Here in Tuscany the seasons have had a strange uneven flow of late and many plants have gone into a state of confusion, to blossom or not to blossom this is the dilemma.
The last few weeks have been taken up by planting thousands of spring bulbs, Narcissus, aliums, crocus, iris, tulips you name them we've dug the holes for them. The nursery garden is full of trays and pots and we are awaiting the arrival of our new poly tunnel.
In December our latest garden design project in Tuscany kicked off with a flurry of activity. We are now in mid flow of creating a relaxed family garden designed to deter wasps, bees and other stingers as the family are extremely allergic. We are introducing meandering gravel paths, hidden corners in which to sit and relax, flower borders beneath the trees and a covered eating area. A large semi circle of neutral toned gravel has given the old Tuscan Farmhouse a welcoming entrance and we are introducing raised beds for veggis and herbs which have been handcrafted from chestnut timber poles.
The garden is taking on a whole new identity one that draws you in to different spaces and entices you to explore.
Our wonderful tree surgeon Oscar and his assistant Stefano have just completed a chestnut pergola for a woodland cottage in Pescia and also created a bespoke handcrafted wrought iron balustrade. We love including artisan or one-off designs in our garden projects as they give the outside space a unique quality. Next up on the list is a 'Alice in Wonderland' style tree-house constructed from natural timber, no straight lines here! We are building this tree house with the idea that it will last for generations and still appeal to teenagers and adults alike.
When not working in a client's garden I'm pouring over seed catalogues for a little indulgence as I have just started an orto in our own garden here near Siena. I also hope to create a small formal kitchen/herb garden or 'witches' garden as they are known here.
A few images from Bella Terra's gardens this winter...