Posted by: Debra Kolkka | June 28, 2014

Farewell Casa Debbio

It is time for me to go home to Australia. I hate to leave Casa Debbio, especially as the garden is really starting to take shape. I have planted lots of new things and I have been enjoying watching everything grow.

Thursday was my last day at the house and it was a perfect end to my stay. The weather was delightful and Sisto turned on his music for my final dinner on the terrace. Fireflies arrived a bit later and I went to bed to the sound of hooting owls.

The only disappointment was that my lavender, which has more than doubled in size since last year, didn’t turn purple for me. The flowers are all there ready to go, but they didn’t take the final step. I have been talking to them every day in both English and Italian, trying to encourage them, but to no avail…maybe next week, but I won’t be there to see it.

Here is a little collection of scenes from Casa Debbio over the last couple of weeks.


I have been eating cherries from the tree, there is one gooseberry getting ripe, and lots of figs. The tomatoes, strawberries and raspberries  are growing and the little herb garden is going well.  My peonies are all growing and I am hoping for lots of flowers next spring along with the rhododendrons under the hazelnut trees.

I know Filippo will do a great job of looking after them for me. When I get back in autumn we will plant more apples, pears, plums, cherries, figs and olives on the terraces. Next spring there will be masses of blossoms…can’t wait.

I just hope the mufloni don’t move in and start eating everything.



  1. Such delightful scenes from Casa Debbio – so hard for you to leave such an idyllic place! Please excuse my ignorance, but, what is the ‘mufloni’? Birds?The thought of eating cherries made my mouth water. Can imagine the jars of conserves and preserves from the abundant fruits once the trees ripen……my mouth is watering again at the thought…. Have a great trip home, Debra!

    • Mufloni are wild goats. If you click on the word ‘mufloni’ you will see the post I wrote about them a little while ago.

  2. It is looking really lovely. Have a safe trip back home!

    • Thank you, I like to go home, but as soon as I get there I want to return.

  3. Safe travels Debra. The pictures are just beautiful. I can imagine it was very hard for you to leave.
    I had a wonderful trip to Australia in Feb/March.. Spent a week on the Sunshine Coast with the Kithers.

    • What a pity we missed each other.

  4. I don’t know how you can bear to leave it, Debra. So gorgeous! I love your caper plant–they’re everywhere here, too, and I’ve been picking them like crazy. Buon viaggio!

    • I hope my caper plant grows as big as some I have seen here. They grow in big clumps out of stone walls…amazing.

  5. How absolutely beautiful!!!
    Such a shame that you are leaving just as I am arriving….next time! You have done such a wonderful job with the garden…paradise!

    • One day we will be in Italy at the same time. See you back in Brisbane.

  6. Your heart is in two places, that is hard. But wonderful as well.. c

    • I actually have 3 places. I am still at Ponte a Serraglio and tomorrow I have to leave the apartment and head to Rome, Helsinki and then home. Just as well I love all 3 homes.

      • Oh mercy. Do you have a wardrobe in every home? So you can travel light? It is fairly easy to do at our age, we know what we look good in now, the dithering age is over!!.. c

      • I hate luggage and I try to travel light. I do have a wardrobe on both sides of the world, so that makes it easier, but I seem to always have more to carry than I want to.

      • I know that feeling.. safe travels.. c

  7. Deb, safe trip home, we leave today for Paris then Pisa, bagni tmrw night , we miss each other by a hairs breadth ! Until we meet again, hopefully September. All the best , Cherry

    Sent from my iPhone


    • I wish I was staying a bit longer so we could catch up. I hope there is some good news soon and I look forward to seeing you in September.

  8. Like two ships in the night (day) — oh Debbio Debbio , we met only briefly –alas so swiftly , but I yearn for your return .
    That’s the best Shakespeare I’ve done today !

  9. Lovely post, Debra. You are blessed with the bittersweet experiences of arrivals and departures between your two abodes.

    • I enjoy being in both Italy and Australia…and I do know how lucky I am.

  10. Have a safe trip, my friend. Looking forward to more.

    Hugs from Ecuador,

    • I head off tomorrow on the long journey home, luckily I quite enjoy the trip.

