Gardening, My Diary, Seasons, Trip

Last garden outing? Surely not

The latest outing was planned and organised by the Garden Club of Monza, not as well-attended as it should have been unfortunately. And the weather …… awful ,after a wonderful week of sun, anyhow we went up to ….. the nursery Anna Peyron. We had been there before, in fact it’s where I first got the idea of a hydrangea tree and decided to let my beautiful macrophylla grow into a tree. We had a nice if slippery and wet walk round the nursery, very much left to its own devices to see how the plants behave when they are not too manhandled. The owner’s daughter Saskia took me to see the tree that had inspired me and I was able to ask a few questions which she answered very willingly. On our walk round she illustrated a little experiment she’d done on a rose bush; half of it had had the summer chop or if you prefer green pruning, the other half left to mature, wither and make hips. The difference was absolutely astounding, the pruned bush was pink all over with roses so next summer I think I’ll try my hand at summer pruning.

Hungry? We then went to a restaurant inside a rocca (La Rocca di Arignano) dating back to the year 1000.What an experience! In the entrance, together with the books and studies concerning the building was a beautiful modern piece of art work. (it’s by Arnaldo Pomodoro entitled “La Soglia and is one of only three examples) We went down to the dining room though I’m tempted to call it dining hall. Everything on the menu was unusual and one of the ladies was going to opt for the risotto (which is the people of Lombardy’s default menu) but we convinced her to try the taster menu.Thank god, it was fantastic. Comments like “I’ve got some of this in my garden” (plantain? ) “Is this …….”, “Can you taste the……?”a fantastic meal , washed down by a couple of bottles of the good stuff (Nebbiolo), thanks to Oliviero. Next, feeling warm and replenished and very good humoured, off to the second nursey in serious rainfall

Feletig had organised a group of like- minded people to hold a small garden show but of course there was quite enough to keep us busy. Some interesting plants with autumnal colours and particularly berries. The garden is a year-round project after all. There were some garden antiques and an English lady demonstrating water colour botanic painting. I was happy to find the young people I’d met before who have set up a firm selling wood chippings, and I’m looking forward to experimenting with them. Home lateish but extremely happy with my single plant ( symphoricarpos) and a bag of chippings!

Wicca's Diary

Wicca’s Diary 8

She’s a dear woman and we get on like a house on fire .She writes too much though, I’ve literally had to jump onto the keyboard and prance on it until she lets me get a look in at the blog.

Something very strange has happened; it seems to me that there is less light than there was. I jump on her bed in the morning at the usual time and she grumbles “Wicca it’s half past 5!”.What’s that mean? I know when I have to eat don’t I! She also makes a fuss about leaving the door open as we’ve always done, says it’s cold. I suppose it might be for humans, poor naked things that they are. I’m not cold although I have changed from my daytime cushion where I do my toilette to a softer deeper warmer one at night. I’ve upped my calorie intake too. She says I eat as if there’s no tomorrow but I really want to put on some weight because I absolutely have to let the yellow cat (ginger I suppose but for me he’s yeller!) actually know who’s boss round here and he’s twice my size. But the reason I’m writing this is a rant directed towards my human. She has moved the bird table from a very convenient position accessible both from a tree branch or the fence and she’s put it in the middle of the lawn!

So if the birds do come there’s no hope of being able to get at them! Oh Anne you’re making my life more difficult, I can’t fly you know. Haven’t you enjoyed the dead birds I’ve brought you? And I’ve also brought you some delicious little mice so you don’t have to go hunting. (I’ve underestimated my human,she simply”hunts” in a different way to me. She goes out and comes back with a lot of bags full of the weird stuff she eats, I believe it’s called “shopping” or “going to the supermarket”)

I’m off on my evening rounds now; she’s finished in my garden for today and I must say it’s looking good. I just hope she remembers not to cover all the soil up with bark chippings otherwise I won’t know where to sh*t

Gardening, My Diary, Trip

Perhaps my Favourite Garden Show

This year I made the usual trip to the castle of Masino, a FAI property and pretty interesting if you like castles. All around in the ample gardens they hold the” 3 days for the garden ” shows in conjunction with the Italian FAI (a kind of National Trust organisation).For members the entry price is slashed. And you get a ticket for a free tasting of marmalades from Kolymbethra, a property in Sicily with the most marvellous array of marmalades; Bitter orange ( what we English call Seville orange), Blonde orange and Bergamot marmalade,tasting over, I strolled round the stands asking my questions as I went – the consolation for going on your own is of course that you can spend as long as you want talking to the nurserymen and women and you don’t have to worry about your friends standing behind you totally bored! I asked about chickens, I really would love a bantam or two but I think my neighbours would object. They’d probably destroy my garden too and the cat would take umbrage. But they are cute. I also tried to get some worms but the man had only brought worm compost with him this time. I probably don’t really need any more because my lawn is disfigured by worm casts but I like to encourage people who make, grow or do unusual things. I walked round a couple of times hoping I wouldn’t forget where I’d bought my plants from…it can happen. I only bought a few this time (ordered some others from a nursery nearer home) a low growing Verbena and a lovely, delicate Thalictrum, which will shoot up to about 2 metres next year. . But it’s lunch time and though there’s a limited choice, the food available is so good you don’t need much to choose from! There was polenta and porcini mushrooms, fantastically good, washed down with something red and Piedmontese, or my latest favourite “orto fritto” which is great: eggplant, zuchini, sweet semolina, fennel, big sage leaves, macaroons, borage, apple rings oh just too good to be true. Burning hot and crisp. I love it. I sat on the ground to eat it, all the bales of straw were taken, and it was great. Another little wander round before going back to get some groundcover roses I’d seen in the morning and I found the stall of a lady who makes mead. Sounds very prehistoric and Anglo Saxon to me. Well I tried it and it was interesting. I guess it would be a good talking point at any party. I preferred the after-dinner mead to drink with sweet dishes, particuarly those crusty biscuits they eat in Italy accompanied by vin santo. I want to get home before it’s too late so off I go to buy the wonderful rose…….it’s gone! What a dope! I hadn’t asked its name or taken its picture so now I’m high and dry. This has never happened to me before and I’m kicking myself. How could I have been so silly. Well there you are, back home with an unusually empty car and a correspondingly fuller purse. (Til next week when there are two more nurseries in the pipeline).