian garden in April

It's been over five months since the last time we were in our home in Italy as we didn't go in March, (the usual time when we go there so that Mr. P. can prune the vines).  As a brother-in-law looks after the vines he had already done this, so that was one less task to do in garden maintenance.  My sister-in law goes with her husband when he's working on the vines and opens up the house and even sweeps around for us, which is very kind of her since she has her own large house to clean. Giving the house an airing and keeping the garden in good order is the priority and an important part of our time spent there. Seasons come and seasons go, but the cutting of the grass, the pruning of the trees, weeding etc. goes on forever. I hope regular readers of this blog won't be bored with the repetition of what we have to do in the garden and newer followers can read more about our times in Italy by clicking on the Italy link on the side bar.
Everything was going so well for the first few days we were there.  The sun began to shine and we were ready to get going with the work in between food shopping, getting the car out and running and some leisure time in the local town. Then we picked up another cold etc. after attending a very enjoyable family party. Things didn't improve and eventually we made an appointment to see the doctor. There had been plans to replace the guttering, arrange for someone to paint the exterior walls (which would have needed scaffolding and dry weather), but in the end organising this big project didn't happen.   Nevertheless, the grass got cut a couple of times using a high setting on the petrol mower, bushes got pruned and a balcony railing got painted with metallic paint (for low maintenance).  My role as usual was to make sure Mr. P. didn't overdo things because of his painful back and hip problems and keep us fed and watered - literally in my case since all I wanted to do was drink mineral water due to my sore throat. Due to not being well we lost our appetites, which was a shame when there was so much lovely deli food to enjoy and I lost my voice, which didn't really matter as we kept ourselves to ourselves, don't have a landline phone and only communicate by texting.
Here are some before and after photos in and around the garden taken during April.

   


A pear tree to the left and an apricot tree (which had already blossomed).


Pear and plum trees grow at the bottom of the slope. There are white and purple figs, walnut and hazelnut trees.







Mr. P. had planted some new rose bushes by the retaining wall and once the grass was cut you could see that they were doing well. In fact, roses are planted everywhere as they just ramble and mainly look after themselves.  However, Mr. P is trying to keep hedges and bushes at a height that can be managed easily, apart from the bay tree arch, which needs a step ladder to trim the top of it.






We've been undecided about the cypress trees.  They've grown much too tall and bushy even though they get thinned out each time and they also block the view across the countryside to the distant mountains.  Mr. P. only managed to cut the crown out of one of them and trim the branches that are growing too near a row of fruit trees.  Then the branches have to be cut up and tidied away, which is time consuming.



As well as the pear blossom, the apple and peach blossom looks pretty and, of course, we hope there'll be no winds and frosts to damage the emerging fruit.  My sister-in-law, as I've mentioned before, gathers our fruit and adds it to her own produce.  If there's a glut of fruit she makes jam or bottles it.




It's a shame in a way that the grass has to be cut as there are lots of wild flowers in amongst the grasses that the bees and butterflies appreciate, but on the other hand it has to be done otherwise the grass would become a jungle and because snakes might lurk there.  Mostly the snakes can be found in the bramble hedges at the back and one side of the property that grow on the surrounding uncultivated land. Instead, the long strands of grass once it dries out is used by the birds to build their nests.  I got a surprise when I saw a small bird fly up next to the first floor kitchen window with these long pieces of grass in its beak and it probably landed on the roof.  In fact, it's always interesting to see the different birds flying around. The swifts had returned and were swooping around so fast I couldn't get photos of them. There were blackbirds, larger birds that were possibly some sort of crow. Birds of prey were flying high up in the sky heading for the trees in highest part of the wooded hillside opposite our house.




I found some wild asparagus growing amongst the rose bushes and hedges in the front garden. Together with some that my sister-in-law had gathered on her land and the fresh eggs she gave me I made an omelette.  You only use the tenderest tips as the stalk can be very woody in texture.






A young cherry tree in the foreground.

Mr. P. picked those wild anemones and the Star-of-Bethlehem flowers that I love so much and presented them to me.



Time for some lunch bought at our nephew's deli and some wine (last year's grapes from our land put together with our brother-in-law's own harvest).



the asparagus omelette

More sweeping to do around the house and then some quiet time crocheting whilst Mr. P. had a well deserved rest in the afternoons.



