Friday, October 15, 2010

Autumn review

It is simply stunning here in Tuscany in the midst of Autumn, the vegetable garden is overflowing with leeks, pumpkin, peppers and aubergines and the small formal herb and flower garden we created this spring is finally looking established and is filling out rapidly now.

We are busily planting spring bulbs and planning a wild flower meadow on the sloping bank leading down to the olive groves.  We have harvested walnuts, sloes, rose hips and plums and all around us the vines are being stripped of their fruits, the olives too are ready to be collected in early November.  With over 100 olives trees on our shared hillside we will be busy next month.

I am currently working on a design for a walking meditation garden where a spiral pathway leads you to a arbour in which a low covered seating area allows you seclusion to sit and reflect.  Along the path will be scented herbs and plants which have healing properties such as lavender & rose.  The garden will include colours related to the shakra points in the body whilst also incorporating elements such as water, metal, crystals,wood and stone.  Drawing inspiration from monastic gardens this sacred space will not only be beautiful in appearance but also purposeful as it will include plants for use in traditional herbal remedies.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

High Summer

We are now in the throws of high summer or Ferragosto here in Italy and the 15th of August traditionally marks the end of the hardest work in the fields.  All good Italians have headed off to the beach or the mountains and days are filled with picnics - aggh not so here though.  We have a whole host of pressing jobs on our 'orto' or vegetable garden and many smaller jobs to do for clients and the issue of hydration is crucial in the heat.  Formal vegetable gardens require daily maintenance in order to retain their neatness and clearing away dry leaves from paths, corners etc also keeps the risk of fire down in hot climates.  We are already planning winter planting and are now putting pen to paper in the form of a rose garden designed for contemplation, we will be taking inspiration from traditional monastic and sacred roman gardens.  Below are a few pictures of some stunning plants thriving in the Tuscan summer.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Magic of Tuscany

Welcome to Bella Terra Garden Design, the Italian Gardener's blog and country diary. A space to gather ideas, gain inspiration and enjoy a shared passion for creating and enjoying Tuscan gardens. Here I hope to give you a real flavour for life in Tuscany, growing plants that nourish the body, feed the senses and restore the soul. Gardens that bear fruit, offer rejuvenation, heal the mind or simply enrich your life. The tranquil and uplifting scent of lavender, the heady aroma of sweet jasmine, the vibrant colours of the oleanders and the distant shadows of the cypress trees all go to make up the palette of this magical land.