Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Little By Little

Gardens in Tuscany have never been so beautiful, in my eyes at least.  With the cooler air and the changing of the seasons the landscapes take on a whole new vibrancy.  Lately at Bella Terra we have been dividing our time between serious ground moving and hands on gardening.  Fences have been crafted from Chestnut poles in the traditional Tuscan style.  Hillside gardens have been shored up and secured using a no cement environmentally friendly system and a monastic inspired culinary herb garden designed and planted.

Over the Autumn our to-do lists are positively overflowing but all with good stuff.  Our sheds are full to the brim with 1000s of bulbs and corms and we are chomping at the bit to start on an adventure playground and tree-house fort for a family near Pescia.

For now though we are continuing our work on two wonderful gardens near Arezzo and Montespertoli both of which will in time grow to be truly beautiful.  We have planted climbing roses, aromatic herbs, lavender beds, Russian sage borders, banks and banks of iris, Box Hedging and now we are working on wild flower meadows.

Whilst I truly love working outside I am also looking forward to getting back to the drawing board this Autumn.  I have been inspired by a good friend to work on a collection of 'one stop pots' where we can provide 'instant' garden solutions for rooftop and patio gardens.  Lightweight, low maintenance and hassle free, so watch this space.

Below are a few in progress shots of projects on the go...

This garden was sliding down the hill

Chestnut uprights and horizontal metal supports secure the bank

This Eco method uses 'zero' cement

Terraces are manageable and ready for planting

Classic Tuscan fencing

The timber fence sits gently amongst the woodland setting

3 months old, the early stages of a formal kitchen garden

Dry Stone Walls, Herbs, Lemons, Apples and a quiet space to relax

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

All work no play

This season has been an incredibly busy one with projects near Arezzo, Montespertoli, Siena and Pescia.  Our days have been filled with dusk to dawn landscaping and more importantly watering, weekends have involved trips to client gardens with the children to keep the water flowing and to keep the poor thirsty plants alive.  With great trepidation dare I say it might just rain tonight?  With days spend digging, strimming, moving earth, building terraces, fencing, planting and watering I felt the need for a little thoughtful time enjoying the results of good old fashioned hard work.  So I have created a mood board on Pinterest whre you can share with me some wonderful inspirational gardens.  I have learn't so much over the years through practical work but also buy listening to others and enjoying gardens created by other designers and gardeners.  One of the most uplifting gardens for me is by designed by Patrizio Fradiani, I hope some day to create a formal kitchen garden for myself, in the meantime I am so lucky to be working on a few glorious Tuscan Gardens here near my home in the Sienese countryside.  Watch this space for images of may latest work to be uploaded soon.  For now enjoy these pics of Patrizio's garden and sign up for pinterest and see my moodboard. 

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Monday, April 2, 2012

Inspired by Others

This month I am thrilled to see that my good friend and mentor Jean Horton has a wonderful garden feature in Architectural Digest Magazine. Jean has been a great source of inspiration for me over the past few years and her knowledge of Tuscan Gardens is truly wonderful.  Jean specialises in restoring historic or lost gardens and also creating Tuscan Gardens that thrive in diverse climates.  I am very fortunate to have worked with Jean on a couple of projects and she also acts as a consultant on Bella Terra's projects here in Tuscany.  Below are a few pages from the feature...  If you would like to find out more about Tuscan Gardens or speak to Jean or myself on this subject please email: or call: 0039 0577 933326

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Rules and Regs Tuscan Style

Working in Tuscany is a joy but there are elements of this work that can prove tricky.  Take permissions for example, what might seem like a simple gardening job can turn into a legal nightmare if you don't seek the legal permissions and conduct a survey.

Whilst we have worked on projects in several different regions of Tuscany there are no set rules, each Commune will have its own structure for obtaining permissions therefore we always advise seeking the help of an experienced local Geometra.

Things to consider when planning a garden and checking for permissions include:
  • Boundaries
  • Rights of Way
  • Access
  • Heights of Garden Structures
  • Ground Moving activities
  • Pergola Designs - with or without a covers
  • Materials - local suppliers
  • Water Courses - above and below ground
  • Protected environments
  • Communal Use
  • Visibility from other Communes and Churches
Phew, yes it is a bit of a minefield and well worth checking out all queries with an expert before undertaking larger landscaping work.  I always work with nature rather than against her and this is vital in Tuscany with such wildly variable climates and I try create harmonious gardens that sit well within the environment.  Taking this approach and using locally sourced natural materials will always prove beneficial when seeking legal permissions for gardening work.

For more info on planning a Tuscan Garden call Sharon on: 334 599 5702

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

See our latest article on Tuscan Gardening on pages 24 and 24, click on the image above to link to the feature.  Hope you like it x