Posted by: Debra Kolkka | December 15, 2014

A year at Casa Debbio

It has been a lovely year at Casa Debbio. Despite some fairly ordinary weather the garden is progressing well.

Last winter was wet, but not all that cold, and most of my plantings survived. There was snow around us in the mountains, but we didn’t get any at the house.

Casa Debbio

Winter gave us some beautiful sunsets.

Casa Debbio

There were lots of misty days in January, which made for some interesting walks to the village.

Casa Debbio

Casa Debbio

Casa Debbio

The local wild goats made some early morning appearances.

Casa Debbio

Spring came slowly, but my daffodils put on a bright show, and I am completely in love with my weeping cherry. I don’t care if it never gets fruit as long as it flowers every spring. Fruit trees blossomed. Hellebores, columbines, my single peony, and bulbs planted last year appeared to my delight.

Filippo and Rocco have made lots of progress on the terrace below the house, which will eventually become a very pretty cottage garden with lavender, roses, agapanthus, peonies and other gorgeous things.

Casa Debbio

Casa Debbio

My neighbour, Vittorio, visited with his pet cinghiale (wild pig).

Casa Debbio

Unfortunately shortly after her last visit she escaped from her house and went for a walk through the village, frightened a little boy out for a walk with his grandfather, then visited the pharmacy and caused a bit of havoc and later wandered off through the forest and came back with a male friend. Piggie is no more.

I planted lots of peonies and rhododenrons and am hoping they survive the winter and flower for me in the spring.

The geraniums did well this year and my lavender was spectacular. There are now huge bunches in every room in the house. The garden beside the house grew well and our little vegetable garden thrived. I was picking raspberries until well into autumn.

In autumn Filippo and I planted lots of fruit trees. They will take a few years to produce, but I am hoping for lots of blossoms in spring. Filippo has pruned some old fig and cherry trees which should produce fruit next year.

Casa Debbio

In autumn Battista, Rocco and Filippo cut several pine trees from around the house. I have resisted this for years, but finally gave in. This is the last photo with the pines in front of the house.

Casa Debbio
The trees have gone from the front and beside the road leading to the house. We now have three more terraces to plant with more suitable trees.

Casa Debbio

We planted an advanced magnolia in front of the house which will provide shade in summer.

Casa Debbio

Everything is resting now for the winter. I can’t wait to get back in February to continue with the planting and with a bit of luck I will be watching my daffodils, peonies and other things spring to life.

…until next year.

Casa Debbio

Thank you to those who nominated Bagni di Lucca and Beyond for the Italy Magazine blogger awards. Click here if you would still like to do so. With a bit of luck and your help the blog might make the short list.


  1. This is great to see Debbie. When I came it was just a dream and now it’s perfect. Time for me to come back?!

    • It is definitely time for another visit. The garden is going to be even better next year.

  2. The year has seen the garden progress beautifully. Hopefully winter will not be to harsh and you will be off to a great start for the new year. Maybe we will see it in 2015!

    • It has just turned cold in the area in the last week. I hope my garden is OK.

  3. Beautiful!

    • Thank you. We love Casa Debbio.

  4. You’ve done some amazing work over the last few years Deb. Casa Debbio is looking spectacular!

    • You will have to return to check the progress of your rock garden.

  5. What a credit Casa Debbio is to both you and Jim. So want to see it next time I am in Italy. The garden looks wonderful -especially your peonies. No wonder we have to share you with Tuscany half the year. I don’t blame you for being there half the time. Why not?

    • I have planted about 15 peonies. I hope they grow next year. I can’t wait to get back to Casa Debbio.

  6. This is beyond beautiful. I’m forwarding to some friends who travel often in Italy and might LOVE this!!!

    • Thank you for doing that. The house is all finished and we have had happy visitors for 2 summers. The garden is a work in progress. Next year it will be even better by the beginning of summer.

  7. How beautiful Debra. A lot of work, but wonderful results. I am sure you can hardly wait to get back there.

    • This is all new for me. I have never built a garden from scratch before. I have lots of help from Filippo, Alfredo and Rocco and it is going to be stunning.

  8. Cheers to a wonderful year … and the sky in the second pic still stops me in my tracks.

    • The views from the house are spectacular. I love the clear days and the misty ones, even the rainy days. In summer the garden is filled with fireflies at night, turning it into fairy land.

  9. Lovely images, I especially like the foggy ones. Your garden looks good, well done.

    • The foggy views are gorgeous. I love to sit in the mornings and watch the clouds move across the villages below and across the valley.

  10. My fingers itch looking at these pictures! I recognise so many of your bulbs and flowers that I just could not grow here.
    I am always looking forward to read and see more about your garden, thanks.

    • You will be able towards it grow next spring.

  11. Wonderful summary of a year…

    I nominated the blog in two categories ‘Best Living in Italy blog’ and ‘Best travel blog’… 😉

    • Thank you for nominating the blog, it is very kind of you.

  12. You have the best view. I would love to sit next to the trees enjoying the amazing view.

    • We love to sit on the terrace for our meals and take in the view. It is always magical.

  13. Hi Deb, your photos are stunning. I have goose bumps looking at them and remembering my 2 fabulous visits to Casa Debbio. Wishing you a happy and fantastico Christmas Lyn x

    • Perhaps you will return one day and see the progress in the garden.

      • Thanks Deb. I certainly hope so

  14. Thank you for this and all the other posts during the year on
    BDL and Beyond, and Bella Bagni di Lucca. I’ve voted for both your blogs.
    All the articles are greatly appreciated, they provide us with a lot of information about whats going on in BDL, Lucca, Florence, and a growing list of places to visit further afield in Italy. Bravo!

    • Thank you for taking the time to nominate the blogs. I enjoy writing about the places I visit and it is nice to know that the posts are of interest.

  15. So fortunate to be able to just close my eyes and imagine being there again…..your blog total is so aptly named…….all,is BEYOND!!!!!
    Buon Natale
    Going to vote right now for your blogs……they are the best.
    See you in March

    • You will see a big difference when you return. Thank you for your kind comments and your nominations.

  16. Hi Deborah,
    Just wanted to say, thankyou for that post, pictures are beautiful, Chris & I are virtually in pain, to get back over again. What happened to the pig??
    Colette 👍

    • Poor piggie became lunch. Vittorio did his best for her, but she grew too big and couldn’t be contained.

  17. Congratulations Debra on your beautiful casa. I gave enjoyed watching it come to life from the stone rubble. When we saw you in the Ponte in 2012 you were still working hard to have the house completed. Well done. Buon Natale.

    • The house and garden have come a long way in 2 years. We are thrilled with the results. Merry Christmas to you too.

  18. As always Casa Debbio looks utterly charming. That wild pig looks about the size of a horse-or a pony at least! 😮

    • She was the size of a small pony, but she was growing bigger all the time. She was very smart and loved to go for a walk with Vittorio, but she was becoming quite difficult to control.

  19. What a beautiful tribute to your casa. Merry Christmas to you, Debrah

    • Thank you, and a merry Christmas to you too.

  20. How utterly lovely – it must be hard to leave.

    • It is difficult to leave, but I know I will be back soon.

  21. Your corner of paradise Deb… You’ve done justice to an amazing place!

    • The garden is progressing well. I am impatient and want it all to grow at once. I can’t wait for spring.

  22. How beautiful it looks and how lovely to be able to see how everything changes through the seasons. Your garden will certainly be a spectacular sight when it is complete, it must be very hard to leave.

    • I love the way everything looks in winter, but spring is magical.

  23. What an absolutely gorgeous place! So magical Debra! Thanks for sharing.

    • I love Casa Debbio. It has been fascinating to watch everything grow.

      • I love reading your posts on Casa Debbio. I can only imagine how rewarding it must be spending so much time there. Thanks for sharing your beautiful world! 🙂 Happy Holidays!

  24. Looking gorgeous Deb

  25. I loved this trail through your garden. Aren’t the seasons so beautiful when one plants so much? You’ve worked so hard! Looks gorgeous and thanks for dropping by my blogs too this year. Best cat

  26. […] spent several months in Italy this year. There was lots of work to do in the garden at Casa Debbio and the renovation of our little balcony at the apartment in Ponte a […]

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