Posted by: Debra Kolkka | December 30, 2015

2015 at Casa Debbio

It has been a busy year at Casa Debbio. There was snow in late December 2014 and January 2015.

snow at Casa Debbio

I arrived in February, keen to start work on the new garden on the terrace below the house, but I had to wait a while for plants to arrive in the nursery. Meanwhile daffodils began to appear.

Casa Debbio daffodils

As soon as I could I began buying new plants.

new plants for Casa Debbio

In April things started to move in the garden. My weeping cherry put on a great spring show.Weeping cherry at Casa Debbio

Tiny figs began to appear. We have a couple of old fig trees that have been on the property for years and we have planted several new ones.

Casa Debbio figs

The magnolia produced flowers. I am hoping this tree will provide shade at the front of the house in a year or two.

Casa Debbio magnolia

The aquilegias grew lots of flowers and they stayed for months.

aquilegias at Casa Debbio

The bleeding hearts look amazing.

bleeding hearts at Casa Debbio

The terrace below the house began to take shape.

Garden at Casa Debbio

I grew a big fat, pink peony.

my big fat pink peony

There was at least one spectacular moon.

Casa Debbio moon

…and a rainbow or two.

Casa Debbio rainbow

Our lavender went crazy this year.

Casa Debbio

Casa Debbio lavender

We had wild daisies everywhere for a while.

wild daisies at Casa Debbio

It was a very dry spring and the plants needed lots of watering, but the terrace below the house gradually started to fill up. It is going to look stunning by the end of spring 2016.

Casa Debbio in spring

We we will eventually have beautiful fruit trees behind the house. We have planted about 40 trees, apples, figs, cherries, peaches, quince, pomegranate, persimmons and pears.

Casa Debbio

Another of my peony plants produced blooms…22 just like this.

Casa Debbio peony

I had to drag myself away in June to return to Australia while Casa Debbio welcomed guests from Australia, Belgium, Germany and England over the summer.

I returned in September to find the garden to find all the figs had been eaten, (I hope not all by birds) but lots of tomatoes and raspberries left.

Casa Debbio tomatoes

I had my very own pomegranates.

Casa Debbio pomegranates

Hydrangeas were still in bloom.

Casa Debbio hydrangeas

The geraniums around the barbecue did very well…thank you to Filippo who was at the house every other day at 6.00am to water. It was a long, dry, hot summer. He managed to keep just about everything alive. The only plants I lost were the ones I planted too late in the spring. It was just too hot for them.

Geraniums at Casa Debbio

Casa Debbio

Casa Debbio

I gathered huge bunches of lavender from the garden. We have almost 200 hundred plants now. Every room in the house has vases full of lavender. Then I pruned them so they will keep their shape next year.

We finally got some much needed rain and the garden loved it…so did I. It saved me hours of watering.

rain at Casa Debbio

There was time for several lunches in the terrace.

lunch at Casa Debbio

…and time to just admire the view.

Casa Debbio

Casa Debbio

Filippo and Ricardo built a pergola beside the house, which I hope will be covered with wisteria next spring. They laid some beautiful hand made terra cotta tiles around the house and next year will build another pergola in front of the house to provide shade. I will be back in February to get this underway.

As I left Casa Debbio for the last time this year in late October the yellow leaves were falling from the trees on the way out of Vergemoli…it was difficult to leave.

Autumn in Vergemoli

My friends in the village have told me that the weather there right now is warm and sunny, but winter is expected to finally arrive in the next week or two.

There will be more planting, weeding, watering, building, lunching and enjoying when I return in 2016…can’t wait.

We now have an official website I have a bit of work to do on it, but there is lots of information for anyone wanting to rent a gorgeous house in a magnificent mountain setting.

Please share with anyone who might be interested.



  1. Your photos are beautiful. The flowers are all gorgeous and I cannot decide which one I like best. I wish we could grow them so well in Brisbane

    • I wish I could grow peonies here in Brisbane. They are my favourite flower. We now have 35 peony plants at Casa Debbio. I look forward to the day they are all covered in blooms.

  2. Thank you for sharing your garden this year. It was so very beautiful (as are your photos)!

    • There is more planting to be done next year, but most is now complete. I just need to see them all grow.

  3. You have worked very hard, but you can see the result of all your efforts and it is great. Perhaps it may be worthwhile to add comments of past guests to your web. It is always helpful. Congratulations!

    • That is a good idea about the comments. One person said it was the best equipped holiday house she had ever been in and everyone loves our view. I will check the visitors’ book when I return.

  4. What a sublime and tranquil setting Debra! The garden is bursting with flowers!

    • It is beautiful, and very peaceful. All you hear is birds, until Sisto starts his music in the afternoons.

  5. Your house and gardens are beautiful and what a stunning setting. I bet you find it very hard to leave, I know I would!

    • I find it very difficult, especially in summer, when it looks wonderful. It is a bit easier later in the year when I shut it down for the winter.

  6. I am surprised that you ever want to leave it!

    • I do have to return to Australia sometimes, and we rent the house for the summer, but I do have to drag myself away.

  7. What a spectacular garden! If I had been there, I would have eaten the figs too; a treat to pluck them from the tree fresh. Did you know bleeding hearts are a native of Canada? I see them all the time growing wild on my forest walks.

    • The garden is coming along. I want it to grow much faster of course. I love bleeding hearts. They grew in my Grandmother’s garden and I loved them then. I didn’t know they were Canadian, thank you.

  8. Such a stunning view from your house Debbi, You must be torn leaving. But then missing makes the heart grow fonder. I love that part of the world… and now to your web site.

    • I hate leaving, but there isn’t much to be done in the garden in winter, and I can’t gaze at the view all day. Besides, I love Australia too. I have the best of both worlds.

  9. Che paradiso!!!! Happy New Year!

    • Happy New year to you too. We are venturing down to Sicily in the spring…can’t wait.

  10. Stunning place. I’m so jealous – not of the work, though.

    • Building the garden has been lots of work. It is hard work, but the results make it worthwhile.

  11. Such beautiful views from a beautiful home. I love bleeding hearts! I never saw one growing up in California. Too dry and sunny perhaps? All your plants are wonderful but I have a special fondness for those. Thanks for sharing.

    • I love the bleeding hearts too. I hope they come up again this year.

  12. A wonderful year in review from a beautiful place. Cheers to your efforts with Casa Debbio. Happy New Year to you and yours.

    • Happy New Year Frank. Perhaps you will visits us at Casa Debbio one day.

      • Now that would be a pleasure.

  13. Hi Deb,

    Fabulous pictures!! Casa Debbia looks gorgeous.
    Looking forward to seeing you in 2016. Buon anno!


    • Merry Christmas Libby, I will return to Italy in mid February…see you soon.

  14. Gorgeous photos! The new website is fantastic, I don’t know how you can bear to be away from Casa Debbio.

    • It is difficult to tear myself away, but it must be done. I am already mentally planning my next work in the garden.

  15. Your website looks great. I will let friends know about your lovely house.

    • Thank you. We have our first bookings for the house for 2016 and I am hoping it goes well.

  16. Just gorgeous Debra….sigh.

  17. Debra what an incredible place you have created with such a beautiful garden. I can only imagine how much joy it brings you. Thanks for sharing your home with us!

  18. […] place to visit… and stay. Have a look at the website. You can algo see a lot of photos in Debra’s post at Bagni di Lucca and […]

  19. It has developed in such a wonderful place, I mentioned it in my blog, as the previous comment shows.

    • Thank you! I am very keen to be back there soon to get stuck into the garden.

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