Posted by: Debra Kolkka | June 27, 2017

Casa Debbio update 2017

I am now back in Australia for a couple of months, leaving our garden at Casa Debbio in the capable hands of Filippo.

The new growth each spring still amazes me. When I arrived in February, winter was almost over and there were signs of new beginnings. Once things start to turn green it all happens very quickly.

The garden has really come on this year. Our first lavender is now 5 years old, the second planting is 4 years old and the lower terrace is in its 3 summer.

The first 2 photos were taken 2 years ago. The difference this summer is amazing.


We have also planted another 100 lavender along the sides of the road up to the house. They are still quite small, but they are growing well.

The new pergola has been put to good use and we have had many lunches on the terrace.

Wisteria and roses are growing over the 2 pergolas. I am hoping they will be covered by next summer.

The last of my peonies flowered just before we left. There were 50 dark crimson blooms on one and 30 white flowers on the one beside it.

The hydrangeas were beginning to flower. The oak leaf hydrangea is fabulous and the 5 plants I have seem to be thriving.

Aquilegias do very well at Casa Debbio. They are great little plants and flower for quite a while.

The weather this spring was glorious. I rained for months last year, but this year was dry. We had warm weather early,  but then cold days returned. We had the promise of cherries, but the cool weather changed that. The blossoms came, then little cherries , but they didn’t come to much. The tree looks fine, so maybe next year will be better. We have planted 6 new cherry trees, along with apple, pear, pomegranate, olive, mulberry, persimmon, quince and peach trees. Our raspberries and tomatoes are thriving and we have a gooseberry bush.

The fig trees are laden. There are a few old trees and we have planted a dozen new ones.

Geraniums this year are happy with the fine days and are looking great.

The hardest thing for me to leave is the view. It is stunning and ever changing. The house faces south and we have sunshine all day.

I love fine, clear days, but I also love the misty days when the village below appears and disappears under the swirling mist.

Casa Debbio has been rented this summer by people from Australia, Scotland, Belgium and Poland. There are a couple of weeks available in August and September…tell your friends.

We think Casa Debbio is the perfect place to enjoy peace and quiet in a gorgeous setting. The only sounds you will hear come from the local birds and, if you are lucky Sisto, who lives below us, will play his music in the afternoons.

The village of Vergemoli is a 10 minute walk, or a 3 minute drive, if you feel like a chat with the locals. In summer there is often a party in the piazza. Drop ins are welcome.

I am counting the days until my return in fabulous autumn…time to prepare the garden for the winter.

It all started with this…amazing.


  1. Spectacular……Debbio should be in House and Garfen magazine…

    • It is great to see how well things grow at Casa Debbio.

  2. What a lovely setting for all the beautiful blooming things.

    • The setting is spectacular. We have a hectare of land on the side of a steep hill. We haven’t cleared all of the land as we like the trees surrounding us.

  3. Amazing indeed! Thanks for sharing the beauty you have created in this stunning spot.

    • I remember when the land was covered in brambles and acacia.

  4. Beautiful, you have done an amazing job. Looking forward to seeing it next year 🙂

    • You will see a huge difference.

  5. How beautiful. I have seen Tuscany. I envy you.

    • I spend 6 months each year in lovely Tuscany and the rest in Australia. I love both places.

      • My mother and sister live in Sydney. Australia is a fascinating place.

      • It is a great place to live. I am torn between 2 places.

  6. I would be missing it already. The garden looks amazing Debra. Next time we are in Italy we will have to organise a stay here too. 🙂

    • Let me know when you come back to gorgeous Italy.

      • Sure will. I would love to have a place there too eventually and live there in the summer months.

      • I go to Italy in late winter until the beginning of summer, then head home for our lovely winter, then return to Italy for autumn.

      • Sounds like a plan but I hate the cold 😩Melbourne winter is pretty cold.
        Would rather have 12 months of sun 😊

      • Brisbane winter is perfect for me. I find our summers much too hot, same in Italy.

