Monday, March 25, 2013

The Front Gate

The Front Gate

The specialist says I must walk at least 1hr a day, building up to 2...not an ambling walk but a good striding pace that will set my heart pumping! How can I? I need to stop and admire, take pictures, investigate the plants that are growing. I've only every been able to stride when I was working in my garden when the full wheelbarrow pushed up the steep slope of Orchards was the best exercise I could have had...I've walked by this wonderful gateway many times, along cobbled streets (I can't stride on those either) that lead you from Campo towards Lenno and I've taken many photographs. Behind is a glimpse of an enormous villa which was once a monastery. I have no idea who lives there, in the 8yrs I have lived here I've seen no one. It has (had) a garden which stretches behind the villa with a narrow bridge which spans the road and continues once again. 

The entrance from the main road is pictured below. It is a gateway that is never used, rusted and edged with Ivy. It would be foolish to try as the main road is very busy. It is all so grand, maybe initially it was a grand villa for private is all such a mystery.

The Back Gate

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Reality Blog Award

It is always nice when fellow bloggers/facebook/twitter friends nominate you for an award - and Patsy Collins is all of those - as well as being a talented author. This is the second award that Patsy Collins has given to me. Thank you very much. This one is nice and simple.

You should visit the blog of the person who nominated you and link them to your blog. Then you answer the following questions:-

Q1. If you could change one thing what would it be?
Q2. If you could repeat an age what would it be?
Q3. What one thing really scares you?
Q4. If you could be someone else for the day who would it be?

Finally you nominate up to 20 more bloggers and let them know that you have nominated them.

Here goes -

Q1. If you could change one thing what would it be? 
I would want every single person in a privileged position to be accountable for their behaviour and have no special perks other than those they have worked for.
Q2. If you could repeat an age what would it be?
I would like to repeat my teens, with the knowledge I have now, so I would make more informed judgements about all aspects of my life. Life begins at forty, so they say. It did for me.
Q3. What one thing really scares you?
From a personal perspective I would answer spiders and moths. But I guess I fear most for the future generations of the world.
Q4. If you could be someone else for the day who would it be?
A cabinet I could hear the off-cuff remarks by the other ministers...not recorded in notes or the press.

I would like to nominate the following bloggers...

Jean Haines - an artist supreme...she has a blog from her website. 
Jane Way - a varied blog with lovely pictures and Jane makes potato jewellery.
Duchessdebo - writer, photographer, gardener and sweet pea obsessive.
Sara - delightful blog detailing the story of her garden.
Judith Johnson - author, bookworm. A interesting and varied blog.
Kate Hanney - Author of young fiction. Blog link from her website.
Hugh Cassidy - all about gardening - learning, growing and plants, plants, plants.

Muscari macrocarpum 'Golden Fragrance'

Flower buds
Maturing flower stem

Muscari macrocarpum
'Golden Fragrance'

I bought these delightful bulbs in the local market in a packet - almost certainly of Dutch origin as so many of them are. The name read Muscari 'Golden Fragrance'...research has lead me to add the species name although I cannot find the cultivar name in any information I have to hand. Please correct me if I am wrong.

M. macrocarpum is one of thirty species and is ideal for the long hot summers of Italy (its dormancy period). It is a fascinating perennial, from the dull, almost uninteresting colour of the buds, opening its tubular, strongly fragrant yellow flowers in spring. the foliage is somewhat lax, linear and greyish-green.  

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ever Changing Weather

I have had this lady for thirty-five years at least. I love her more now as she ages with grey lichen blotching her arms and hair. I've never had her elegance and grace but I've always envied hers.

Wherever I go she will go with me...

We thought we had finished with the snow...the day before we sat on the portico with warm sunshine on our backs. We had left unseasonal blizzards in the UK but came back to snow of our own.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Moderation is a Necessity

I've been out of circulation for several days but thanks to all of you who have visited my is getting a lot of viewers but not that many comments are left. It is good to know what you think of the posts.

It was necessary to put a moderator on the blog to stop the 'spam' coming through. So for those of you who may have tried to leave a comment and thought you hadn't - you had - but you have to wait. The comment is sent to me and I decide whether it can go on my blog or not.

