Good old Cicero! An Italian friend made me a bookmark with flowers from her garden and used his words: “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” I would add family and friends to that, but it’ll do.
We’ve been semi-taming our garden here in Tuscany for about eight years now. I say semi, because neither of us like a “parks and gardens” type design. Our plants have mostly been begged, borrowed or stolen (the latter in the form of seeds). My clever husband has made containers from recycled floorboards or lengths of surplus wood; we’ve purloined baskets and pots from skips or bins, or nature, in the form of hollowed-out tree trunks. Our challenge is the very cold winters (it can descend to -15 degrees) and quite hot summers (sometimes 40 degrees). So, my philosophy is to go with nature and plant what we see growing around us. Thus, I have mixed wild flowers with the more typical garden species and, in many cases, I prefer the wild. Field scabious is one of my favourites and I love the way it mingles and towers amongst my other plants, like a purple mist. We also have to contend with wild boar, who love digging up the roots of orchids that appear in our wild meadow. Porcupines love bulbs, so my heart is in my mouth about my lilies. But… these animals lived here before me and, hopefully, will live here after I’m gone.
We are at the beginning of the summer season, so there isn’t a huge amount of colour quite yet. But I have sneaked in a couple of snaps from last year in June. When I’m not writing or doing house stuff, I’m pottering outside and trying to dream up more planting schemes. I hope you enjoy my garden tableau. If you like, I will update you on progress through the summer months.