      • Yes. Brisbane is much warmer.

  7. Lovely.

  8. Spectacular Deb. What an amazing achievement in 5 years.

    • Thanks Wendy, you saw it at the beginning. You must return! Send all your New Zealand friends.

  9. Your garden looks lovely, Louise

    • Thank you, we are delighted with it.

  10. Debra, I love your pictures! What weeks are available I August and September?

    • I mean in August and September

      • Casa Debbio is available from 14th August until the end of September. Please let me know if you want more details. If you look at the top of the page you will see Rent our Tuscan house. You can see the interior there.

  11. Wow! What you’ve done is absolutely beautiful. One day I hope to live between Italy and Australia….one day can’t come soon enough!

    • Buying in Italy was the best thing we have ever done.

  12. Wow Debra so green! What a contrast in seasons you have there. You have created an idyllic setting, bravo.

    • I love the change of seasons. We don’t get that here in Brisbane.

  13. What a beautiful achievement – both the house and the garden – it looks like the most wonderful setting for a film .. with George Clooney perhaps 🙂

    • I have had experience dressing models and actors, I could step in to help.

  14. Yes, Debbie, your dream has come full circle from a pile of rocks. What a marvellous reward for you and for those who worked with you to see the fruits of all your labours. CASA Debbio is indeed a dream Home in the Mountains. So lovely to see the flowers in bloom and having a scented driveway lined with lavenders from Vergemoli to your home. If Keats was alive, he’ll be composing an ode to Casa Debbio.

    • We are very happy with the progress at Casa Debbio. We would really love it if the lavender extended all the way to Vergemoli, but it just comes up the driveway from the woodcutters’ track.

  15. It is looking so amazing…can’t wait to see it again.

    • I think you will be amazed.

  16. It is looking fabulous! Congratulations!

    • It has been hard work, but worth it.

  17. Beautiful Debra!! You have done tremendous things with your home and garden in the past few years. Hubby and I hope we can get there in the next year or so.

    • It is a beautiful setting and everything is growing. The villagers are happy to see the property thriving again after all these years.

  18. You have created a masterpiece in beautiful garden. Can’t wait to see it again.

    • You will be impressed I think.

  19. Do you not stay for the hottest months due to the heat or so you can let it? It seems it is hard to leave your beloved home…

    • I don’t like hot weather at all. I find Italy too hot and too crowded in summer. I prefer winter, spring and autumn. This works well since most people like summer.

      • I’m exactly the same, August in Italy is too much for me coming from temperate NZ. I find I can usually comfortably swim in the sea in Italy when I go from September and even into October when the Italians think I am mad. Spring and Autumn are perfect!

  20. The setting for your lunches and the entirely of your estate is magnificent. The loveliest thing I see on FB. Thank you.

    • Thank you, we love our mountain house.

  21. You have a fantastic place there, and you and your gardener have worked wonders. The soil there must be pretty good.

    • It was a farm, but it has not been farmed for more than 60 years. Grain, grapes and fruit and vegetables were grown. A fire went through back then and burnt most of the fruit trees. We have a couple of old trees, but when we bought it the property was covered with brambles and acacia. We are trying to bring it back to life. The soil is good in parts, but full of rocks. We are forever digging up rocks, which we use for garden edges.

  22. I am stunned as to how much your garden has grown since I was there in March, you told me it would! It’s a labour of love for you Debra, and absolutely breathtaking.

    • Spring does wonderful things in the garden.

  23. Yes indeed-it is amazing what you have created. I would love to see it someday! You have such a wonderful eye for design.

    • You are most welcome to visit when you come back to Lucca next time.

  24. Everything is looking absolutely gorgeous. You must be so pleased! Well done.

    • There has just been some welcome rain. Filippo has informed me that the new lavender is growing well. I wish I was there to see it.

  25. I love all the pinks and the purples in the garden. It looks so stunning Debra!

  26. This is so incredibly beautiful Debra and fun to see all the changes over the years! Amazing!

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