  11. HI Deb, I sure can understand your feelings about leaving. So good though that you will be returning again soon. Shame about the lavender as yes they were looking so lovely. Maybe Filippo can send you some photos. Your photos bring back wonderful memories.

    • I just know that lavender is going to do its thing any minute. I hope somebody sends me a photo.

  12. Deb,I loved this post and can just imagine that wonderful garden you have created , I can understand you being a bit torn leaving it just as it is blooming with new flowers. But on the other hand Brisbane is looking stunning to come home too.. See you Friday for a catch up about everything BDL. X

    • The garden has come a long way this year. By next summer I think it will be better again. It is time to come home and I am looking forward to doing Brisbane things.

  13. Lovely images, shame the lavender didn’t come out. Safe journey back to Australia.

    • I’m sure our guests will enjoy the lavender when they arrive in a couple of weeks. We are 600metres above sea level, so suppose it takes a bit longer the lavender down her at Ponte a Serraglio.

  14. What a wonderful garden you have created in such a short time! It is very beautiful combined with that outlook. I can never manage geraniums like that here in Brisbane. I always enjoy your posts.

    • When you consider that the site was covered in blackberries last year it is pretty amazing. The trees were already there, in fact we have cut down a lot of trees, but everything else we have planted. There is much more to do, but it is fun to plan a garden. I have had some success with geraniums in Brisbane, but they are expensive, around $25 a plant. Here in Italy they cost about €2.

      • That is VERY expensive for a geranium, well, in my opinion. In Europe they grew easily from cuttings and behaved more like a weed. When I was gardening there. Why are they soooo expensive in Oz?

      • Not all geraniums are so expensive in Australia, but these are the only ones I have managed to keep alive in humid Brisbane.

  15. Transformation….masterpiece….? Can’t find the words it’s all so beautiful !!! You must be missing it already… xx

    • Yes, I miss it already. Now I get to miss Ponte a Serraglio when I leave in a few hours.

      • Buon viaggio…. And if you are in Melbourne this time round of course be sure to get in touch. x

      • Grazie, I would love to visit Melbourne…you never know.

  16. Looking forward to seeing you Deb. The garden looks fantastic, you are a marvel. So nice to see a pic of our lovely Paul too. xx

    • Paul and Xavier were my last visitors and we had a lovely dinner with Sisto’s music.

  17. Just shared your lovely post on my Facebook page.

    • Thank you for that. I hope your friends enjoy it.

  18. Debra, I always highly enjoy your posts on your blog. At times I just wish to be within a finger snip in your neighborhood. While you are gone to Australia, to you rent out your house to Italian lovers like me? Have a great trip and enjoy your time on the other side of pleasures. Cornelia

    • We do rent the house when we are not around. If you go to the Rent our mountain house page at the top of the blog you can see the inside as well. Our first guests for the season arrive in a couple of weeks and I am sure the lavender flowers will be there waiting for them.

      • Thank you Debra, I will check it out. Your guests are so lucky to enjoy your lavender.

  19. Debra thank you for sharing those beautiful pictures of Casa Debbio. The flowers, the gardens, the trees and the mountains are just breathtaking. Buon viaggio.

    • We love our house in the mountains. It has been a lot of work, but it is very satisfying to see it come together.

  20. Stunning photos; safe travels back home. Disappointed that we didn’t get to have that drink together at Bar Italia. We’ve been so occupied with helping our nephew have the most beautiful wedding here in La Lucchesia. Eighty guests from all over the world were blown away by the beauty of this area. It was the thrill of a lifetime to witness this event in the tiny church of Pieve dei Monti di Villa. Il Biribisso in Granaiola did a fabulous job with a mini reception for all the guests who then traveled to Villa Oliva in Marlia for a most memorable night.
    Thank you for all that you do on your blog. Once we are back home and missing this area, it is great to know we’ll be reading your updates. Mille grazie.

    • We will catch up eventually. I’m pleased the wedding was such a success. It is wonderful to see the villages come alive.

  21. The little rock walls and new garden bed looking great! Thanks again for your hospitality Deb. X

    • Thank you for your muscle power. You will have to come back next year to see how your garden is progressing.

  22. How beautiful! You certainly have been working. Just think – next summer everything will be more established and thriving! Safe trip home. Shame you’ll miss the summer!

