After doing some work in the garden, we have realised just how useful our neighbour’s mediaeval tower is.  We were complaining before, about the fact it shades the garden from late afternoon.  Thank goodness, if recent weather is any indication of the summer months to come.  It was a warm 24 degrees the other day, and the terracotta tiles on the ground and in the retaining walls of the flowerbeds were radiating heat well into the evening.

On the way home from Perugia, we stopped at our local garden centre to buy some Verbena bonariense plants that I plan to plant amongst my lavenders to add some height.  Thank you to friend R. for rescuing said lavenders from our garage in the UK after they were delivered there too early, especially as I thought there were about 72 but it appears there are quite a few more!  The garden centre here is so tempting.  They are situated on the side of a hill overlooking Lake Trasimeno and have several polytunnels and tiered levels of garden packed with a good variety of flowering shrubs and trees.

Sadly, the garden is too small to accommodate a row of Tuscan cypresses (or even one). But we have decided to put in a Seville orange tree. They are the hardiest orange (it does get cold here in winter), and it means we will have free marmalade for life.  The tree we have chosen was grown in a garden centre (vivaio) in Giarre, just outside Catania, Sicily.  When we lived there we probably drove past it numerous times and so it felt right to give this tree a home.  It will need protection in the winter but we can do that; it will just be so exciting to have one.  Jamie has dug a very deep hole for it in the garden (at the third attempt, as he kept hitting old brick walls and rubble). The grumpy neighbour wanted to know what the big hole was for, and I was tempted to joke about it then thought better of it.  He was nonetheless concerned about how big the tree was going to be and whether it would survive. But I said it was small enough for us to manage and to cover if necessary.  Ho hum.

We collected several fallen oranges while we chose our tree, and this made six pots of marmalade.  Jamie has calculated  that the cost of the tree means that we will break even (in jars of marmalade) some time in 2040: that’s something to live for.


Meanwhile, I have planted my herb garden along the side wall and hope the rosemary, sage, chives, coriander and thyme survive.  The mint has to stay in a pot as it can be a bit rampant. But as long as there is enough for the odd mojito or three, I am happy.

The stunning wisterias that are in flower everywhere are also too vigorous for our small space.  There are particularly dramatic examples around, even on the side of roads and rambling through trees and they seem to be less invasive than our native kind. But when they are trained tightly through railings and pergolas they appear to have been chopped back to nothing and so when we return to Nailsea our specimen will be in for a severe short back and sides.


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