Thursday, 28 April 2011

My New Friends

This year there seem to be more frogs and newts in the pond. Perhaps with the cold winters we've been having the local wildlfe have been more amorous in an attempt to keep warm...Meet Frodo the Frog and Newton the Newt...

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Tree Peony

It's been a great year for my tree peony, which has flowered its socks off this week. Sherbert lemon is not my favourite colour in the garden but you have to be grateful for anything I suppose! The petals are falling to the ground now, but the foliage is making a grand statement by the pond.

Monday, 25 April 2011

New Patio

We haven't really laid a new patio, just jet-washed the old one. What a difference it makes - you can now actually see what colour the slabs are meant to be!

Saturday, 23 April 2011

There's No Place Like Home

From sunny Italy to sunny England, with hardly a degree of difference in temperature! It's made it much easier to return to these shores with such lovely weather, and we've got stuck into the garden since we returned on Wednesday night. Plants seem to have doubled in size over the last fortnight. Here's how things look at the moment:

The stony bank is dotted with new plantings of tulips.

The cherry is full of blossom. Soon it will be dropping its petals all over the island bed, which I love.

Blue and pink forget-me-nots intermingle.

The island bed:

The pond-side area is looking good, with Lithodora, forget-me nots, dicentra, heuchera and geranium.

My young lilac is working really hard to produce blooms:

It's so good to see all this energetic growth in the garden. I hope you are enjoying your gardens as much as I am!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Villa Monastero

Right next door to Villa Cipressi is Villa Monastero - our final garden for this trip. Similar to Villa Cipressi in a way because of its location, in the way that Glendurgan and Trebah in Cornwall sit side by side, the gardens are considerably larger than its neighbour but no less splendid.

This is the view of Villa Cipressi from Villa Monastero Gardens.

Roses were in full flower.

Wisteria climbing up an Ensete. Or is it the other way round?!?

Grapefruit? Not sure to be honest.

An impressive pair of knockers...

Cercis Siliquastrum (Judas Tree) in full bloom.

So that's it. The party's over, and we're back home tomorrow. My next post will be about how my garden has faired in my absence - good friends have been looking after my seedlings so I expect I'll be pricking out in no time. Ciao!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Gorgeous Garden and Great Grub!

Today we visited Villa Cipressi in Varenna, on the Eastern shore of Lake Como. What could be better than strolling around beautiful, lakeside gardens in a comfortable 24 degrees of Italian sunshine? I'll tell you - strolling around beautiful, lakeside gardens in a comfortable 24 degrees of Italian sunshine followed by a delicious three course lunch at the Villa itself, which is now a very nice hotel. Today is our last day of garden visiting in Italy, and the heat haze coming from the water gave everything a dreamy, impressionistic quality, which I think I managed to capture in today's photos. There was a small wedding taking place on the terrace too, adding to a feeling of perfection about the place. Here are some snaps of the garden:

This is one of my favourite photos of our stay. The hazy quality is puctuated by the strong vertical lines of the cypress trees. I was so pleased that I'd managed to capture the atmosphere of this beautiful place.

We assumed she married the gentleman to her left, and not the dog...

Italians don't do health and safety. But I thought there was something charming about this uneven path.

And now for the food! I haven't had amazing vegetarian food in Italy, which has surprised me a bit. However, today made up for that - this was among the finest meals I've ever eaten. My antipasto was a beautiful and delicious combination of vegetables and pulses topped with cheese:

followed by ravioli stuffed with cheese and spinach and served with cabbage - doesn't sound appetising does it, but believe me it was yummy, so creamy and buttery and well thought out:

And dessert? Sorry but I was too greedy to pause to take a picture! Here are some of the plates of my fellow diners:

The setting was sublime, on the sunny terrace overlooking the lake and gardens:

All in all a perfect day to remember forever! I'm saving today's other garden for tomorrow. Ciao!

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Borromean Islands Part Two

Isola Madre is entirely made up of a garden and stately house, again built for the Borromeo family. What is so special about this garden is the variety of exotic birds allowed to roam free. Hence the photos below containing quite a few feathered friends as well as plants and views.