    • Next summer we will see a big difference. I am impatient and want to see it all happen now, but it just doesn’t work that way.

  23. Hey Deb ! I love reading your blogs , if your in Sydney would live to see you ! Freya

    • I love Sydney and it is a few years since I have been there. It could happen.

  24. It feels as if you just returned. Will miss seeing your beautiful pics. of the garden

    • Perhaps our guests could be persuaded to take some photos and send them to me.

  25. Safe travels! As usual it’s been wonderful following your time in Italy. I look forward to hearing more form your other home.

    • Brisbane is never as popular as Italy on the blog, but it is a beautiful city and I love to share it.

  26. How beautiful! You have done a remarkable job. Coveting those white garden lounge chairs 🙂 I can imagine your sadness at leaving all this behind Debra!

    • It is difficult to leave, but I know I will be back, and I have to go home sometimes.

  27. I have so been waiting on more of your garden, the sculptures, peonies, herbs and all. It truly is a magic place, you have created a marvel! This is a post to see over and over again.
    And, did you manage to get your car up to the house again?!

    • It has been amazing to watch it grow, and there will be even more next year.
      We have bought a small 4wheel drive car to make it a bit easier to get to and from the house.

  28. If you don’t mind me asking Debra, where does Filippo live?
    Also, what is the white flower with the long delicate stamens?
    Many thanks.

    • Filippo lives in Vergemoli. The flower is a caper flower. Capers are the unopened flowers of the plant. This one has definitely opened.

  29. Debra, Everything looks so lovely! Your hard work is definitely paying off. Wade and I want to again “thank you” for your hospitality in sharing your home with us! Look forward to seeing you and JIm soon (in November, if you are there!) We’ve booked our flight, and are counting the days. Safe travels, and enjoy your visit “home”!

    • I am not sure yet whether I will be there in November. I will probably have to go back early September as we are trying to renovate our balcony at Ponte. It should have been done in May, but you may be surprised to learn that our permissions haven’t come through yet.

      • How can I be surprised at the lack of permission! LOL! Hope all is well with you, and we’ll keep you posted on our plans once they are finalized for November.

  30. Hi Debra- lovely post of Casa Debbio! Can’t believe how much the garden has grown since our visit last year! It looks so beautiful – lots of hard work and much love invested! Safe travels home to Brisbane

    • There has been much progress this year. Next year will be even better.

  31. Hi Debra! What a lovely collection of pics! I felt at home for a while looking at them! My mum loves geranium and she always plants them in spring! They are beautiful! I am from Genova and she often send me pics from our terrace with her geranium and the sea in the distance :)!
    Thanks for sharing with us your lovely pics :)!
    Have a lovely day!

    • Geraniums do very well in Italy and they are such happy flowers.

  32. Wow : I can see why its hard to leave, truly a credit to you.
    This is paradise.. I will have to pop in on my next trip to Bagni di Lucca.
    Safe Travels Lorraine and Frank x

    • Come back next spring for all the blossoms.

  33. Oh Debra, Casa Debbio is looking so lovely….you have certainly done a lot of work this trip…..and the results looks great.

    • There has been lots of work done this spring and it is going to be gorgeous next year.

  34. Debra I still remember the construction photos! How far it has all come and how impressive it looks today 😀

    • It has been wonderful to watch the things I planted last year do so well. Next year will be even better.

  35. Deb, your Casa Debbio looks amazing, when can i rent it ?… 🙂 safe travels and would love to catch up on your return for some advice on buying property in Italy. Let me know when your schedule is free to catch up at Harvey’s, Love Sandra

    • Casa Debbio is available from mid September. I will be back in a few days. I would love to talk to you about Italy.

  36. Outstanding collection of the beauty at your home. Hope the travels back to the southern hemisphere go well … and Brisbane welcomes you with open arms.

    • Casa Debbio is developing very nicely. I can’t wait to see the fruit trees I plant in autumn flower next spring

      • Cheers to your love for the place and the region!

  37. looks beautiful!

  38. Why must you go back?

    • I like my home in Australia, but it doesn’t stop me missing Italy.

Leave a Reply


%d bloggers like this: