Posted by: Debra Kolkka | June 13, 2015

Casa Debbio roundup

It is time to go home to Australia and leave my garden at Casa Debbio behind. We have done a lot of work to create a new garden on the terrace below the house. Things are growing (too slowly for me) and it is beginning to take shape.

This is what we started with. The photo was taken in late winter. The trees were cut back last year because the chestnut trees had a weird growth in the leaves and the hazelnut had a big crack in the main trunk. The lavender and rosemary were also cut back.

Casa Debbio

This is what it looks like now.

Casa Debbio

I spring there were wild daisies all over the place.

Casa Debbio

We have planted another 4 rows of lavender, 1 row on either side of the path below the house and 2 more on the side of the hill. After a slow start they are growing and I know they will put on a good show next year.

Casa Debbio

As well as lavender we have peonies, rhododendrons, hydrangeas, lilac, fruticans, roses, azaleas, wisteria, lilac and several other lovely things. The lavender is spectacular this year. The flowers aren’t open yet, but there are double the number of flowers we had last year.

Casa Debbio


The fruit trees flowered and small fruit is appearing on some. We have quince, apples, pears, peaches, plums, pomegranates, figs and persimmons. There will be lots of figs this year. We won’t have cherries because the old trees were pruned heavily, but there will be lots of raspberries.

Casa Debbio


We are building a frame for the wisteria beside the house to grow on. I can see lovely wisteria flowers hanging from there next year.

I saw a gorgeous moon from our terrace. At night the house is surrounded by fireflies turning our garden into fairyland.

Casa Debbio

I awoke last week to a spectacular rainbow.

Casa Debbio

The other day I climbed up the terraces above the house for a birds’ eye view of Casa Debbio.

Casa Debbio

Casa Debbio

Casa Debbio

Casa Debbio

Best of all, the first peony I planted grew 21 buds and most turned into spectacular flowers. I am hoping all 35 peony plants will produce next year.


Casa Debbio

I will be leaving my garden in Filippo’s capable hands. I can’t wait to see it in September when I return. I will have a huge crop of lavender to pick this year…and lots of plants to prune.

Casa Debbio is still available for a few weeks this summer, so if you would like to spend time in a very beautiful part of Italy and experience an authentic Italian mountain village email me at


  1. We think that Australia is the best place in the world to work and live but Bagni di Lucca is our favourite place for holidays. This is coming from someone who was born there. Cheers.

    • I am certainly happy that I get to live in both places.

  2. Deb, that is JUST beautiful. What a stunning investment and amount of work you have put into it…and it has all paid off gloriously.

    • By next summer our garden will really be looking good, but I am happy with the progress. I really do hate to leave.

  3. What a work and what a result! Congratulations

    • Thank you, this is our third year working on the garden and it is taking shape.

  4. Deb you have done an amazing job. I think the growth of everything is outstanding. I love it all especially the lavender. I look forward to seeing the wisteria.

    • The wisteria is growing very well this year. I hope it will cover our new pergola, and the one I will have built in September.

  5. It’s looking so good, and colourful.

    Did you say raspberries? My very favourite berry, and far too expensive up here in northern Queensland!

    Safe travel.

    • Raspberries are my favourite too. They actually grow like weeds here and I was still picking them in late September last year.

  6. You can be proud of your efforts as the garden is already looking great and it will be even better when you return. See you in September! Have a safe trip back to Australia.

    • I am impatient for everything to grow, but I am happy with what we did this year.

  7. The peony collection of 35 plants is stunning, bet you hate leaving the, but it is time to come home soon. x

    • Most of them are just babies, but by next year they should all be producing flowers.

  8. What a great achievement in such a short time. And you know it will get better each year.

    • By next summer we should see lots of growth. Each year we extend the garden a bit. Next year it will be all about pergolas and creating shady places to sit.

  9. What a stunning setting! You should be so proud of your achievements. Perhaps we will be able to stay one day.

    • I hope so too. Casa Debbio is gorgeous and getting better all the time.