IMHO I see no reason for people to remain anonymous therefore it is unlikely that I will publish your comment if you are. However, most of the anonymous comments that are left are from companies trying to tout their own business. I am not against that either as long as it is relevant and the comment left is transparent and trust me they are not.

So please, I would love you to leave more comments but be a little patient with the system unfortunately moderation is a necessity.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Donkey, donkey what can you hear?

I love this picture of these donkeys which we came across when a friend took us up and along the ridge of Monte de Lenno. It was taken at approximately 1500 metres.

The windy road that takes you this far is nerve racking, through dense woodland of chestnut, beech and birch, crossing deep gorges. I must admit I spent most of the journey facing Andrea our friend and looking at the banks rather than looking down. The road leads out of the woodland to an open plateau, an ancient stone building stands alone. In the summer months it is open for refreshments. Goats graze nearby. A sharp bend takes you back on yourself but not through woodland. It shows spectacular views of other mountains and open pastures, full of wild flowers with large horned cattle grazing or laying ruminating. Andrea was very patient with me as I asked repeatedly for him to stop, or wandered on down the narrow track with him crawling behind me in the car. As I leapt out of the car saying how sweet the donkeys were; he in typical Italian style replied 'Mmm Salami'. 

Further along the track which now climbed steadily upwards, more goats grazed alongside more ancient rustic stone buildings. A few kilometres further and the track stopped abruptly with space for a dozen or so cars to park. A restaurant commands views which pan forever. A short walk from this restaurant, where you climbed even higher you could see the lakes of Como and Lugano, by looking left or right. Stupendous. A narrow path took you through herds of friendly cows, some with very long horns. Lunch was typical of a rustic trattoria, two choices for a main course, one for a dessert, the first a selection of cheese that you wouldn't find in any shop and home made cold meats. It was one of the best days I have had since we moved here. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

No News is Good News

No news is good news, so the old adage goes. For new visitors you will not know the difference from the old look to the new, but I've spent most of the last couple of days revamping this blog.  For my regular visitors I  hope you like the layout. There is more to do but I am pleased with the time I've spent. Back to normal I hope, at least for a little while. I will have a few days away from the internet, so posting may be a problem.

I hope those who do visit enjoy the content. Please leave a comment and is very encouraging to think more people are enjoying it. See my page 'An English Garden/Lake Como' on the right hand bar. I endeavour to add to this once a month. This too is undergoing a revamp - more content to be added to that too.

Friday, March 1, 2013

A Multitude of Daffodils for St David's Day

St David's Day. I am not Welsh so I have no need to celebrate but it does give me an excuse to share this old photograph of the front vista of Orchards, taken in the 1960s (I guess).  So to any Welsh visitors this is to wish you a Happy St David's Day with a multitude of daffodils.

This photograph was taken from one of the bedrooms looking down the front vista. The greenness to the left, is a large clump of 'pheasant eye' narcissus which always flowered later than all the others, useful, in that they detracted from the untidiness of the other foliage, which had to be left at least six weeks before cutting down. Despite the brown dying foliage I loved these areas as the wild flowers and the grass took advantage and growing tall and flowering.

There were a few wild daffodils to the far left of the picture, which were in situ when Gay and Arthur arrived. The varieties grown were varied, reaching flower maturity at different times. When Gay ran a smallholding from Orchards, these were picked and packed and sold not only to the local nursery and shops but taken to London to be sold at Covent Garden where many of the bulbs were first bought. I still have the bulb planter that was used during this time. A garden tool that I too have used on many occasions.

In the far distance a grey roof can be seen. This property was on the furthest side of the Turners Hill Road some distance away. They didn't own all the land in between, but there is a notable difference in similar photographs taken decades later, when the trees have matured and blocked out the view. The innocent dark green blob to the right, is a juniper which spread its lower branches far into the vista and the cone shape nearby is a variegated holly, which decades later did the same. When Philip and I were working in the garden this holly too, had spread lax branches to the ground and layered. The only way we could deal with it, was to raise the canopy and mow over the baby hollies. A very unusual ground cover.