I unpicked one of the squares on the blanket that the daughters had crocheted years ago as it had some broken threads in the middle. I used some of the yarn and some of my own to remake a new square. That blanket has become quite a comfort blanket as it's lovely and warm wrapped around my legs on chillier evenings. 
Our time in Italy to be continued....

I hope you're having a good week,
Linda :)



35 comments:

  1. You are certainly blessed with a beautiful home and garden, what a joy. Hope you are feeling better now.

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    1. Yes, we're blessed to have the Italian house in a beautiful location. Life slows down and we try to make the most of our time there.

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  2. Wonderful to spend some Italian time with you, glad the sun shone on you!

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    1. We certainly appreciated some sunny days and the warmer temperatures during the daytime.

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  3. Your Italian garden must be a month ahead of your English one, with the roses and irises. And what a lovely spot to sit and crochet in the warmth of the sun.

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    1. It's very odd to come back to the UK and see different varieties of daffodils still in bloom. In Italy they had flowered in March and died by the time we arrived at the beginning of April. The daffodils and tulips in the UK garden are taking a battering because of the heavy rain showers. The pear tree is full of blossom.

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  4. How nice to have a home in Italy and the UK. Too bad your were under the weather. I can understand the task to keep hubby from overdoing it. Looking forward to seeing more from your time in Italy.

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    1. Thank you Ellen. I'm glad you find my journal about our times in Italy interesting. Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment.

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  5. Oh Linda, thank you for this wonderful, wonderful post! I'm very sorry you were not well, but you managed to take lovely photos to share with us.
    The landscapes look so familiar and dear. (They make me think of "our" areas on the Apennines.) Fruit trees blossoming, wild asparagus in the omelette, climbing roses and cypress trees... But what we don't have is a nephew that owns a deli. :) That would make life almost too perfect! Do you like "peperoncini ripieni"?

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    1. I'm going to write about some of the wild flowers that I saw growing in the woods up in the mountains. I have some difficulty in identifying some of them so do let me know if you can any when i share the photos. Thank you. I haven't had baked stuffed peppers for a while and something to prepare and cook when our sweet peppers are ready later in the year.

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  6. Such a great post of your beloved Italy. Life is good in your garden or enjoying delicious healthy food and even crocheting in the sun on a balcony, but so sorry you both did not feel well, that happens sometime. Hope you both are recovered by now and fully enjoy the Italian life.

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    1. Thank you Jenneke. Sunny weather and lovely green woods to look at does help one to relax as does my newly-acquired skill of crocheting! Hopefully the weather will perk up here in the UK for May - a month that I love and I'm glad to be in England for it. I hope you're well and will be coming by to see how you're doing very soon.

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  7. I so love your beautiful Italian home and the garden (so much of it!) is gorgeous.
    It must be so relaxing to go there and chill out, even if you when you were ill I'm sure it helped greatly in your recovery. It looks like a totally different way of life to here in the UK.
    Loved seeing all flowers.
    You need to take some rose cuttings and pop them in the soil over the winter months and then you will be greeted with lots of new rose blooms for your table.
    Have a wonderful week :)

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    1. Mr. P. loves his gardening and even more so when he's in the Italian one clipping the hedges and tending his fruit trees - not so much mowing the grass though! Yes, he knows that trick of sticking rose cuttings in the soil, or in the case of the UK, in pots. Have a lovely week yourself.

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  8. Your Italian garden is so beautiful and your home looks lovely too. It is such a shame that you were both ill and couldn't enjoy it as much as you usually do when there. It looks as if some of the work you wanted to do was achieved. I hope you are both feeling better now. It is good to see the sun this morning after such a horrendous day yesterday:)

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    1. Yes, it was good to have a month to tidy up the garden and do the painting of the balcony rail, which had got a little rusty in patches. Mr. P. used an electric sander on the rust and then bought special metallic paint this time, which we've also used with success on the main entrance gate. He was able to sit on a chair to do the painting. Neither of us had much energy, but we managed to get some jobs done. I'm sure you'll be out and about now that the weather seems to be improving. Have a lovely week and I look forward to reading about some of your days out very soon.

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    2. Sorry, reading my comment back I think my grammar is not up to scratch at the moment, but I'm sure you'll overlook my mistakes. Thank you.