  10. Wow! The gardens, the house and the setting! What a view! What a great place to come back to… Hope to see you in September! Amy B

  11. Absolutely beautiful Deb

    • You will have to visit one day.

  12. The lavender is going to smell amazing and what joy to have all those peonies and such rich colour too. The house looks as if it has been there for ever – I love the deep windowsills.and the rich contrast of the timber shutters. Safe journey.

    • The lavender already smells wonderful. In the early evening the smell wafts through the air.

  13. The place is stunning! The stuff of dreams!

    • I often just sit and stare at the view. It is constantly changing and is always spectacular.

      • It looks so great on camera. Can’t imagine how it feels to actually be there. Well done!

  14. Why leave now with summer coming and go back to Australia as winter approaches?

    • That is precisely why I am leaving. It is much too hot for me here in summer and winter in Brisbane is perfect.

      • That makes sense because Brisbane is too hot in the summer as well

  15. Deb, thec garden is looking spectacular .

    • You would see a difference from when you were there…time for another visit.

  16. Fabulous……and how fast it has all grown…..your selections love the mountain air……I know how sad you must be leaving but September will come soon enough.

    • I wandered around the village to see what others had planted before I bought things for my garden. It seems to have worked. I am most happy with my peonies.

  17. Oh my goodness Deb, it’s all looking just Fab!! Really loving that Peony. Safe journey home, see you in September.

    • We are fairly happy with what we have achieved so far, but there is much more to be done.

  18. Seems so beautiful dear Debra, garden takes time to grow… Your view is amazing. have a nice journey on the way of home. You will go to the winter now there 🙂 Thank you, love, nia

    • Of course I want instant garden, but I think by next summer it will be looking good.

  19. So beautiful Deb and your hard work is paying off. Safe travels back.

    • We can really see some results this year. I will be back in September for some more work.

  20. Heaven on earth!!!

    • It is a beautiful place. I am very happy to spend time there.

  21. Oh! It is looking very beautiful….I’m sure there will be many surprises when you return in September.

    • I hope there are no surprises of the goat variety.

  22. Hi Debra,

    It all looks wonderful-brava!

    I hope you don’t mind me asking but where do you purchase your shrubs and trees? Are they delivered to you?
    Does Filippo speak English?
    Finally, who pruned your cherries? We have the most enormous specimen but the cherries are all at the top and unreachable! Will your pruned trees produce fruit again after a heavy pruning?

    Thank you so much.


    • My plants have been bought from La Quercia at Fornaci di Barga, the yellow nursery at Pian di Correglia and a nursery at Broglio near Gallicano. Filippo pruned my cherry trees in autumn last year. They are busily growing new branches and I expect to get cherries next year. Filippo does not speak English, but he seems to understand things.

      • Thank you so much. They are the same places I purchase from apart from Broglio. I will investigate.
        Did Filippo have the enormous ladder required for reaching the heady heights of the tallest cherry trees?
        Safe journey back to Oz and grazie mille.

      • He did have a long ladder to get to the top of the big cherry tree. It is growing now and I hope to have cherries next year.

  23. Heavenly … safe journey to Brisbane … and Casa Debbio awaits your return.

    • We had our last visit to the house yesterday. It is not easy to say goodbye, but I know I will be back soon.

  24. Deb can I ask why you come back to Australia in Winter? If given the choice I’d have summer all year round 🙂

    • Brisbane winter is perfect, around 22degrees most days. I don’t like summer in Brisbane or Italy. Italy is hot and crowded, making it difficult to do what I like to do.

  25. OMG! Debra..what a beautiful place you have.. Sad that you are heading back to Brisbane but excited to read of your travels there. Hope you are getting subscriptions to my blog now. Love

  26. What a beautiful garden! Looking forward to sharing what awaits you come September

  27. Spectacular, Debra! Spring in all it’s splendor! Hoping next all we’ll connect in Italy (Puglia?)…safe travels! xo

  28. Gorgeous! 🙂

  29. You have a beautiful home!! The pruning did wonders:)

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