Garden shows, Autumn and the rest.

I mostly ask around but nine times out of ten, I have to go alone because no one is very enthusiastic. Can you believe it? They’d rather stay at home to clean the house? You’re kidding!

Off late and anxious, no early rising for me. I’ll go when I’m ready, mustn’t stress out on a Saturday too. A moment of panic: where is Waze taking me? Then a magic instant of illumination. If I don’t get there, who cares? I’ll go wherever the fancy takes me and I if get really desperate, I’ll just turn round and go back home. From that moment on it’s all downhill metaphorically speaking ( probably just the opposite geographically speaking!)

The run-up to Stupinigi is breathtaking. A really long, wide

tree-lined avenue which opens out to the vista of a huge, ornate palazzina di caccia, embraced by curved buildings. Oh, it’s lovely

The organization of Fl oREAL on the other hand was not breathtaking. I had bought my ticket on-line, proceded to the gates where a young man asked me where my bracelet was. So I went back to the ticket people and asked why I hadn’t been given one which you need to get in and out of the exhibition. And things didn’t get better inside. Should you want to use the toilet you have to ask for directions and the only food on offer was really weird, trendy vegan I’d say. Piedmont and trendy vegan in the same breath? I must admit that it’s the first year they’ve held it here, apparently it’s always been in Turin, so by next year it should be better. The volunteers were tiptop though. Fingers crossed. I met a lot of nursery owners I already knew so it was nice to see them all again. It appears that a lot of nurseries have shut down so BUY A PLANT! I also visited the exhibition of ceramics. I don’t normally like this kind of thing but I found most of them really original. I even bought a necklace! And had an interesting conversation with the person who made it. At these flower shows everyone is particularly pleasant….maybe it’s because we gardeners are naturally nice people…just saying!!!

You’d like to know what I bought, well astonishingly only one plant A double dark pink Japanese anemone. and the necklace.I’m saving my buying for Masino


Wicca’s Diary 7: Bad Girl?

I’m not quite sure if I’ve been bad or good! Certainly my poor human isn’t happy. That terrible yellow, white and tortoishell cat (what a stupid colour combo, everyone knows that only Black is Beautiful) thinks she can come here and take her place in my human’s heart! She actually got into my house while I was napping! So we had a huge spat with bloodcurdling noises. Of course Anne was terrified and came to try to separate us. ALERT: It’s impossible (and dangerous) to separate fighting cats. She tried to give her a kick but only got a scratched foot for her trouble, so then she decided ,alas stupidly, to pull me off the beast so she could push it outside but the beast scratched and bit her.

She was dripping blood all over the place and I think she was a bit frightened. It’s a pity she stopped the fight because I was winning, we’ve got tufts of white fur all over the place! Hardly any black I’m proud to say. Of course, I’m much smaller than the other neighbourhood cats, mignon you could say, but I have wild genes and I need to make sure no cat invades our garden. A cat’s life is not always an easy one.


Any time’s a good time to start again!

I imagine you thought you’d got rid of me for good…..well…..no! I just had a very long break .Autumn’s here bringing with it the season of flower shows; it is one of the most interesting times in the gardening year actually. Even Chelsea has made an unprecedented decision , fans can’t wait any longer and so they’ve decided to organise a smaller version in September.

In Italy we already have quite lot going on in September.This year they did a special Orticola though I didn’t go, I’m still wary about taking public transport…..I wanted to go to Bergamo for the ” Maestri del Paesaggio” and a student of mine worked out a fabulous itinerary but unfortunately a bout of allergy put a stop to that. However, I decided to go to Verde Grazzano which is now in its fourth year and I know it’s never crowded. It’s quite a long journey but my WAZE took me along almost totally empty motorways, it began to feel a bit like “the day after”! Verde Grazzano is a very interesting show held in the castle grounds, quite small but very selective. The best thing is the people you meet; this year at the Grandi Giardini Italiani stand I was lucky to be able to chat to a gentleman whose house and garden in Sicily has been a refuge to a huge quantity of writers and artists, and being a writer himself , he was also a wonderful conversationalist. While I was listening to him , the lady who owns a famous garden in Piedmont that I’ve already visited ,arrived and that was a lovely extra. It’s interesting to find out behind-the-scenes details that you probably overlook when you are enjoying their gardens.

There were plenty of places to eat but of course everybody had been more longsighted than me and had booked a table,but I did manage to persuade my way into a restaurant so all’s well. After lunch it was time for the big event of the day. Carlo Contesso, a garden designer was illustrating a very brief, potted history of the garden. Absolutely fascinating, and like all the best talks, left you wanting to know more.

Whats that? Did I buy anything? Well it certainly wasn’t in my plans as I’ve no more room in the garden. but you know how it is. Temptation? Can’t resist, so I didn’t even try! I did get a lovely mèlange of autumn blooms, they’ve already composed themselves into a lovely, colourful flower bed!