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  9. You're lucky to have your in-laws there to look after things for you, I'm sure they're a big help when you're away from your Italian home. It's such a shame that you were both ill whilst you were there this time but at least you managed to get some of the jobs you wanted doing done.

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    1. Many folk in the village are related in some way and our next door neighbours are my husband's brother on one side of the lane and a sister on the other and their children who are supportive. The sister-in-law and her husband who lived in England are the couple I'm most close to as we have a gone through many experiences together. They're very generous when we're in Italy and helpful when we're not.

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  10. Welcome home Linda. I am so glad you and Mr. P have suffered no ill effects from your time of illness. You have such a lovely Italian home and garden. I believe there are few things more beautiful than a garden that is loved. I can almost hear the birds singing and smell that omelette cooking on the stove. What a blessing to have such a wonderful place to retreat to.

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    1. Thank you Gloriade. You've just reminded me of those birds singing. I think the blackbird has the prettiest song so it was good to hear and see them.

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  11. I'm sorry you weren't feeling well during part of your Italy visit, but it sounds as if you got a great deal accomplished nonetheless. I never tire of seeing your beautiful gardens and the surrounding area.

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    1. Thank you George. I'm glad you enjoy seeing the gardens. It was a thrill to see our irises in bloom although yours I know are even more beautiful and varied.

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  12. your home and garden always make me long to visit Italy.. i never will but i sure would love to... as for me and Bob we love the grass just like it is in your gorgeous photos. tall and green and we don't mind the snakes... unless of course they are poisonous.. your gardens are fantastic... and so are the views and i shuddered when looking at your hubby on the ladder. shades of mine dong that.

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    1. Thank you Sandra. If we could regularly keep the grass down it would be less of an issue. We also have to consider our relative who has to walk under the pergola on which the vines grow in order to work on them. I take the lead from Mr. P. when it comes to snakes as he treats them with respect. I've seen huge ones and I know there are nests of vipers around and I don't like them. Some are capable of killing small animals as we know from experience.

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  13. How nice to see your place in Italy and hear of things happening in the garden. The eggs with wild asparagus sounds delicious. I just love the blossoms of springtime.

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    1. I love Springtime too. I'm looking forward to meeting you when you come to York. Buon viaggio! Have a good journey!

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  14. What a shame you both got hit by the dreaded lurgy, I do hope all is well now. I love that pic of Mr P in the Bay arch, gorgeous. You really have tackled a lot of jobs, Mr P is such a trouper. Marvelous pics as always, you do have such a beautiful home there, and land, I'm most envious of all those nut trees....and what a joy it must be to have your own wine!xxx

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    1. Thanks Dina. There are a lot of aspects of Italian life to be grateful for. We're on the mend although Mr. P. has been prescribed more antibiotics for his chest complaint and we're being well-screened medically. I hope you and your family are keeping well.

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  15. Your sister-in-law and brother-in-law are very good to take care of your home while you are gone. Says it all about how the family takes care of each other, as I am sure you would do the same for them. And no I don’t think I would ever get bored reading all the things you do in your Italian home. It always looks incredible, as these photos show. That is a splendid looking archway too. You can see all the hard work in every photo. So sorry to hear you both picked up colds though, and hope you are now 100%. A wonderful post and a very interesting read. Thank you Linda.

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    1. Thank you Denise. We're very fortunate to have this family support and close relationship.
      It gives us peace of mind on both sides. We also regularly keep in touch by phone. Our Italian/English couple often come over to the UK to see their children and grandchildren who live here.

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  16. You have a beautiful home in Italy and the garden is big with all the fruit trees and plants. But there is plenty of work to be done. So good of your bro-in-law and his wife to help look after the place during your absence. I hope you are feeling better now.

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    1. Thank you Nancy. We're feeling a lot better although my husband is still being monitored and treated for his bronchitis and I'm having some general medical checks at the moment.

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  17. It must be so nice for you and your husband to return to your pretty house in Italy. It is also very nice of your family to take care of your house and garden when you are away as if they were not there you would worry about it. Your lunch of crusty bread, salami and cheese made me very envious – that is one of my favorite lunches - con un bicchiere di buon vino rosso, naturalmente!

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    1. We're very blessed to have family living as next-door neighbours who are farm the land, work in the grounds of our house and also go in and do some cleaning. Everyone knows everyone else in a small village and it's a pleasant way to live not often found in suburban and urban communities these days.

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