Wednesday 29 April 2020

Bursting with beauty

Every year when spring arrives it almost takes my breath away - in the last few years I have come to love winter. I love the magical mists, the intricate patterns of frosts, the clear, fresh air, the way the vistas open up and expose details that can't be seen when the trees are in full leaf, the chill that justifies the lighting of the fire and hunkering down, the beautiful sunsets and more. Yet, just as I think winter is my favourite season, spring comes creeping in and steals the top spot. The re-emergence of life, the incredible heady scents, the gentle warmth of the sunshine, the longer days, the intense green of the landscape - the incredible beauty in all that nature has to offer.

This year, more than ever, we are noticing and appreciating the way spring seems to be bursting with beauty all around us.

Almond blossom.

Almond blossom.




Wood violet.

The humble but beautiful daisy.

The much maligned but oh so pretty dandelion!

Star of Bethlehem.

Garlic mustard - Alliaria petiolata. 



A bee busy in the borage.

Vinca major/great periwinkle Pervinca maggiore.

Vinca major/great periwinkle Pervinca maggiore.

Cypress spurge. Euphorbia cyparissus.

Morimus asper.
 He was in such a rush it was hard to keep up - faster than Usain Bolt!

Bugle (and photobombing daisy). Ajuga reptans.

An oil beetle with amazing blue sheen.

Unfurling of fern fronds.

More circinate vernation.

The much maligned dandelion part 2 - with tiny visitor!

Mullein on the roadside.

Irises. Iris pallida.

Birthwort. Aristolochia rotundifolia

More iris beauty.

The delicate white woodrush.  Luzula luzuloides.

Sword leaved helleborine. Cephanthera longifolia.
Hawthorn blossom.

When your lawn is this beautiful why would you want to mow it?

Tuesday 28 April 2020

Industrious in isolation

It is now seven weeks since Italy began its lockdown. What do you do when you are on house arrest, the world outside has gone topsy turvy, and you have 12 acres of land wanting attention? You make the most of the lack of interruptions to daily life, you get as much fresh air and time in the great outdoors as possible, and you plough on with projects, and revel in the satisfaction of taking great steps forward.

Yes, we have been industrious in our isolation.

We have: strimmed all the terraces, pruned all the olive trees, finished phased 1 of the great terrace reconstruction project, felled 6 trees, built 7 veg beds, planted seeds, planted 8 new fruit trees, built two bio reactor composters, reconditioned some 5-year-old cold frames, constructed more steps, put in irrigation, filled holes in the drive, made lots of wood chip... and (finally, after 7 weeks because today it's raining) cleaned the house.

Presenting the veg garden 2020 and new terracing phase 1:

Digging into the terraces we amassed quite a collection of "archaeological" finds. Whether any of these pieces represent anything interesting (old) or whether it's all modern tat we will likely never know!